How Chew After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

You should learn how to chew after wisdom teeth extraction if you are having pain or swelling in this area of your mouth. Dentists extract wisdom teeth often as there is not always enough room in the mouth for these last teeth to come in. Recovery is relatively fast, but eating during this time can pose problems, such as an inability for the site to form a clot and heal. Avoid such a situation by following some simple guidelines.

  1. Do not eat for the first one to two hours following the wisdom teeth extraction procedure. Instead, use this time to stop the bleeding and encourage clotting by biting down on sterile gauze pads at the extraction site. This puts pressure on the site to reduce bleeding. Do this until the anesthesia wears off.
  2. Do not try to chew anything until total feeling is regained in the mouth. You can chew up the inside of your cheek pretty well without even knowing it if you try eating before the anesthesia wears off. If you rush this step, you'll have to deal with a sore cheek in addition to a wisdom tooth extraction.
  3. Drink fluids, but not through a straw. As always, fluids are important for the body. This holds true especially during times of injury and healing. Don't use a straw, which can suck the blood clot out the wisdom teeth extraction area, slowing the healing process.
  4. Eat soft foods. Easily chewed and swallowed food is best eaten after a tooth extraction. Add more solid foods as you are able, but not seeds, popcorn or other small, hard foods. These foods can break up and disturb the blood clot.
  5. Avoid the extraction area while eating. If you're lucky, you've only had one side of your mouth operated on. Use the healthy side as much as possible while the wisdom teeth extraction site heals. This lowers the chances of disrupting the blood clot and the healing process.
  6. Don't swish. Don't disturb the blood clot by swishing water, mouthwash or any other fluid around in your mouth. Start again with regular dental hygiene by gently brushing the teeth at least 24 hours following the wisdom teeth extraction.

Warning: don't smoke for at least 24 hours after the procedure. Smoking and using straws both increase the risk of the blood clot in the tooth socket being disturbed. If you're a heavy smoker, try using the patch for this short period while your mouth heals. 



University of Oregon Health Center

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