Your Guide to Recovery After Getting a Tooth Pulled

Posted March 17, 2020 by in Health + Fitness
Woman with tooth pain

Do you have an upcoming appointment to get one of your teeth extracted? Are you nervous about the recovery process?

While a tooth extraction may seem like a scary procedure, it’s important to know that there are millions of extractions performed each year. In fact, there are approximately 10 million tooth extractions performed each year in the US. 

While recovering from a tooth extraction can take a bit of time, it shouldn’t affect your daily life too much. If you’re asking questions like, “How long after a tooth extraction can I eat?” and “How do I recover from a tooth extraction?”, you’ve come to the right place. 

Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about recovering from a tooth extraction:

How Long After a Tooth Extraction Can I Eat?

Eating and Drinking

One of the biggest questions people have is, “How long after a tooth extraction can I eat?”

Typically, you can start drinking liquids and eating soft foods (think ice cream, pudding, and soup) within a few hours after surgery. However, it’s important to understand that every case is different, and only your oral surgeon can provide you with specific guidelines. Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may be able to eat sooner, or you may have to wait a bit longer. 

Here are some other do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to eating and drinking after an extraction:


  • Remember to stock up on soups, broths, and smoothies, as any liquid is fair game
  • Stick to drinking things at a lukewarm temp, as your teeth may experience temperature sensitivity after surgery
  • Stock up on recovery foods that don’t require chewing such as pudding, ice cream, Jell-O, and yogurt
  • Stick to soft foods when you’re ready to start chewing, such as eggs, pancakes, macaroni, and cheese, or pasta
  • Mashed potatoes can also be great for the first few days, as there are many different ways you can flavor them

This article can also let you know about some of the best food choices after extraction. 


  • Drink from a straw during your recovery, as these can rip out your stitches
  • Drink carbonated beverages, as these can lead to dry sockets
  • Eat crunchy foods like popcorn, chips, nuts, carrots, or broccoli
  • Consume acidic foods or beverages, as these can cause pain and stinging

If you have any questions about certain foods you can eat during your recovery, just ask your doctor. 

Aftercare Timeline 

How you take care of yourself after a tooth extraction will also depend on how many days it has been since your procedure. Here’s a general aftercare timeline you can follow. 

Day 1-2 

Much of the aftercare that goes on the first couple days after the extraction focuses on allowing the blood cot to form as well as general mouthcare. It’s important to know that low-level bleeding within 24 hours of an extraction is completely normal. 

Here are some additional tips to follow for the first 48 hours of your recovery:

  • Get plenty of rest, especially during the first 24 hours of extraction
  • Leave the first gauze in your mouth for at least a few hours so a clot can form
  • After this, change your gauze pads as necessary
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth as well as swishing and gargling
  • Do not spit, as this may dislodge the blood clot
  • Avoid sneezing or blowing your nose, as this can also dislodge your blood clot
  • Take OTC pain relievers as necessary
  • Use cold compresses for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to dull the pain
  • Elevate your head when sleeping so blood doesn’t pool
  • Take any medication that’s recommended by your oral surgeon

By sticking to these tips, your first 48 hours of recovery should go smoothly. 

Days 3 to 10

After the clot forms within the first 48 hours, it’s vital that you implement some other aftercare tips to make sure it stays in place. Here’s what you should do days 3 through 10:

  • Gently rinse your mouth with warm water and a pinch of salt in order to kill bacteria and prevent infections
  • Brush and floss as usual, but avoid the extracted tooth altogether
  • Continue to eat soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing

The rest of your recovery should be smooth if you follow these tips. 

Home Remedies for Pain

The pain that comes with tooth extraction isn’t usually excruciating. However, it can cause some major discomfort, leaving many wondering what they can do to reduce their pain symptoms. 

Most of the time, you won’t receive prescription painkillers for tooth extractions. Therefore, you should take advantage of the following home remedies for pain:

  • Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs: Also known as NSAIDs, these include things such as ibuprofen or naproxen, and they may reduce pain and swelling
  • Ice packs: As we mentioned earlier, applying an ice pack every 10 to 20 minutes can help reduce pain and swelling
  • Saltwater rinses: In addition to killing bacteria, salt water rinses can also help reduce pain and inflammation

If you’re experiencing pain that feels unbearable, you may want to call your doctor or dentist. 

Know When to Call the Dentist 

After your anesthesia wears off, it’s normal to experience some pain as well as residual bleeding. 

However, you should call your dentist if you’re experiencing any of the following:

  • Fevers or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Redness or swelling
  • Excess discharge around the infection site
  • Coughing, chest pain, or shortness of breath
  • Extreme or worsened bleeding

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it could indicate an infection. It’s very important to give your dentist a call before things get worse. 

Now that you know the answer to the question, “How long after a tooth extraction can I eat?” as well as other aftercare information, you should be better prepared for your procedure. 

Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips and tricks for healthy living.