3 minute read
Third molars, also called wisdom teeth, usually start to erupt during the teenage years. Many people have inadequate room for them to come in completely.
This crowding causes a flap of loose tissue to remain over the incompletely erupted tooth. The gap over the tooth and beneath the tissue can trap food and bacteria that lead to pain, swelling and infection.
Wisdom teeth are commonly removed in your early 20s for this reason and other reasons. Sometimes wisdom teeth cause no problems, and you may not even know you have them.
When is wisdom tooth removal recommended?
After examining your x-rays, your dentist may recommend one of the following:
- leaving wisdom teeth to grow through normally
- making a small incision to encourage the wisdom tooth to grow through the gums
- removing teeth to prevent future problems if they are growing in the wrong direction
Taking care of the extraction sites during the first few days after surgery plays a significant role in your recovery(2). Getting good quality sleep, maintaining excellent oral hygiene, and eating a nutritious diet can help you return to daily activities quicker.
In this blog, we share our expert tips on what to eat after having your wisdom teeth removed.
When can I start eating normally?
This is the first question most people have about recovery from wisdom teeth removal. Resuming a regular diet depends on several factors, including:
- The complexity of your surgery
- Your overall general health
- Medications you routinely take
- If you smoke or use other tobacco products
- Compliance in following post-op instructions from your dentist
Most people return to eating a solid diet within a week, although it is important to avoid any foods that require excess chewing until your mouth has completely healed.
Foods to avoid after wisdom teeth removal
It’s important to avoid eating certain foods that can interfere with or delay healing in the days following surgery. A wisdom tooth removal diet is similar to a post-surgery diet for dental implants, the foods to avoid include:
- Foods that crumble easily. Foods such as crackers, cookies, chips, and nuts can break into small pieces and lodge in the extraction site. These can impede clot formation and cause an infection.
- Spicy and acidic foods. These can sting and irritate gum tissues as they heal.
- Hard, chewy and sticky foods. These require the mouth to stay wide longer, which may cause jaw pain.
- Steamy hot foods. These can disrupt the blood clot that protects the healing socket.
- Alcohol slows healing and can interact with pain medication.
- The suction created by using straws can dislodge the blood clot. Avoid using straws until your mouth has completely healed.
Foods to eat after getting wisdom teeth removed
It is important to maintain a liquid and soft food diet in the first one to two weeks after surgery. A balance of the right protein, carbohydrates, fibre, healthy fats, minerals and vitamins can help to accelerate healing. Using a blender or juicer to prepare nourishing food and drinks can help to assist your recovery.
Liquid food diet
- Soups and Broths. Smooth, blended soups containing no small bits or pieces provide nutrients and hydration. Excellent choices include tomato, pumpkin, cauliflower, and broccoli blended soups. Make sure not to consume soups and broths until they cool to keep from irritating the surgical site. Soups and broths also provide hydration which aids healing.
- Protein smoothies. Blending fruits, protein powder and milk are great for the time immediately after tooth removal. Make sure no bits or small pieces of fruit remain.
- Meal replacement drinks
Soft food diet
- Unsweetened yogurt is a healthy source of protein that promotes healing.
- Cottage cheese. High in calcium and protein, it makes for a nutritious and filling meal.
- Scrambled eggs. High in phophorus. It helps your body to absorb and use calcium.
- Minestrone. Over-cooked pasta added to a mix of beef, pork or chicken mince and vegetables in a broth will provide a range of nutritional benefits in one dish. Substitute meat for beans or mushrooms for a vegetarian option and vitamin B boost.
- Mashed bananas(3) provide several essential vitamins, including potassium and manganese.
- Salmon is soft and easy to chew and high in protein and omega fatty acids.
- Tofu is an important source of protein for vegetarians and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Red lentils boiled into dhal and served with rice.
- Hommus dip is made from ground chickpeas which includes a variety of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein
- Avocadoes contain high levels of healthy fats and may help you feel fuller in between meals.
Eating these and similar soft and nutritious foods can help speed up healing time and reduce possible complications after wisdom teeth removal.
You should be able to resume a normal diet between one to two weeks after surgery and pain should have well and truly disappeared. If you continue to experience pain or if you have any post-operative care questions, Contact our team at Kelmscott Dental for more information. Call (08) 9495 7999 or book an appointment online.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.