When you have a tooth extracted, you’ll probably want nothing more than to just go home and relax. You may even think about having a drink to help yourself unwind. But is that really a good idea? Your oral surgeon will give you a list of things you’ll need to avoid after having your tooth removed; could alcohol be on that list? Here’s what you need to know before your appointment.
What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?
There are two types of tooth extractions: simple extractions and surgical extractions. A simple extraction involves numbing the area around the tooth before gently loosening and removing it. For a surgical extraction, a small incision is made in the gums to access the tooth in question, which might need to be divided into sections so that it can be safely removed.
Is It Okay to Have Alcohol After Tooth Extraction?
Unfortunately, the answer is a definitive “no.” As part of the healing process, a blood clot will form over the extraction area to protect it. Without this blood clot, you could suffer from a painful dry socket that delays your recovery. Alcohol can thin your blood and prevent it from clotting, which makes dry socket more likely to occur. As such, most oral surgeons recommend that you stay away from alcohol entirely after tooth extraction.
How Long Will It Be Until You Can Have a Drink?
The healing process is different for everyone, so you should stay away from alcohol for however long your oral surgeon tells you to. On average, it will take about 7 to 10 days for the surgical site to recover to the point where you can have a drink without causing any major issues.
If you’ve been taking medications to manage your pain after extraction, that’s another thing to consider. Some pain relief medicine can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol. It’s therefore best to wait until you’ve stopped taking pain medication altogether to start drinking again.
What Should You Do While Your Mouth is Recovering?
If you want to make sure the recovery process goes smoothly so that you can return to your normal routine all the sooner, follow these tips:
- Get at least 24 hours of rest after the extraction.
- Use an ice bag to reduce any swelling.
- Do not use straws or spit. (Both could dislodge your blood clot.)
- Stock up on nutritious soft foods that don’t require much, if any chewing.
It’s important to take care of yourself after tooth extraction so that by the end of the recovery process you’ll be able to enjoy a fully healed, healthy mouth. Reach out to your dentist if you have any more questions about what to expect after tooth extraction.
About the Author
Dr. Jeff Lee attended dental school at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, and he completed a four-year residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. At his Cambridge practice, Muskingum Valley Oral Surgery, he offers both simple and surgical extractions to protect his patients’ long-term oral health. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Lee, visit his website or call (740) 432-8768.