Following the extraction of wisdom teeth, it is important to comply with your surgeon’s post-operative instructions. This helps ensure the best and fastest healing for your surgical sites. The instructions you receive following wisdom teeth extractions typically includes restrictions to your diet. This article will explain what you need to know so that you experience a healing phase that is as successful and comfortable as possible.
Why Does Wisdom Teeth Extraction Require Alteration of my Diet?
After having wisdom teeth removed, the mouth typically contains four separate surgical sites. The extractions leave a socket or “hole” in the alveolar jawbone where the tooth and/or its roots, until recently, resided.
For proper healing to occur, this socket must fill with blood, which forms a clot. The clot protects the underlying bone as the soft tissue slowly heals over the socket.
Certain foods can disrupt the healing process by causing inflammation at the surgical site.
Which Foods Should I Avoid?
For the smoothest healing process, it is best to avoid foods that could lead to inflammation, either directly or indirectly.
By “directly”, we mean foods that can injure or irritate the gum tissues at the site of the extractions. This means that you should avoid any foods that are very hard or could potentially have sharp edges. Hard nuts, crackers, and chips have the potential to cut or bruise the delicate gum tissue at the surgical site. This would cause localized inflammation, which would slow down the healing process.
By “indirectly”, we mean foods that contribute to a chronic inflammatory state in the whole body. The most notorious contributor to systemic inflammation is sugar. Following any type of surgery, you can promote healthy healing by avoiding sugar. Place yourself on a zero-carb diet just before and for two weeks after surgery. This enables your body to fight inflammation most effectively.
Which Foods Are Safe?
For the first few days following extractions, you should limit yourself to a soft diet. The motion of chewing will cause tenderness in the facial muscles and soft tissues of the mouth. The food itself can become embedded in the open sockets, creating the new concern of removing debris. Soft foods, such as soups or smoothies, are best for protecting the sockets just after surgery.
Try to stick to fats and proteins so that you do not allow sugars to increase your overall inflammation. Soups, soft cheeses and all-natural peanut butter are great choices for obtaining good nutrition when you should not do much chewing and are some of the best things you can eat after wisdom teeth removal.
What Other Important Precautions Should I Take during Healing From Extractions?
More important than your food choices are your beverage choices after wisdom teeth extractions. The most common complication following wisdom teeth extraction is a condition known as “dry socket”. This painful condition arises when the blood clot does not fill the bony socket left by the tooth’s roots.
Dry socket can occur in any patient after any extraction, but some people are more likely to experience it. Certain drinks are often linked to dry sockets, so they should be avoided at all costs. Anything carbonated (fizzy) and anything containing alcohol will greatly increase the risk for a dry socket.
There are a few other habits connected with a high incidence of dry socket, so you should avoid those, too. Smoking and drinking through straws during the first week after extractions increases your risk for dry socket. The sucking force required by both of these habits exerts a pulling force on the delicate blood clot, potentially dislodging it from the bony socket. Do not smoke! And do not use drinking straws.
More Questions about Wisdom Teeth Extractions? Call Rockland Dental Today!
Call Rockland Dental Specialists at (845)-259-2500 or contact us and schedule a consultation with our dental experts. We can answer any question you have about wisdom teeth extractions. If you have a specific concern or issue, we will be happy to assess your unique situation and provide any advice or treatment that is necessary.