Getting your wisdom teeth removed is an oral surgery and you can expect that it will take some time to recover. As the anesthesia starts to wear off you will start to feel pain. Even though your mouth will be sore you will still need to eat and drink.
When you’re recovering from wisdom tooth removal it’s important to make sure that you’re getting nutrition and not just surviving on empty calories and comfort food, as tempting as that might be. One of the most important things that you should do is drink water. Your mouth will likely be dry, and you may be dehydrated after the surgery. Water can help soothe the dryness, keep you hydrated, rinse out your mouth if it’s bleeding a little after the surgery, and promote healing in your surgery wounds. The following foods are typically recommended to eat after wisdom teeth removal.
Broths and soups
For the first 24 hours after your oral surgery it is generally recommended not to eat anything except some broths or soups that have no noodles or vegetables. Plain tomato soup is ok, but chunky soups with meat, vegetables, cheese, and other foods in them are typically not recommended. Clear chicken, beef, or vegetable broths are all typically recommended. Bone broth is very often recommended because it seems to have anti-inflammatory benefits¹. Bone broth is likely to be available at any grocery store.
As you ease off broths you can start adding yogurt to your post-surgery diet. By the second day, you should be able to eat yogurt if it’s not too cold. It is recommended to avoid yogurt with chunks of fruit in it.
Many people may assume that after oral surgery they will be living on nothing but pudding and ice cream but, unfortunately that’s not the case. You are likely in need of nutritious food so even though treats like pudding may be ok in moderation, it is generally recommended to eat foods with a bit more nutrition in them as your primary meals. Try different kinds of pudding and add some whipped cream to your pudding too if you want it to taste even better.
If your diet allows it, you can drink protein shakes easily and get a good dose of protein in each one. Some shakes could pack up to 30 grams of protein in each serving. You might want to try meal replacement shakes because they tend to have a good blend of vitamins and minerals as well as protein.
Applesauce or fruit puree
Fruit puree is another typical option for post-surgery. Many fruits are packed with Vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system and help you recover more quickly. Fruit puree or applesauce with no added sugar is generally recommended.
As you recover from the surgery, you may be able to introduce some regular foods to your diet. Start with mashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes avoiding eating the skin is generally recommended. Potatoes are loaded with healthy vitamins² so they’re a smart choice, and nearly everyone loves potatoes.
Macaroni and cheese
Another typical post-surgery food option as you ease into eating regular food again is macaroni and cheese. You’ll probably feel like you haven’t eaten a real meal in a long time and macaroni and cheese is filling. You may want to choose a macaroni and cheese with a thin cheese sauce instead of a thick gooey cheese sauce because that will likely stick to your teeth.
Scrambled eggs or fried eggs are another typical food recommended after a wisdom tooth removal. As your mouth starts to heal you can add in things to your eggs like spinach or pieces of sausage and bacon. Scrambled eggs topped with milk salsa is a way to get protein and vegetables after having your wisdom teeth removed.
Herbal teas are generally fine for any stage of the recovery process if they aren’t spicy. Some herbal teas have medicinal properties that can help you heal and help with your recovery. Try drinking herbal teas with antibacterial properties that can help you avoid getting an infection at the surgery site. It is recommended you always check with your dentist first before consuming food or drinking liquids post-surgery.
What is typically not recommended to eat after wisdom tooth removal
Raw fruits and vegetables
Raw fruits and vegetables may be too difficult to eat after oral surgery. Biting down on hard foods and chewing tough foods can cause pain and could lead to bigger dental problems. It is recommended to avoid all raw vegetables and fruits like apples or peaches or anything that you need to bite and chew. Fruit puree may be fine. It is recommended you always check with your dentist first.
Chips, cookies, and nuts
Chips, cookies, and nuts can also be too difficult to chew after oral surgery. Even if you dunk your cookies in milk, they will still be too tough for your tender mouth and teeth to chew. Depending on your diet, stick to soft desserts like pudding or if you really want something sweet try cheesecake filling without the crust.
Bread and crackers
Bread is typically tough to chew after wisdom tooth removal and you are generally recommended to avoid any foods that could get stuck to your surgery site. Crackers and breads are notorious for getting stuck on teeth and stuck in the mouth and that can only cause trouble post oral surgery.
Spicy foods are likely to aggravate your already sensitive and sore mouth so you should avoid them when you’re healing from oral surgery. That may include hot sauces and spicy condiments as well as foods that have a lot of spicy seasoning on them or are naturally spicy.
Hot foods or cold foods
Not everyone experiences hot and cold sensitivity after oral surgery but many people who have their wisdom teeth out may experience some sensitivity after the surgery.
After surgery, you likely won’t be able to brush your teeth for a few days so you don’t want sticky or sweet foods clinging to your teeth. So, it is generally recommended that you should avoid things like honey and caramel but also thick cheese, heavy cream sauces, and sticky foods.
Following these recommendations can help you heal faster and avoid pain while you heal.
Why wisdom teeth need to be removed
Some people don’t need to have their wisdom teeth removed because their wisdom teeth come in without any problems. But sometimes those wisdom teeth come in crooked, or only erupt halfway through the gum, or crowd the teeth around them³ that may require surgery. Impacted wisdom teeth may be at a higher risk of tooth decay than other teeth because they are harder to clean and food and bacteria can get trapped between your gums and the partially erupted tooth⁴. Rather than risk any future damage or infections your dentist might recommend removing them.
After the wisdom tooth extraction
Some dental procedures, like a routine cleaning, typically do not need recovery time. When the procedure is over, you’re likely ready to resume your normal activities and you may be able to eat and drink what you normally would. Typically, a filling requires a short period of avoiding some sticky foods and maybe a couple of over the counter pain relievers for you to be fine to continue life as normal. Wisdom tooth removal is different.
After having oral surgery to remove your wisdom teeth you will likely need anywhere from several days to a couple of weeks to fully heal. During that time, you will likely experience varying degrees of pain and sensitivity. Remember, the dentist is removing bone from your mouth and in some cases may need to cut into your jaw and gums to remove a tooth that doesn’t erupt all the way or stays buried in your gum. So, you will likely need to change your normal routine after your surgery.
In the first day or so after the surgery there likely will be some pain and probably some bleeding too.⁵ You may have bruising and swelling in your face and swelling in your neck. Mouth pain can radiate through the mouth so at times it might feel like your entire mouth was operated on and not just your wisdom teeth. You should take it easy for several days after your wisdom teeth come out. Avoid strenuous workouts or playing sports and avoid any activities where you might get hit in the mouth. You will probably not feel much like talking either.
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Brought to you by The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. Material discussed is meant for general illustration and/or informational purposes only and it is not to be construed as tax, legal, investment or medical advice.(exp.09/22)