Tooth extractions are quite common in childhood. In fact, they can be so routine that it might seem like no big deal; life goes on after your child has one or two removed.
It’s important to remember that this is a surgical procedure, and having a tooth pulled does cause some stress on the body.
The most important thing is to avoid dry socket. This is when the blood clot dislodges from the site of the wound, causing extreme pain and discomfort, and slowing healing.
You’ll want to provide comfort and care, particularly over the first several days after the extraction, but also keep up good practices to encourage healing for about 2 weeks after.
No need to limit too many activities, but a moderate lifestyle and some extra attention to the area of concern will be prudent.
The first question on everyone’s mind is, how does a person eat after they have had teeth removed?
A good dentist will know that if the child is due to have extractions on both sides of the mouth, they will space out appointments.
First you’ll schedule an extraction on one side, then wait for it to heal. Then you can schedule a second appointment to remove teeth from the other side.
This way your child will be able to chew on one side of their mouth in a matter of days after the procedure takes place.
That said, eating will be a bit difficult directly following tooth extraction. So let’s explore that a bit.
What to eat after a tooth extraction
Pureed foods are perfect for the first day, and it’s not that difficult to do.
Keep in mind that if the person was under general anesthesia they may not be ready for dairy, which can aggravate the stomach and cause vomiting for the first half a day or so until the anesthesia wears off.
If you’re not sure, check with your dentist about dairy and how soon it can be consumed. Some recommend ice cream as a soothing option after a tooth extraction, but others say that milk products slow healing.
If the child or adult has not had anesthesia, then it’s probably fine to eat dairy if the person normally can tolerate it.
Smoothies and pureed soups are ideal. You can pack lots of nutrition into a mug or glass and the person does not have to chew or aggravate their jaw.
Here’s a recipe for a fully loaded, pureed smooth soup that will be filling, nutritious, and does not require any chewing work.
It’s only takes maybe 40 minutes at most to make, and you can substitute cauliflower for broccoli if you don’t have it. The veggie puree is the important part.
Easy Broccoli and Cheese Soup Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 cups chicken broth
- 1 pack frozen broccoli
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 potato, diced
- 3 cups shredded cheese such as cheddar
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- Salt and pepper to taste
Start by drizzling some oil into the bottom of a quart saucepan. Add the garlic, potato and carrot pieces. Stir around the pot and saute for a few minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and a little water.
Bring to a boil on medium high heat, then turn down to medium and let simmer for maybe 15 or 20 minutes until the potatoes are cooked. Add in the broccoli, bring to a low boil then turn down and and simmer for about 15 more minutes.
Turn off the heat and let cool a bit. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the whole vegetable pieces along with some of the broth, into a blender. Blend on high until everything is thoroughly pureed.
Repeat this process until you have a smooth, lump-free soup.
Return soup to the pot and pour in some milk. Add shredded cheese and grated parmesan. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer, stirring well until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the soup. Do not leave soup unattended.
This soup is so delicious that you may have trouble not eating it yourself, but the idea was to feed liquid foods to your tooth extraction patient.
So you might want to make double if you’re a fan of pureed soups.
Other perfect foods for people who have just had teeth extracted include things like…
- Mac and cheese
- Blended fruit and yogurt smoothies
- Jello (fun fact, Jello is made of animal bones, it’s basically chilled beef stock with sugar and flavorings. You can make your own using a gelatin packet and some fruit juice if you prefer to avoid food coloring and sugar)
- Plain chicken broth
Probably after a day or two, your dental patient will be able to chew semi-soft foods on one side of their mouth.
You can try offering things like potato and cheese pierogies, ravioli, cottage cheese, applesauce, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, yogurt and such. Minute steaks make a great choice to get some animal based protein.
Also keep in mind that acidic foods might aggravate the wound site, but it really depends. Tomato sauce and tomato soup may not be the best choices for at least a few days.
Pancakes can work for breakfast, you can even soften them in a bit of milk.
Flavored yogurts also work well. Or you can choose plain with your own additions such as mashed banana, nutella, or peanut butter for some extra protein.
Definitely avoid foods that contain little bits, like ground meats and rice. These will lodge into the mouth wound and cause irritation and discomfort.
Other good things to do while someone is recovering from a dental procedure such as a tooth extraction:
Ease off on hard living. This is not the time to run off on a trip or adventure, party all night or do some kind of extreme sport. The person will need rest and routine.
One reason for not going off on a trip is: what happens if the sockets become dry and the person ends up in a lot of pain? Then you have the stress and interruption of having to seek out a dentist far from home.
So it’s important to schedule your child’s dental procedures when there’s not a lot going on.
It’s a good idea to maintain some exercise. It shouldn’t be strenuous or exhausting. But it should be enough to burn off stress and stay active to promote good sleep at night.
So if the patient normally would go for a little run, see how they feel, and if they are up for it that’s great. If not, the run can downgrade to a brisk walk.
If your child has something important coming up, try not to schedule tooth extractions close to the special event.
Something like a recital, public speaking event, or the school play would not be a good time to have just had teeth removed.
Talking in front of a group can be stressful for some people, and certainly when your mouth has been tinkered with you might have trouble forming words and being heard clearly which could detract from the overall experience.
Offer extra care and attention to kids who may face sensory issues. People with autism, sensory processing disorder or any other neurological difference might find this experience stressful or experience a greater level of discomfort.
It’s important to stay calm, maintain the routine, figure out what would make the person feel more comfortable and not create additional worry or stress.
A simple trip to the park for some light exercise, or some time playing with friends, can definitely take a child’s mind off tooth pain.
Half a Tylenol or however much is appropriate for the child’s age and size will also work well after a tooth extraction for a day or two at most. Check the package label for the appropriate dosage.
Hygiene practices after a tooth extraction
A person who has just had teeth removed can certainly take a shower or bath as they normally would. A warm bath will be a soothing way to relax before bed.
For mouth care, they should be extra gentle and careful around the tooth extraction site. Gently rinsing with salt water can promote healing and disinfect the mouth.
It’s important not to swish or use a straw while the blood clot is forming at the site where the tooth was removed. If the clot dislodges, this is known as dry socket as mentioned, and it is very painful.
Can someone who has just had a tooth extraction use toothpaste?
Morning breath might be a reason to opt for toothpaste after a tooth extraction, though it’s not encouraged.
The dental patient who has just had teeth out should go easy on toothpaste for the first day or two, and definitely steer clear of the area where the tooth has been removed.
Slowly and carefully brush the other teeth, and avoid the tooth extraction site. Finish with a gentle salt water rinse. The ratio is about half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, then stir.
It’s a good idea to gently rinse with salt water in the morning and at night before bed. An additional rinse over the course of the day might also be helpful in keeping the mouth clean and promoting healing.
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