If you're preparing for an upcoming wisdom teeth removal surgery, you are likely to have questions about the surgery and recovery process, and may be wondering what to eat after wisdom teeth removal. A key component to making your recovery from this routine procedure as quick and seamless as possible is understanding post-surgical care and the best post-surgery diet for yourself.
What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal
For people between the ages of 17 and 25, "wisdom teeth", a common term used to refer to third molars in the back of the mouth, often grow in impacted or at an angle, and cause several other issues that could require their extraction. It is recommended that patients have their wisdom teeth removed if there is an active infection present, in the form of gum problems, irreparable tooth cavities, or the emergence of cysts or tumours around the tooth. Also, if an impacted wisdom tooth damages the neighbouring teeth, it's best to extract it to prevent further harm.
A dental X-ray will determine if wisdom teeth removal is appropriate. It will also establish the number of wisdom teeth needing removal.
Immediately After Removal
Once your wisdom teeth have been removed and you've been sent home from the dentist's or oral surgeon's office, you'll have a bit of recovering to do. Patients generally leave with wet gauze pressed against the area where the teeth were, with the intent of stimulating a clot to slow the natural bleeding that occurs. This clot will morph into the healing tissue, filling the hole in your gum and bone.
To avoid a dry socket, which can prolong healing and be quite uncomfortable, care must be taken not to disrupt the clot itself. For this reason, you'll be advised to avoid sucking motions (like drinking through a straw) and smoking, as these actions can indeed hinder the healing clot.
What to Avoid
Since one or more anaesthetic agents will be used during the extraction, your mouth will feel numb for some time after surgery. Once you've returned home and are resting, it's important to be mindful of the types of foods and drinks you consume to prevent any damage or sensations of pain when you do regain feeling in your mouth.
To avoid burning your mouth while it's still numb, steer clear of hot foods and drinks. Be mindful that it's easy to bite your tongue, cheek or lips during this recovery period, so it's best to keep away from chewy foods and hard, crunchy foods, such as chips and hard pretzels – along with small sharp foods like popcorn with hulls to avoid gum irritation. As you'd expect, spicy foods should also be avoided, as these could lead to further gum sensitivity or an upset stomach.
What to Eat
Nutrition is a key component of the reparative process following dental surgery. The right post-surgery diet is just as an important as a well-rounded diet to your oral health. Along with drinking plenty of water, you'll want to eat the best foods for wisdom teeth removal that will be both nutritious and comforting to your mouth. The following foods will provide important vitamins and nutrients for recovery, and are easy to chew and swallow:
- Cottage cheese
- Apple sauce
- Fruit smoothies (with seedless fruit)
- Scrambled eggs
- Soft fish
- Finely cut meats
- Mashed potatoes
- Thin soups.
It's best to stick to these items immediately after removal and for the next few days. Plan ahead by stocking up with these foods before your surgery and avoid a diet consisting of store-bought items that are processed or contain added sugars.
Keep It Clean
Gentle cleansing and rinsing as directed by your dental professional will be an important aspect of your healing process. Choose a flexible toothbrush with ultra-forgiving, super-thin bristles to clean between your teeth and under the gumline without harming the stitched areas or healing tissue.
As a person continues to grow in their late teens and early twenties, the extraction of wisdom teeth can prove necessary to their dental health. While wisdom teeth removal is important, it's imperative to know the foods to eat post-surgery (and what to avoid) for a quick recovery. Before surgery, you can familiarise yourself with more tips for recovery and gain a deeper understanding of what to expect before the procedure.