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When Can I Eat Solid Food After Tooth Extraction?

March 22, 2023
by: Dr. Ammons

When possible, dental care providers strive to save your natural teeth. However, there are some situations in which a dental filling or crown isn’t enough. In this case, the tooth must be extracted.

Tooth extraction, also referred to as “pulling” a tooth is a dental procedure in which a tooth is removed from the socket. There are two types of extractions, simple or surgical. There are several reasons that Dr. Michael Ammons and the team at Ammons Dental by Design may recommend extraction, including:

  • Severe decay
  • Impacted tooth
  • Fractured/broken tooth
  • Severe gum disease
  • Dental injury
  • Crowding

Recovery following a tooth extraction varies from one patient to another, but most feel back to normal within 48 to 72 hours. There are several things you’ll want to do to ensure a smooth recovery, including:

  • Keeping the extraction site clean
  • Follow specific instructions given by the dentist
  • Avoid strenuous activity for up to 48 hours
  • Take all medications as directed
  • Avoid eating foods that may cause the extraction site to become inflamed

In this article, we’ll explain more about what you should eat following tooth extraction and when you can expect to eat solid foods.

What to Expect Following Tooth Extraction

Tooth extraction is considered a simple dental procedure. However, there are several stages you can expect to go through.

During the first 24 hours, platelets and fibrin protein will form a blood clot in the empty socket. This clot will remain throughout the process but will change as healing progresses. There are several do’s and don’ts to keep in mind during this time:

  • Do take medications as directed
  • Do stick to soft foods such as yogurt, milk, cheese, beans, mashed potatoes, fruit smoothies
  • Do monitor and treat swelling
  • Don’t use a straw
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t engage in strenuous physical activity

On days 2 to 3, you can start gently rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater to facilitate healing. Try to avoid dislodging the clot. You may begin including soft solid foods in your diet as you feel comfortable including eggs, bananas, or fish. You will want to avoid:

  • Hard/crunchy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Beverages that require a straw
  • Tough meats

After 72 hours, you may begin introducing solid foods back into your diet as you feel comfortable.

Tooth Extraction FAQs

While common, many of our patients have questions related to tooth extraction. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

  • What foods can I eat after tooth extraction?

    Immediately following a tooth extraction, whether simple or surgical, you should stick to soft foods such as fruit smoothies, yogurt, beans, milk, mashed potatoes, and other foods that are easy to chew.

  • How long should I wait to eat solid food after tooth extraction?

    You may begin to introduce soft solid foods into your diet such as eggs, bananas, and fish after the first 24 hours. After that, you may begin to introduce more solid foods into your diet as you feel comfortable. If you had a surgical extraction, you may want to wait a bit longer.

  • Can I eat spicy food after tooth extraction?

    You should avoid eating spicy foods immediately following tooth extraction, as it can cause the surgical site to become inflamed and possibly infected. Ideally, you should wait about 2 weeks following extraction to eat spicy foods. If you can’t give up spicy foods, make sure to start small and don’t choose extremely spicy foods. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria.

  • Can I drink alcohol after tooth extraction?

    Most dentists recommend that you avoid alcohol consumption for up to 7 days following a tooth extraction. However, you can begin introducing it back into your diet after 72 hours.

  • Can I use a straw after tooth extraction?

    No, you should avoid using a straw for at least 24 hours following a tooth extraction, as the sucking action can cause the blood clot to become dislodged.

  • Can I smoke after tooth extraction?

    You should avoid smoking following tooth extraction because this action can cause the clot to become dislodged, leading to dry socket. Also, nicotine can slow down the healing process. Ideally, you should use this time to quit smoking completely- but if you must smoke, you should wait for at least 72 hours.

  • What can I do to promote faster healing after tooth extraction?

    There are several things you can do to promote faster healing following tooth extraction:

    • Get plenty of rest
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Avoid smoking or using a straw
    • Stick to soft foods for a few days
    • Use prescription and OTC pain relievers as directed
    • Use a cold compress to control swelling
    • Practice proper oral hygiene habits

Do You Need a Tooth Extracted?

If you have a tooth that needs to be extracted due to decay, damage, or any other reason, schedule your appointment with Dr. Ammons and the team at Ammons Dental by Design today. We have four offices to serve you: Camden, James Island, Downtown Charleston, and Summerville.

A tooth extraction is the process of having a tooth removed. This procedure may be simple or surgical. Most patients feel back to normal after about 72 hours, but it may take longer depending on the complexity of your situation. You’ll want to stick to soft foods for at least 72 hours, slowly moving from soft foods to soft solids to eventually transitioning to your normal diet.  

You will be provided with specific instructions for aftercare. Make sure to follow them carefully to promote healing.

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Multiple Convenient Dental Locations Near Charleston

Ammons Dental By Design has four locations so you can find the most convenient office for your family.
1015 Fair St.
Camden, SC 29020
Monday – Thursday:
8am – 5pm
P: (803) 969-0365
F: (803) 432-2625
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14 Lockwood Dr,
Charleston, SC 29401
(Suite A on the exterior of the Ashley House Building, across from the marina)
Monday – Thursday:
7am - 4pm
P: (843) 380-2734
F: (843) 577-4464
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1739-B Maybank Hwy.
Charleston, SC 29412
Tuesday – Friday:
7am - 4pm
P: (843) 380-8889
F: (843) 990-9504
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1710 Old Trolley., Ste.B
Summerville, SC 29485
Tuesday – Thursday: 8am – 5pm
Monday & Friday*: 8am – 5pm
*Rotating schedule
P: (843) 380-8904
F: (843) 871-0617
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