Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop in the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, with one located in each corner of the mouth. These teeth typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom teeth are thought to be considered as remnants of an evolutionary past when early humans had larger jaws and needed extra teeth for chewing tough and coarse foods. However, with modern changes in diet and jaw size, wisdom teeth often do not have enough space to fully emerge or function properly. In result, wisdom teeth are commonly extracted to avoid potential complications.
At Rivers + West Family Dentistry, we perform wisdom teeth removal in the comfort of our Mount Pleasant dental clinic. While our dental team will do everything we can to help you prepare for your extraction procedure and keep you comfortable while you are here, we will also give you very specific post-operative instructions to ensure you heal quickly and comfortably at home.
Here are some of the most important rules you should follow after wisdom teeth removal:
#1 Eat a Soft Foods Diet
After wisdom teeth removal, it’s important to choose foods that are soft, easy to chew, and won’t irritate the extraction sites. Here are some suggestions for post-wisdom teeth removal meals:
- Smoothies and milkshakes: Blended fruits, yogurt, and milk or ice cream can provide a cool and nutritious option. Avoid using a straw, as the suction can dislodge blood clots.
- Soups: Opt for creamy soups, such as tomato soup, butternut squash soup, or pureed vegetable soups. Make sure they are not too hot to avoid irritating the extraction sites.
- Mashed potatoes: Soft and creamy mashed potatoes are a great option. Avoid adding any spicy seasonings or hard chunks.
- Yogurt: Choose plain or flavored yogurt that doesn’t have any large fruit chunks. It’s a good source of protein and calcium.
- Applesauce: Easy to eat and gentle on the extraction sites, unsweetened applesauce can be a good choice.
- Scrambled eggs: Soft and fluffy scrambled eggs provide protein and nutrients. Be sure not to overcook them to maintain moisture.
- Smooth oatmeal: Cooked oatmeal that is blended or well-soaked to make it smoother can be a comforting and nutritious meal.
- Protein shakes: If you’re looking for a more substantial option, consider protein shakes or meal replacement shakes that are easy to consume and don’t require much chewing.
Remember to avoid foods that are hard, crunchy, sticky, or spicy, as they can be difficult to eat and may cause irritation or discomfort to the extraction sites.
#2 Don’t Use a Straw
Using a straw after wisdom teeth extraction is generally discouraged because the suction created by the straw can potentially dislodge the blood clot that forms in the extraction site. This blood clot is a crucial part of the healing process as it helps protect the underlying bone and tissue, and promotes proper healing. If the blood clot is dislodged or disrupted, it can lead to a condition called dry socket, which is characterized by intense pain and delayed healing.
The suction created by drinking through a straw can create negative pressure in the mouth, which can pull the blood clot out of the socket. To promote proper healing and minimize the risk of complications, it’s best to avoid using straws and instead drink fluids directly from a cup or glass during the initial recovery period. Once you have fully healed and our Mt. Pleasant dentist gives you the green light, you can resume using straws as normal.
#3 Know When to Call Your Dentist
After wisdom teeth removal, it’s important to monitor your healing process and be aware of any signs or symptoms that may indicate a need to contact our dental office in Mt. Pleasant, such as excessive/prolonged bleeding, development of dry socket, infection/fever, numbness/tingling, difficulty opening mouth, allergic reaction or adverse side effects.
If you have any concerns about your recovery or healing after wisdom teeth removal, don’t hesitate to reach out to Rivers + West Family Dentistry.