After having a tooth extracted, your mouth will usually be numb from local anesthesia for several hours, but once the numbness is gone you will find yourself hungry. Eating the wrong food too soon can cause a significant amount of pain at the extraction site. It’s very important to follow each step of aftercare given by your dentist after a tooth extraction to avoid infections and other problems.
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Initial healing after a tooth extraction takes one to two weeks; however, you will be able to eat before the site is fully healed. The time frame for specific foods you can eat will vary depending on the procedure. Most procedures restrict you to soft foods for the first 24 hours. However, if your procedure was complex -- such as the removal of wisdom teeth, this time frame may be extended.
Types of Food
Do not ingest hot liquids, such as soup, tea and coffee because the heat can dissolve the blood clot that helps the extraction site heal. If this blood clot is removed, the bone will be exposed to foods and drinks, causing a great deal of pain. After the initial 24 hours following your tooth extraction, stick to soft foods such as noodles, gelatin, cottage cheese, pudding and applesauce. As your pain subsides after 24 hours, you can begin introducing foods into your diet that have more textures.
Avoid chewing food on the extraction site because this increases your risks of dislodging the blood clot. You should also avoid spicy foods that can irritate the extraction site and sticky foods which can remove the clot. Avoid drinking through a straw, and do not drink alcohol for the first few days following an extraction.
The extraction site will be swollen with discomfort for at least 24 hours, which can make it difficult to eat. In most cases, a dentist will prescribe a pain killer such a hydrocodone. However, if no pain relief has been prescribed, an acetaminophen or ibuprofen tablet usually can be taken to help make eating more comfortable. Ask your dentist before taking any over-the-counter medications.
After eating, you will want to keep the area clean, but be sure to avoid brushing directly on the extraction site for three to four days. Use a clean and wet gauze pad or cloth to gently wipe the area. Do not rinse because this can also dislodge the clot. See your dentist if you experience signs of an infection -- pain that is getting worse, bleeding that lasts more than four hours, swelling, redness or a fever. If you’re having difficulties breathing, seek emergency care.