Wisdom teeth removal – FAQ


Many patients have questions regarding self care after wisdom teeth removal.  Below are answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.  While generally applicable in most cases, every patient and surgery is different, so please follow the postoperative instructions that are given specifically to you after your surgery.


Q: How long after wisdom teeth removal can I eat?
A: There are no time restrictions for eating food after wisdom teeth removal.  Once the effects of anesthesia have worn off and you are hungry, please feel free to eat!  Most patients find that starting slowly with soft foods such as smoothies, juices, and soup is the best way to start.  If you are not in pain and feel ready to advance to more solid foods, you are welcome to do so.  Spicy foods can sometimes be irritating to the gums around the surgical site, so my recommendation is to wait one week before chowing down on any blazing habanero wings.


Q: How long after wisdom teeth removal can I drink?
A: Drinking liquids such as water, juice, coffee is fine as soon as you are awake enough from anesthesia.  I am often also asked if alcohol is safe to drink after surgery.  The answer is generally yes, in moderation.  However, you must not drink alcohol if you are taking any narcotic pain medication that was prescribed for pain such as hydrocodone or oxycodone.


Q: How long after wisdom teeth removal can I smoke?
A: Smoking can cause a delay in healing of the extraction sites.  It may also increase the risk of dry socket, which is a painful condition that sometimes develops after wisdom teeth surgery.  The answer to this question is simple – hold off as long as you possibly can to smoke after surgery.  The longer you abstain from smoking, the larger the benefit for healing and your general health.


Q: How long after wisdom teeth removal can I work out?
A: It depends on the level of activity – Taking walks can resume immediately and this may actually help decrease facial swelling.  In most cases, weight lifting, running, or other aerobic exercises are safe to do once your pain is controlled without taking any narcotic pain medication.  Contact sports such as football, boxing, or water polo may resume after you are completely recovered from your surgery.


Q: How long after wisdom teeth removal can I use a straw?
A:  The reason why the use of straws are discouraged after wisdom teeth surgery is because any suction in the mouth can cause dislodgment of the blood clots in your tooth sockets.  This may cause bleeding and increase your risk of a dry socket.  If your recovery is typical, the use of straws may resume after one week.


To your health and prosperity,


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