Before any tooth extraction, anesthesia will be given to the patient by the dentist to numb the area. The anesthesia usually lasts for a few hours, depending on what type of anesthesia the patient is given. Because of this, it is important for the patient to avoid hot food because the patient will not feel the burn if the food is too hot. For the same reason, the patient is also not allowed to take hard, chewy food, because the patient will not realize it even when he/she accidentally bites on his/her own lips or other soft tissues.
The recommended foods that are suitable for patients who just undergo extractions are:
- Mash potatoes. This dish is soft enough for the patient to swallow without chewing, however, it must be cooled to prevent burns in the mouth.
- Pureed food such as yams, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots. Before pureeing them, these foods can be boiled so that they will become softer. For a bit of taste, chicken broth can be added.
- If you do not feel like eating pureed food, you can try eating baby food, which are soft and nutritious. There are a wide range of different variety of flavours to choose from in the current market, and they are easily available.
- Noodles can be boiled longer than usual to make them softer and easier to chew.
- Junk food like jello and marshmallows are soft and ideal for patients who just underwent extraction, but remember to keep the extraction site clean as these food are also sticky and sweet.
- This is also a great opportunity to indulge in ice cream, frozen yogurt, and cold applesauce, which are ideal food as they are cold and soft. The coldness will numb the pain too after the anaesthesia wears off. However, non frozen yogurt is also ideal and is also nutritious and good for the digestion.
- Cold tomato soup and cold pudding can be easily made and are also ideal.
- Congee is a one-of-a-kind rice: cook with a lot of water to boil. For better taste, it can also be cooked with some chopped meat (very soft meat). Then add some soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper powder, or salt. If you would like it sweet, add a tablespoon of concentrated milk to the mixture.
- If you want to get nutrients, you could drink a cold health shake throughout the day – such as Ensure or Slim Fast.
- Instant Oatmeal: Although fruit included in this can be a bit chewy, it is relatively easy to eat. Instant cream of wheat should be considered as well, and may be slightly easier to eat. Adding more water will reduce the thickness and hence, less likely to disturb the extraction socket.
Starting the next day, you could take more solid food such as bread. But it is important to not disrupt the blood clot formation and do not chew anything if you do not feel that the socket has healed sufficiently. Do not suck on straws as this will create a negative pressure on the extraction socket and cause bleeding. For the same reason, do not sneeze violently (if you can help it) and do not smoke as well.
Other than diet, keeping the extraction site clean is also very important for the healing process to take place. But it is better to not brush the extraction site or the areas near to it on the first day of extraction, as this will dislodge the blood clot formed and lead to more bleeding. Instead, the patient can gargle with salt water or antiseptic mouthwashes gently for one minute to replace tooth brushing. For the same reason, do not swish the solution inside the mouth too forcefully. However, the other areas can be brushed as normal. Starting the second day, the patient can start brushing the areas near to the extraction site gently, and on the third day, the patient can brush normally as usual.
Bleeding is to be expected and some patients were scared at the sight of blood. Actually, it is only a very small amount of blood mixed with saliva. However, if you are feeling any pain or other associated symptoms, it is wise to visit the dentist again the very next day. Usually after the extraction, the dentist will give a few additional pieces of gauze for you to bite on. Bite on the gauze firmly for 5 minutes to ensure that the bleeding is stopped. If the dentist forgot to give you he gauze piece, you can request for it.