When Can I Eat Solid Food After Tooth Extraction?

If you have a tooth that is damaged or decayed, your dentist will first take steps to salvage the structure of the tooth. This may include procedures such as dental fillings, root canal treatment, and more. In most cases, these procedures are effective and no other treatment is necessary. However, sometimes a the procedure may fail or the tooth is too far damaged/decayed to restore. If this happens, the only other option is to remove the affected tooth.

Proper aftercare, especially proper eating habits, is critical following tooth extraction to ensure a smooth recovery. Many patients have questions and concerns about tooth extractions, including when they can return to their normal eating habits. Here's what you need to know about tooth extraction and eating habits.

Understanding the Tooth Extraction Process

Tooth extraction is a dental procedure involving the removal of one or more teeth due to damage or decay. There are two types of extractions:

    • Simple: the tooth is loosened and removed from the socket
    • Surgical: an incision is made in the gum to remove the tooth  

Most extractions are simple. Surgical extraction is necessary if a tooth is broken or stubborn and will not come out.

Immediate Aftercare: First 24 Hours

Immediately following tooth extraction, it's important to leave the gauze over the site for at least 30 minutes. This will allow time for the clot to form. Also, avoid eating or drinking anything until the anesthesia has worn off.

For the first 24 hours, it's best to stick to a liquid diet because you may have some swelling and tenderness. Foods that are safe to consume during this time include:

  • Water
  • Vegetable juices
  • Gelatin
  • Caffeine-free beverages
  • Smoothies
  • Warm pureed soups  

Avoid anything that is too hot/cold, as this could cause discomfort. Also, avoid using a straw for at least 24 hours, as this could cause the clot to dislodge. This could result in dry socket and delayed recovery.

Soft Food Diet: Days 2 through 7

After 24 hours, depending on how you are feeling, you should be able to transition to a soft food diet. These foods are soft and easy to chew/swallow. A soft food diet includes the following:

  • Soups with soft meats/veggies
  • Cooked carrot (sliced)
  • Soft grains including risotto, rice, oatmeal, and cream of rice
  • Cooked pasta
  • Baked apples
  • Ripe bananas
  • Beets
  • Applesauce
  • Baked/boiled sweet potatoes
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Spinach  

Transitioning to Solid Foods: Day 8 and Beyond

By day 8 following tooth extraction, you should be able to begin to transition back to your normal diet. However, only you know your body. If you are still having discomfort, stick with soft foods for as long as you need to.

If you are having significant discomfort, bleeding, and/or swelling, schedule an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible. You may be experiencing complications that need to be addressed professionally.

Why Does Diet Matter?

Immediately after your tooth is extracted, the healing process gets started. The dentist will have you bite down on a piece of gauze, which will reduce bleeding and help with clot formation.

Certain foods can disturb the site and prevent the formation of the clot or cause the clot to come out, which can cause "dry socket" and/or infection, as well as delay recovery. By sticking to a liquid/soft food, healthy diet, you improve your recovery experience.

Why Does Diet Matter?

As you recover from tooth extraction or other dental procedure, it's important to include both proteins and healthy fats. You should consider including the following proteins:

  • Protein powder
  • Tofu
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Lean meats
  • Fish 

   Healthy fats include:

  •  Olive oil
  • Flax oil
  • Coconut butter
  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil  

Foods to Avoid During Recovery

In order to ensure a quick, smooth recovery, it's important to avoid certain foods that could cause irritation and potentially infection. These foods include:

    • Tobacco products
    • Chewy, crunch, hard foods including candies, nuts, chips, and seeds
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Acidic foods including tomatoes and citrus
    • Alcohol
    • Hot/spicy foods  

Factors that Impact Healing Time

There are several factors that impact the healing time following tooth extraction. First of all, the location of the tooth and the type of extraction make a difference. It takes longer to recover from a surgical extraction than from a simple one.

Aftercare habits also make a difference in healing. It's important to practice proper aftercare including keeping the extraction site clean and making sure to avoid foods/beverages that could cause complications.

Conclusion

One thing that people often forget about is the post-extraction recovery diet. Many people immediately go back to their normal diet and end up with complications including dry socket, severe swelling, delayed healing, and infection.

However, proper aftercare can help reduce your risk of developing these and other complications. Proper aftercare includes:

  • Keeping the extraction site clean
  • Take all medications as directed
  • Stick to a liquid diet for at least the first 24 hours, and transition to a soft food diet for at least a week. As you feel ready, you can begin to transition to your normal diet
  • Avoid strenuous activity for up to 72 hours  

Tooth extraction is a last resort treatment, only recommended when other treatments are either not an option or have failed. The good news is, proper aftercare- including diet- can ensure that you have a smooth recovery. If you have complications, it's important to contact the clinic right away to determine the cause.

Contact Us

Dr. Arkadi Razoumovitch, DDS provides cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentistry in a comfortable, professional environment. Dr. Razoumovich received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from The University of Washington. He has had extensive post-graduate training, including residency training at the University of California Los Angeles, and is a member of numerous professional organizations including The American Dental Association and The Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Razoumovich makes dental treatment relaxed and comfortable for patients while enhancing their oral health and beautifying their smiles

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