How Long Before You Can Eat After Tooth Extraction?
Having a tooth removed isn’t a pleasant process, but it’s a necessity when you’ve got a problematic tooth and are suffering with toothache. Unfortunately, many people are scared of going to the dentist to have their teeth checked, and with the shortage of NHS dentists and long waiting lists, even if you tried to get an appointment, you may not be able to when you want.
Naturally, many questions arise when it comes to dental procedures, and in particular, tooth extraction, so we’ll answer your most pressing questions now!
What Is a Tooth Extraction?
A tooth extraction is the process of removing a broken, infected or impacted tooth to alleviate pain, clear infections and improve your overall dental health. A dentist will perform the procedure by injecting a local anaesthetic into your gum to numb the area, before using some tools to wiggle the tooth out before stitching up the hole left in the gum.
Depending on the severity of the tooth problem, the procedure can take from 20 minutes to an hour, as the dentist may have to take several pieces of the tooth away if it’s broken, or open the gum and carefully remove the tooth from your jaw if you have a wisdom tooth or other tooth that hasn’t grown out of the gum properly.
You can eat and drink as normal before the procedure, although you may be asked to brush your teeth or rinse with mouthwash before the procedure to ensure your mouth is free from bacteria and food particles to help the wound heal.
Eating After a Tooth Extraction
After your tooth extraction, you’ll be given a small wad of material to bite down on to stop any bleeding and allow a blood clot to form. You may be given a second if it takes some time to stop bleeding, but unless you experience heavy bleeding or for more than 24 hours, some blood from the wound is nothing to worry about. To help the blood clot form to prevent further bleeding, you should avoid eating or drinking for at least 3 hours after your tooth extraction, so try to eat a good breakfast before your procedure so you’re not too hungry after the tooth extraction.
After a few hours, the anaesthetic will begin to wear off and you will experience an aching pain in the area the tooth was removed from, and over the next few days, some swelling and bruising on the face in the area of the tooth extraction is normal. You should wait for at least three hours after your tooth extraction to take a mild painkiller such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to alleviate the pain and make it more comfortable to eat afterwards.
Your dentist will go over all of the details before your procedure and remind you of them after the appointment. But you should ask any questions you have so you can feel more comfortable during and after the procedure.
What Can You Eat After a Tooth Extraction?
There are some foods you should avoid for a few days after your tooth extraction to avoid disturbing the blood clot, wound or stitches and prevent any pain. These include:
- Crunchy foods
- Crumbly foods
- High sugar foods
- Spicy foods
- Fizzy drinks
These types of food may get stuck in the gap left by the tooth extraction, causing you pain and potentially causing an infection, so should be avoided for at least 72 hours. You’re also not recommended to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes for at least 7 days or ideally 10 days after your tooth extraction to avoid disturbing the wound and causing blood loss.
Instead, you should stick to soft foods, such as:
- Mashed potato
- Clear water
- Scrambled eggs
- Boiled vegetables
These will be much easier to eat, and help you maintain a balanced diet.
When Is Toothache an Emergency?
Toothache can vary from a mild annoyance to severe pain that prevents you from going about your life as normal. If you are experiencing severe toothache that doesn’t go away after taking painkillers and the pain is unbearable, you should contact an emergency dentist near you to get an appointment as soon as possible. They may remove the tooth or prescribe you antibiotics for an infection, depending on the issue.
If your toothache is very mild and goes away after taking painkillers, you won’t need to book an emergency dental appointment, but you should still contact your dentist to arrange an appointment as soon as possible to find the cause of the pain.
Toothache can be caused by many different things, from inflammation of the dental pulp below the tooth caused by an infection, to something stuck in your teeth creating pressure as your teeth are pushed together. So if you experience mild toothache, keep cleaning your teeth as well as possible, with a toothbrush, dental floss and mouthwash, and if the pain doesn’t go away within a few days, contact your dentist for an appointment.
Can You Get Dental Treatment at a Hospital?
Your GP may be able to help with many health problems from an ingrown toenail to a headache, but they don’t specialise in dental care, so your GP cannot help with toothache or any other health problems related to dentistry.
However, in extreme circumstances, you may be advised to go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital instead of a dental practice when you have an issue with your oral health. You should only go to a hospital for help with a dental issue if:
- You have difficulty breathing
- You have difficulty swallowing
- You are experiencing heavy bleeding from your mouth
- You have swelling of your tongue, lips, throat, neck or eyes
- You have sustained an injury that has caused serious damage to your face
If you or someone near you has experienced any of these things, you should call an ambulance or take them to A&E immediately.
Why a Private Dentist May Be Your Best Option
The NHS is experiencing many problems, from lack of funding, staff shortages, insufficient appointment availability and an incredible number of people requiring its services, and these issues aren’t limited to hospitals. NHS dental practices are also experiencing a shortage of dentists and cannot provide timely appointments to service users, which is leaving people with dental pain and prolonging dental issues that should be taken care of quickly.
Fortunately, there are more and more affordable private dental practices in the UK that are stepping up to help people with their dental needs, without them having to pay extortionate fees to do so. What’s more, if you’re suffering from pain in your teeth or jaw, you can easily get an appointment with a private dentist at a time that best suits you, rather than waiting for an NHS appointment, which can often take up to a year.
Some procedures can be much more expensive with a private dentist than an NHS dentist, however, when you consider the time taken in a private appointment to care for your teeth and how quickly you’re able to resolve your dental issues to get back to normal, it’s advisable to see a private dentist rather than an NHS one in most cases.
Didsbury Dental Practice – Manchester’s Best Private Dentist
At Didsbury Dental Practice, we understand how bad toothache can be as well as the importance of removing problem teeth and resolving dental health issues when they arise. That’s why we are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for emergency appointments, and have routine appointments available for those in the Manchester area from 9 am to midnight every day.
Don’t wait around for the pain to go away as it will only get worse. Contact Didsbury Dental Practice for your dental appointment today!