After your tooth extraction operation, a blood clot forms in the extraction site, which protects the wound from pathogens and promotes the formation of new tissue. In order to avoid complications and speed up the healing process, it is important to protect the newly formed clot, the extraction site and the injured gum from any outside influence, practice good oral hygiene and to follow your dentist’s instructions. It is also important to remember what you can and cannot eat after a tooth extraction. As it may make or break the success of your tooth extraction operation.
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General advice after a tooth extraction
- After your tooth extraction, your body needs time and energy to recover. It is important to ask your doctor about the proper hygiene procedures, how many days before you can exercise, how long you should not eat after a tooth extraction and what medications you should take.
- Within 20 to 30 minutes after surgery, clench your teeth tightly with a pad placed by your doctor. No longer than this is necessary, as the pad quickly soaks up blood and saliva and may cause an infection in the extraction site. If minor bleeding continues, a new sterile tampon should be applied [1, 2].
- For the first 3-4 hours after extraction, cold compresses such as ice or frozen food can be applied to the cheek in the area of the operation. It should be wrapped in a clean cloth and held for no more than 20 minutes to avoid hypothermia. The cold shrinks the blood vessels and helps reduce pain and swelling. The procedure can be repeated every 15 minutes .
- Do not drink or eat for 2 to 3 hours after surgery while the anesthesia is still working. Leftover food can traumatize the wound and damage the blood clot. Anesthesia causes temporary numbness and decreased sensitivity: there is a risk of severe biting of the tongue, cheeks or lips.
- It is important to check with your doctor what you can eat if your tooth is extracted and to follow the recommendations carefully.
- Do not rinse your mouth or use an irrigator. During this process, blood clots can be carried away or spit out, causing the wound to swell and fester. If your doctor recommends it, you can perform anti-inflammatory baths instead of gargling: draw out the recommended antiseptic solution, hold it in your mouth and after a while, spit it out gently.
What to eat after a tooth extraction
- To reduce the risk of complications, you should follow a light diet for the first 3 to 5 days following your surgery.
- Eat warm foods only. Very hot and cold temperatures irritate tissues, causing blood vessels to dilate or contract.
- Your diet should consist of soft, pureed or liquid foods, cooked and boiled products: low organic acid vegetable purees and smoothies (carrot, pumpkin, spinach), jellies, yogurt, cream soups, broths, omelets, fish or meat cutlets and dumplings, well-cooked porridges, steamed fish. Try not to stray away too far from this diet for the few day following your diet
- Drink warm and non-carbonated water.
What not to eat after a tooth extraction
During the post-operative period, you should completely exclude these foods from your diet:
- Foods that are too hot or too cold, coarse, spicy, salty, fine-grained foods, fruits with seeds, foods with sharp, crunchy edges, sweets, carbonated beverages, and any foods that require intense chewing. These foods can traumatize the wound and cause inflammation.
- Strong tea and coffee. Caffeine increases blood pressure which can increase the chances of dental bleeding.
- Vegetables, fruits and berries, juices, especially freshly squeezed ones with high organic acidity: lemons, pomegranates, black currants, cranberries, apples, pineapples and others.