What to Eat After Tooth Extraction?

Dr. Matthew Hannan | My Dental Advocate
Teeth Extractions | Extraction of Molar tooth damaged by cavities illustration | My Dental Advocate

A toothache can arise unexpectedly and remarkably hinder your daily life.

Dental pain may occur from a cavity or trauma.

An issue such as this can be debilitating and stop you in your tracks.

Hopefully, you have a local dentist nearby to help you find relief. After the extraction, stay hydrated and stick to a soft diet for the next 1-2 weeks.

Recommended Reading: Overcoming Obstacles at the Dentist

What Happens Before Treatment?

After looking over x-rays and in the mouth, your clinician will decide if the tooth is repairable or not based on the remaining tooth structure, prognosis, and functionality. If the tooth is nonrestorable, the dentist will discuss an extraction.

It’s not easy losing a tooth, whether it’s a molar used for chewing or a front tooth that gives you confidence and self-esteem.

Luckily, there are options to replace teeth, and we’ll discuss those options in detail below.

Extractions are primarily performed by a general dentist, oral surgeon or periodontist; however, some will have more experience than others. The dental specialist may offer sedation dentistry if you visit a specialist for your extractions.

Sedation is an excellent option if you have heart issues, anxiety, multiple extractions, or wisdom teeth.

Your general dentist will most likely be able to offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or possibly oral sedation. Extractions are unpredictable, so be sure your clinician is competent.

What Happens During Treatment?

After administering an anesthetic, your clinician will verify that you’re numb and comfortable. If you have difficulty keeping your mouth open for long periods, inquire about a bite block to limit muscle strain and fatigue.

First, the clinician will gently loosen the gums around the tooth. Your clinician may inform you that it’s normal to feel pressure; however, be sure and let them know if you feel pain.

This is when most patients reply, “Trust me, you will be the first to know.”

Did you know that you have a ligament around your tooth? This is called the periodontal ligament (PDL), and your clinician will slowly loosen this until tooth movement is visualized.

Next, forceps will be applied to remove the tooth gently. During this step, you may hear cracking sounds as pressure is applied to the tooth. Sometimes this is unavoidable because of the frailty of the decayed tooth.

After the tooth is removed, the clinician will rinse the socket with saline to ensure all tooth fragments have been removed. Lastly, gauze will be applied, and the dentist will instruct you to bite firmly for at least 30 mins to encourage hemostasis (blood clot).

What to Eat After Tooth Extraction?

Maintaining proper nutrition will be challenging as you navigate the healing process.

Stay hydrated and stick with a soft diet such as pasta, soup, shakes, or fish. Avoid spicy or crunchy foods as both can irritate the healing site.

Nutritional protein drinks are a great way to supplement your diet. If you have any questions or concerns, your clinician is just a phone call away.

Postoperative Instructions

Alveolits | opened dry socket after tooth extraction illustration | My Dental Advocate

Hopefully, the procedure was better than you expected now that it’s over.

The goal moving forward is to keep the newly formed blood clot in the socket to facilitate adequate healing, which is accomplished by avoiding smoking, spitting, sucking, rinsing, or drinking carbonated or alcoholic beverages for at least 24 hours.

It’s normal to have swelling, soreness, bruising, or difficulty opening your mouth the next few days.

Also, your clinician may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication to facilitate the healing process. Remember to limit physical activity and allow your body to recover.

Occasionally, during the procedure, bony fragments will separate from the socket. These fragments will slowly work their way to the gum surface. Most will exfoliate on their own.

However, return to your dental clinic for quick and effortless removal if they become bothersome.

Be sure to brush gently around the extraction site and rinse with warm salt water twice daily. Allow the fluid to flow out of your mouth passively.

Also, apply a cold pack to the affected area at 10-minute intervals to decrease swelling and inflammation. Blood oozing is normal for the first 24 hours.

However, if bleeding persists after this, apply firm pressure with a tea bag and contact your dental clinic for a follow-up visit.

Replacing Missing Teeth

Other than doing nothing, there are three restorative options for replacing teeth. They include an implant, bridge, or partial denture. Let’s dive deeper into each option.

Implant

Implants can replace teeth without compromising the tooth structure of adjacent teeth. Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing teeth because of their high success rate and longevity.

After the extraction is performed, the surgeon will either place the implant immediately or place a bone graft and let the site heal for 3-4 months before implant placement.

Immediate implants work well in the premolar and anterior regions if there is an atraumatic extraction and adequate bone to support the implant.

The bone graft will still be placed, and in 4 months, if the implant has been integrated into the bone, the dentist can take an impression for the final crown.

In the meantime, your clinician will provide you with a temporary crown or stay-plate (removable appliance that replaces a missing tooth).

If an immediate implant is not recommended, the bone graft will be placed and allowed to integrate over the next 3-4 months. Then the implant will be inserted and allowed to heal another 3-4 months before the final crown impression and delivery.

If an implant fails, they usually fail early on.

Although rare, implant failure can occur due to poor oral hygiene, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, or poor surgical technique.

Fixed Bridge

Bridges effectively replace missing teeth when the adjacent teeth would also benefit from full-coverage crowns.

Since the adjacent teeth will need to be trimmed to allow the bridge to fit correctly, an abutment tooth with issues such as decay or failing fillings would benefit from a bridge.

Bridges can replace multiple missing teeth with a permanent bridge unit. Many bridge material options include PFM, gold, porcelain, or zirconia.

Unlike implants, bridges are prone to cavities.

They can be challenging to clean, so I suggest a Waterpik to clean in and around the pontic (missing tooth) area rather than using dental floss. Bridges have a quicker turnaround time than Implants and are usually more cost-effective.

Removable Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are cost-effective and versatile. Partials work well if multiple teeth in the same arch must be replaced. Often, patients find it difficult to chew and talk initially with partial dentures.

There’s a learning curve, so patience is critical.

Also, partial dentures are removable, so be sure you don’t lose them or let your dog eat them (this is surprisingly common). Full complete dentures are excellent when replacing all teeth in an arch.

Lastly, partial dentures have a set fee no matter how many teeth need to be replaced. This option becomes more enticing the more teeth you are missing.

Related: Best MDA Recommended Products

My Experience & Expertise

Extractions are necessary when the tooth is non-restorable.

However, there are many options to replace the missing tooth with technological advancements. Have you been diagnosed with needing an extraction? Are you confused about your options?

My Dental Advocate’s team of board-certified dentists can provide a second opinion on your planned treatment. We look forward to bringing you peace of mind by verifying your treatment plan, suggesting an alternative, or answering your questions.

Need a second opinion? We can help! Learn more. 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!

About the Author

Dr. Matthew Hannan, also known as “Dr. Advocate,” is a board-certified dentist on a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He attended Baylor University before completing dental school at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. He now lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and 4 kids. Dr. Hannan believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.

Matt Hannan, DDS Signature | My Dental Advocate

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