Can I Drink Tea After Tooth Extraction
With over 15 million people in the UK enjoying at least 2 cups of tea every day, it’s no wonder we want to know exactly when we can have our first cuppa after a procedure. Fortunately, you don’t have to go days without a cup of tea, but you can’t drink one straight away after your procedure, however much you want to sit and relax in front of the TV until you’re recovered and ready to go back to work.
We’ll tell you when you can drink tea, what else you need to avoid and why looking after your mouth after a tooth extraction is crucial for your health.
When to Have a Tooth Extraction
If you’re suffering with toothache you may want to get your tooth removed as quickly as possible to relieve the pain, but a tooth extraction isn’t always the best course of action. Sometimes infection in the gum or dental pulp can lead to great pain but simply require a root canal to remove the infected tissue and allow you to keep your tooth. However, in some cases, a tooth extraction is necessary to help the area heal and prevent any damage to your other teeth.
Some reasons for having a tooth extraction include:
- A tooth infection (dental abscess)
- A broken or damaged tooth
- An impacted and painful tooth such as a wisdom tooth
- Severe tooth decay
You should see your dentist for twice-yearly check-ups and they will be able to assess the health of your teeth and tell you if you need any further treatment. But if you have broken your tooth or have toothache that has lasted more than a few days and doesn’t go away after taking painkillers, you should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to have your tooth removed safely.
Why You May Not Need Your Wisdom Teeth Out
Most people who have wisdom teeth will have them removed as they’re a remnant from our ancestors that’s no longer useful for us and we don’t usually have room in our mouths for wisdom teeth anymore. However, if you have wisdom teeth coming through, you don’t necessarily need them removed.
Wisdom teeth can grow at an angle due to the lack of space they have to push through which can impact the nerve of the tooth next to the wisdom tooth and cause a great deal of pain and need to be extracted. But if the wisdom tooth has not erupted, and is therefore impacted, but is not causing any pain, dentists don’t always see a need to extract the tooth. Similarly, if your wisdom teeth have erupted and have not caused any issues with your neighbouring teeth or gums, they do not need to be removed.
With any surgical procedure, there are risks surrounding the operation and the healing process, so if a procedure is not absolutely necessary, then it isn’t recommended. If you’re in pain or have an infection, a dentist will recommend a tooth extraction, however, if you’re comfortable, then they will not remove your wisdom tooth if it’s not necessary.
When Can You Eat and Drink After a Tooth Extraction?
After your tooth is extracted you’ll be given a wad of gauze to bite down on for a couple of minutes to put pressure on the hole left behind by the tooth (known as the socket) to help stop any bleeding and form a blood clot. The blood clot will initially be fragile so it’s important not to eat or drink anything for the first 3 hours following your tooth extraction to allow the blood clot to remain in place and form properly.
The dentist will usually have your tooth extraction performed under local anaesthetic, although you can sometimes have it done under sedation if you’re very worried about the procedure, so when the anaesthetic wears off, you will feel pain in the tooth extraction area. However, you should not take any painkillers for the first three hours following your tooth extraction either. Ibuprofen is a useful painkiller to take as it will help reduce the swelling around the socket and jaw, however, you should be careful not to take it on an empty stomach as it may cause irritation.
Although you may wish to use alcohol as a mild painkiller, you should avoid alcohol for at least 7 days after your tooth extraction to allow the wound to heal properly.
What Can You Eat and Drink After Tooth Extraction?
What to eat and drink after a tooth extraction is largely common sense as you don’t want to hurt yourself by eating something that can be sharp, like crisps, or a very hot soup that will burn your mouth and cause more pain. However, there are some foods and drinks to avoid that you may consider unusual.
For the first three days following your tooth extraction, avoid:
- Crunchy foods
- Crumbly foods
- High sugar foods
- Spicy foods
- Fizzy drinks
Instead, eat and drink the following foods to be comfortable and aid the healing process:
- Mashed potato
- Clear water
- Scrambled eggs
- Boiled vegetables
These foods are soft and nutritious to help you stay healthy and allow your gum to heal, but you should make sure that they’re not too hot or too cold as the temperature will affect the blood clot and make you uncomfortable.
Can I Drink Tea After Tooth Extraction?
So if you should stick to clear water, then tea should be avoided, right? But if you can drink soup, why is tea any different?
Room-temperature water is the best thing to drink following your tooth extraction, but it can be very boring, so if you want to have a cup of tea 24 hours after your procedure, you can, but you should be careful and adhere to some guidelines.
The trouble with drinking hot drinks is that they can dissolve the blood clot, so make sure your tea has cooled down a lot before you drink it. Don’t think you can slurp it to cool it down either – the liquid must be cool enough to not hurt your gum, and the action of slurping, like drinking through a straw, can dislodge the blood clot.
Sugar and milk are also irritants for your blood clot and gums as they can feed bacteria in your gums and potentially cause an infection, so if you are having a cup of tea, do not put milk or sugar into it.
After three days, check if your blood clot is still there and is healthy, and carry on eating and drinking as normal if you feel comfortable doing so.
Why You Need to be Careful About What You Eat and Drink After Tooth Extraction
The main reason to be careful about eating and drinking after your tooth extraction, as well as avoiding smoking for at least a week, is to maintain your blood clot. The blood clot is a protective barrier formed by your body to prevent bacteria from entering the wound and help the nerves heal after a procedure or injury, so a healthy blood clot is essential for the body to heal well.
Certain foods, chemicals from cigarettes, actions like sucking on a straw or cigarette, or spitting can dislodge the blood clot and leave the wound open, known as a dry socket. If you have a dry socket, your wound is more at risk of developing an infection as bacteria can enter, and as the nerve endings are exposed, you can be left in great pain. Once the blood clot has been removed, it will not grow back, so it’s important to maintain your blood clot once it has formed.
If your dry socket becomes infected, you will be in an enormous amount of pain and should see your dentist as soon as possible to be treated as an untreated infection can spread to your other teeth and jaw, and result in potentially serious health problems.