Several of your wisdom teeth have been fighting their way through your gums for quite some time now. Your gums are swollen, your jaw is sore, and the adjacent teeth are hurting. There just isn’t enough room for all your teeth – to the point that your other teeth are starting to move to accommodate your wisdom teeth.
At this point, your dentist is probably ready to take your wisdom teeth out. You’re ready as well, but aren’t sure what you’ll be able to eat afterwards. Here are the best foods to eat after you have your wisdom teeth removed.
Why Wisdom Teeth Removal is Necessary
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to push their way through your gums. For most people, wisdom teeth emerge between the ages of 15 to 25. Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars, and are located in the very back of the jaw, in the four corners of the mouth.
Due to limited space in your mouth, wisdom teeth may either partially emerge or grow in at crooked angles. When a wisdom tooth doesn’t come in correctly it’s considered an impacted tooth. This is called pericoronitis. An impacted wisdom tooth can damage the surrounding teeth and gums by causing tooth decay, infection, and inflammation.
So once your wisdom teeth are removed, what are the best foods to eat?
Eat Liquid Foods Right After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Right after your wisdom teeth are removed, it’s best to eat foods that are as soft as possible. Liquid foods are the perfect option here.
With liquid foods, your first impulse is to use a straw. However, according to Craig Barney, DMD of Kennewick Dental in Kennewick, WA it’s best to avoid straws. He states, “When drinking, make sure you don’t use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process.”
It’s also best to keep your liquid foods at a comfortable temperature. Your mouth will be sensitive to extreme hot or cold foods. If the liquid is too hot and your mouth is still numb from anesthesia and Novocain, you could burn yourself.
Milkshakes, smoothies, broths, and thin soups are a few liquid foods that are great for right after your extraction. These foods are loaded with nutrients to help the body with the healing process.
Soft Foods to Eat Several Days after Wisdom Teeth Removal
Depending on the number of wisdom teeth you have removed and the process, you may be able to start eating soft foods within a day or two. Gelatins and puddings are easy-to-eat and yummy choices. Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein. Mashed or pureed fruits and vegetables add nutrients and fiber to your diet. Ice cream is a nice treat and the cold can be soothing to your painful mouth.
It’s best to avoid spicy and acidic foods, seeds, grains, nuts, chips or foods that are crunchy. Small pieces of food could irritate the surgery site or get into the wound area, causing the wound to re-open or start an infection.
Eating Regular Food After Your Wisdom Teeth are Removed
Once the pain and swelling have gone down, you can ease back into eating regular foods. This will probably be 3 or 4 days after your extraction. It’s best to start with regular foods like oatmeal, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, other soft cheeses, or fish. These foods have a bit of texture and are also soft on the mouth. They are also high in protein and are good for healing bones and tissues.
The Healing Process after Wisdom Teeth Removal
The wisdom teeth removal process can be as quick as 20 minutes with no complications or more serious if the teeth are impacted and require a hospital stay and general anesthesia. The amount of time it will take to heal depends on how many teeth you have removed and your body’s ability to heal.
A healthy diet is an important part of the healing process. Foods that are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals can boost your immune system to reduce inflammation and rebuild damaged bones and tissue.
The first day or two after having your wisdom teeth removed your diet should be liquids and soft foods. By the third day you should be able to start eating foods with more texture. By the end of the week the pain should be gone, your mouth should be healing nicely, and you should be able to go back to eating regular foods.
After having your wisdom teeth removed it will take time for your mouth to heal. Eating soft, healthy foods will help you through the recovery process and get you back to eating regular meals in no time.