If you have been told that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, you have likely been anxiously searching for information about the procedure and healing process. To help you know what you should expect, we explain what happens during wisdom teeth removal surgery and when and what you can eat after.
Keep reading to learn more about wisdom teeth removal and the healing process.
What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?
Wisdom teeth removal is an oral surgery where the wisdom teeth are removed from their place in the mouth. This procedure is recommended when wisdom teeth are impacted or the mouth becomes too crowded. Contrary to popular belief, wisdom teeth removal can happen either when the wisdom teeth have or have not erupted through the gums.
After providing sedation and numbing the extraction area, the dentist will make an incision to access and remove the teeth. They will then remove bone or any roots that remain. Once extraction is complete, the oral surgeon will sew up the incision site with either traditional or dissolvable stitches. The dentist will provide you with post-operative instructions and a prescription, then send you home.
The doctor’s instructions will explain that you can remove the gauze from the extraction site(s) about an hour after the surgery. They will also recommend that you wait until the anesthesia wears off to eat because having a numb mouth and lips can make eating and drinking difficult. But, once it does wear off, you are free to eat.
Why You Should Avoid Solid Foods
You have likely heard that you should not eat solid foods after wisdom teeth removal. But why is that so? Well, dentists recommend that you avoid solid food because solid or tough foods can increase the risk of complications, including causing the stitches to open. If they open, you will need to visit the dentist to have the wound re-closed.
Solid food can become stuck in the site, increasing the risk of infection. It is safer to eat soft and semi-soft foods after surgery. Eating the right foods in the initial days after your surgery will ensure that your mouth heals properly.
Eat Soft Foods After Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Patients should eat soft or liquid foods for the first 24 hours after tooth removal. Here are some foods our dentists recommend that you eat after wisdom teeth removal:
- Scrambled eggs
- Mashed potatoes
- Mashed vegetables
- Apple sauce
- Ice cream
After the first day, you can slowly increase solid foods. If you do add more solid foods, and find that your mouth is still sore, continue eating soft foods. They will be better for your swollen gums. Resume normal eating once you feel comfortable enough to do so.
What to Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Beyond eating solid foods, there are some other foods and activities that you should avoid after wisdom teeth removal, such as:
1. Foods that crumble easily
While you may want to indulge in a bag of chips, a box of cookies, or a bowl of popcorn after having wisdom tooth surgery, it is not recommended. Foods that crumble easily can easily become lodged in the extraction site, making it difficult for blood clots to form. When blood clots cannot form, it delays healing, meaning it will take longer for you to eat your favourite foods. Put the bag of chips away and opt for a bowl of soft ice cream after oral surgery.
2. Avoid hot foods
We suggest that you avoid hot foods after wisdom tooth extraction. Heat can increase the blood flow, causing a blood clot to become dislodged and the site to begin to bleed. Sticking to room temperature or cold foods for the first 24 hours after surgery is best to help you heal faster.
3. Do not drink from a straw
While it may seem tempting to drink using a straw (especially when your mouth is numb), it is not a good idea. When you drink through a draw, you create suction in your mouth. Suction can work to dislodge the blood clot from your tooth socket. If you do dislodge a blood clot, you will experience pain. You may also develop an infection.
4. Avoid smoking
Smoking can cause harmful chemicals to enter the extraction site, especially if it has not had the time to heal properly. Wait at least a week before smoking.
5. Avoid spicy foods
Spicy or hot foods are known to cause irritation if they enter an open wound. We suggest that you steer clear of spices like cayenne pepper or paprika during the healing process.