A tooth extraction is an effective option for alleviating dental problems. However, it can also be uncomfortable and require several days or weeks of healing before returning to normal.
Knowing what to expect, including what to eat after tooth extraction, makes the healing process easier to deal with.
What should you eat after an extraction?
Tooth extractions cause sensitivity and soreness. Even if the aftermath is mild, you’ll want to stick to soft foods or semi-soft foods for several days after an extraction.
Chewy or crunchy foods cause damage to the extraction site. They can also get stuck in the socket, leading to complications. You’ll want to set aside solid food like chips, popcorn, nuts, and chewing gum while you heal.
The less chewing you do, the less you’ll irritate the wound. Soft foods include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Fruit and/or vegetable smoothies
It’s OK to season your food after an extraction, but be careful how much spice you add. Some people even find that sticking to bland foods without much flavour helps immediately after an extraction. Spicy food or acidic food tends to irritate the wound.
Moderate Temperature Foods
Eating foods that aren’t too hot or cold after an extraction is also important. Cold foods help keep swelling to a minimum but can cause sensitivity issues.
Hot foods can aggravate inflammation and might also cause pain. Eating lukewarm or cool foods is usually your best option in the days following a tooth extraction.
Remember, the texture and temperature of food is not your only concern. After an extraction, you’ll want to ensure you eat enough nutrient-rich food. This is always important, but it’s essential when you’re trying to heal after a medical procedure.
If you’re struggling to eat enough or to get foods down that are typically considered healthy, consider blending them into a smoothie. This includes fruits, vegetables, protein, fat, and more. All of this can be mixed into a smoothie and vitamin supplements to boost your immune system.
It’s important to stay hydrated after an extraction. This promotes wound healing and keeps you from feeling uncomfortable due to a dry mouth.
Just make sure you don’t drink out of a straw until you get the “all clear” from your dentist because it can dislodge the blood clot that forms over the extraction, leading to a painful condition known as a dry socket.
Too much sugar interferes with your body’s ability to heal. It can also increase your risk of infection. These types of food can also interfere with pain medications. Fruit is the best sweet option while recovering from an extraction.
Listen to Your Dentist
The best thing you can do to ensure proper healing after a tooth extraction is to follow the instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon. Every case is different, and how long it takes you to heal after an extraction varies based on various issues.
Your dentist might offer dietary or other instructions in addition to those listed above, or that contradict general advice given after an extraction.
It’s best to follow the guidelines that were designed specifically for you. You can ask questions about specific issues if you have concerns. Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any unusual pain, swelling, or bleeding.
Following a post-tooth extraction diet that focuses on soft, nutritious foods and maintaining good oral hygiene can promote optimal healing and get back to your routine in no time.
Why Might You Need a Tooth Extraction?
Extractions are the preferred method of treatment in a variety of cases. As intimidating as removing a tooth might seem, it’s a common treatment approach.
What are the most common reasons dentists recommend extraction?
Severe Damage or Decay
If a tooth is “beyond repair,” your dentist might recommend moving it. This usually occurs when the poor health of a tooth is ignored or if someone fails to care for their oral health for several years. In these cases, extraction prevents infection and painful abscesses, which can pose significant health risks.
Sometimes, a tooth extraction procedure is recommended to make more room in the mouth for the remaining teeth.
If you have “too many teeth” or your mouth is not large enough for the teeth you have, braces and other straightening devices used for overcrowding might not work. In these cases, removing a tooth creates space so the remaining teeth can align properly.
Often, teeth are extracted because they fail to erupt through the gums. This is most often the case with wisdom teeth extraction, but it’s possible that any adult tooth could remain below the gum line. Extracting impacted teeth prevents pain and discomfort and reduces the risk of infection.
If periodontal disease is severe enough to affect your teeth, you might need to have one or more teeth extracted. This is usually the case when teeth are loose.
In cases where the need for orthodontic treatment is severe, an extraction might be recommended before braces or other treatments are installed. Removing certain teeth allows for movement and alignment of the remaining teeth, ensuring optimal results from your orthodontic investment.
Sometimes, the need for a tooth extraction procedure is cosmetic. For example, someone with a discoloured or misshapen tooth might remove it and install a bridge or dental implants that improve their smile.
If you think extraction might be right for you, call now to book a consultation.