101 Foods to Eat After Dental Surgery, Implants or Wisdom Teeth Removal
Matt Hannan, DDS
Updated: October 14, 2023
Are you worried about the food you should eat after having dental surgery? If yes, then you are not alone. Dental procedures such as wisdom teeth removal, implant placement, and root canal treatment are standard procedures dentists perform.
Unfortunately, these procedures can cause discomfort and pain. Sticking to a soft-food diet for 1-2 weeks will decrease discomfort without sacrificing essential nutrients. This article provides 101 foods to eat after dental surgeries.Recommended Reading: Wisdom Teeth | The Ultimate Guide
Wisdom teeth removal
Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure performed by oral surgeons. It is often done to treat tooth impaction, severe decay, infection, or pain. After the procedure, patients return home with post-operative instructions to take care of their mouths.
Patients who undergo dental procedures should follow specific guidelines to ensure proper healing and minimize complications. For example, patients should drink 8 oz of water 8/day (8×8) to prevent dehydration. They should avoid sucking, spitting and using a straw for 48 hours. Additionally, they should refrain from smoking and chewing tobacco.Recommended Reading: Wisdom Teeth Removal (What’s Involved?)
What you can expect after the procedure
After the procedure, you may experience swelling, oozing, and mild discomfort for a few days. Use a cold pack and anti-inflammatory OTC medications to minimize swelling.
Also, you may have difficulties opening and closing your jaw as the muscles have been stretched during the procedure. In addition, expect bleeding and oozing to occur for up to 24 hours.Recommended Reading: Wisdom Teeth Pain: Symptoms, Relief & Home Remedies (Helpful Tips)
We recommend this cold compress is applied directly to the wisdom teeth area to prevent swelling, inflammation and pain.
Your surgeon will provide you with more detailed instructions, including changing the gauze if bleeding persists, avoiding physical activities for 3-5 days, and sticking with a soft-food diet for two weeks. Wisdom teeth extractions take two weeks to heal; however, call your doctor with any questions or concerns.
If antibiotics are prescribed and you are taking birth control pills, consider alternative birth control methods as birth control pills may be ineffective.
101 foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal
Patients should consume soft foods for 1-2 weeks until their gums heal completely. In addition, patients should consume specific foods to promote healing. Some examples include yogurt, milk, soft cheese, eggs, bananas and applesauce.
Check out our 7-day Dentist-Recommended Eating Plan
It is important to remember that each procedure is unique, and you should follow your doctor’s recommendations for what is acceptable to eat to prevent pain and infection. Patients who undergo surgery may need to follow a liquid diet for an extended period before progressing to solid foods.
After dental surgery, any foods listed below can be liquefied using a blender – our favorites are the Magic Bullet and the Vitamix. Patients can also use them to make delicious, healthy beverages, including juices, shakes, and smoothies containing raw vegetables packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Scrambled eggs
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Over-medium/easy eggs
- Poached eggs
- Cottage cheese + fruit
- Cottage cheese + salsa
- Smoothies + protein
- Protein shakes (Boost)
- Cereal w/milk
- Flaky fish
- Canned tuna
- Shredded chicken
- Sloppy joes
- Ground turkey
- Ground beef
- Ground chicken
- Refried beans
- Deli meat
- Beef stew
- Pot roast
- Mozzarella cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- PB2 Powder
- Macaroni & cheese
- Mashed potatoes
- Baked beans
- Nut butter (peanut, almond)
- Soft bread
- Cream of wheat
- Cooked rice
- Croissant rolls
- Ramen noodles
- Clam chowder
- Tomato soup
- Chicken noodle soup
- Sweet potatoes
Fruits & veggies
- Mandarin oranges (canned)
- Seedless fruit
- Fruit juice
- Mashed strawberries
- Canned pineapple
- Watermelon (seedless)
- Veggies (steamed)
- Canned fruits
- Pureed fruit
- Tomato sauce
- Cooked pears
- Canned vegetables
- Mashed cauliflower
- Steamed carrots
- Steamed broccoli
- Spaghetti squash
- Cooked spinach
- Cooked zucchini
- Baked apples
- Ice cream
- Frozen yogurt
- Tapioca pudding
What NOT to eat after wisdom teeth removal
Foods that are spicy, hot, crunchy, crumbly or chewy can delay wound healing. In addition, alcohol may irritate the healing tooth socket and interfere with prescribed pain medication. Finally, avoid seeds as they can get lodged in the tooth socket, aggravate gum tissue, and disturb blood clot formation.
If the blood clot falls out, a dry socket will form. Day 3 and 4 are the most common days to develop a dry socket. If you want to learn more about dry sockets, check out the recommended reading below.
Types of food to avoid
- Spicy foods (irritates gum tissue)
- Hot foods (damages blood clots)
- Crunchy foods (irritates sore jaw)
- Chewy foods (irritates sore jaw)
- Acidic foods (irritates gum tissue)
- Seeds & nuts (irritate tooth socket)
- Alcohol (delays healing)
Serving size suggestions (soft-food diet)
Your oral surgeon will advise you to stay on a soft-food diet for 1-2 weeks. The diet allows time for your mouth, jaw muscles and gums to heal.
A change in diet after wisdom tooth extraction can prevent you from getting adequate nutrients. The amount of food intake begins with the number of servings and serving size.
Serving size suggestions
- 2 servings of protein
- 2 servings of carbohydrates & dairy
- 5 servings of fruits & vegetables
Recovery after wisdom teeth removal
Wisdom teeth removal is a standard outpatient procedure for patients between the ages of 15 and 25. Recovery after wisdom teeth removal takes 3-4 days, but symptoms can take 1-2 weeks to subside.
Your oral surgeon will provide detailed post-op instructions, including contact information. In addition, you must follow the at-home care instructions that your surgeon gives you to prevent complications and to improve healing.
Your mouth is designed for optimal healing and regeneration; however, expect the tooth socket to heal completely in 3-6 months.Recommended Reading: How to Sleep After Wisdom Teeth Removal? (BEST Tips)
Follow these steps to minimize complications and recover quicker
- Take prescribed medication before the local anesthesia wears off
- Rest and recover for the first 3-4 days to allow the mouth to heal
- Avoid sucking, spitting, smoking or vigorously swishing to prevent dry socket.
- Use cold compress up to 36 hours after surgery to reduce inflammation, pain and swelling
- Alternate between hot and cold packs after that to stimulate healing
- Gently rinse mouth out with warm salt water 2-3x/day
- Gently massage TMJ and jaw muscles to decrease soreness
- Keep head elevated up to 72 hours after surgery to minimize pain and swelling
- Sleep often and stay off of your feet
- Avoid physical activity for 3-4 days
- Consume adequate amounts of fluid and electrolytes (Gatorade)
- Consume sufficient amounts of nutrients (soft-food diet)
Frequently Asked Questions
My Experience & Expertise
Whether one tooth is pulled or all your teeth are pulled, you may have to stick with a soft-food diet for 1-2 weeks. Be patient with the healing process and give your body plenty of time to heal. Consider these healthy and delicious foods to recover faster and return to normal sooner.
Knowledge is power when cultivating healthy dental habits. The more informed you are, the better positioned you’ll be to prevent avoidable and potentially costly dental procedures for you and your family. Watch for future blog posts, where we’ll continue sharing important information, product reviews and practical advice!
- What is a soft food diet and why is it prescribed? Healthline.
- What is a Soft Food Diet? WebMD.
- How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Pulling wisdom teeth can improve long-term taste function, research finds ScienceDaily.