While getting your wisdom teeth taken out isn’t a complicated procedure, it’s still an oral surgery. And any surgery has a recovery period where you’ve got to be careful with the surgical site while it heals. The recovery period for a typical wisdom tooth extraction is usually less than 2 weeks. However, if you don’t know the right (and wrong) ways to go about your recovery, it may last longer, or can even result in complications like abscess, infection, dry socket, and more.
Later, we’ll discuss some simple lifestyle tips to follow while you’re recovering from your wisdom tooth surgery. But first, let’s talk about what you should and should not be eating. Since eating and drinking are compulsory – you can’t just not eat for a week while you recover – they’re often patients’ main concerns when prepping for their healing period.
Food Dos for Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery
When you have your wisdom teeth removed, an empty socket is left, which is quickly covered by a blood clot meant to protect the site while it heals. For the first week after you have your wisdom teeth taken out, your goal is to protect – and even coddle – those sites so that the clot doesn’t get dislodged. Focus on foods that are soft and gentle on your teeth for the first few days of your wisdom tooth recovery. Things like:
- Blended soups
- Bone broth
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed root vegetables
Many of these foods have a high sugar content, so make sure you include those broths and soups so you don’t encourage plaque buildup. Another definite do is staying hydrated, so make sure you get your 8 glasses of water in each day.
Food Don’ts After a Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery
Avoid foods that have the potential to traumatize the extraction site, whether through breaking and lacerating, getting lodged in the site, or being too hard to chew. These include:
- Anything spicy
- Citrus fruits
- Crunchy and sticky candy
- Granola bars
Another serious don’t is drinking through straws. Anything that includes sucking can dislodge the clot that protects the site of your wisdom tooth removal, and drinking through a straw is a common culprit of this complication.
Other Self-Care Steps to Help Speed Your Recovery
It’s not just food choices that can help or hurt your healing time; how you treat your body is just as important as how you treat those empty wisdom tooth sockets. Make sure to do these things after you’ve had your wisdom teeth out:
- For the first few nights, sleep with your head elevated.
- Avoid strenuous activity like running and weight lifting.
- Don’t smoke.
- Avoid alcohol for the first week.
- Don’t take aspirin for the pain; it delays clot formation.
- Only ice for the first 2 days. After, gently swish with warm salt water instead.
- Do jaw exercises.
- Be super gentle with brushing and swishing mouthwash until the site is healed.
Follow all these tips, and contact your oral surgeon with any questions or concerns along the way, and you’ll be back to your old self in no time!