The lead-up toward major dental surgery can be nerve-wracking on its own, but add in the thought of recovering, and it’s understandable that many people experience anxiety over it. Serious dental surgery, such as tooth extractions, wisdom teeth removal, and implants, will require a period of recovery where you can’t use your mouth the same way that you’re used to.
While uncomfortable, this is important if you want your mouth to heal the way it should. That’s not to mention that straining yourself to use your mouth in a way that you shouldn’t during recovery often results in unnecessary pain.
Eating is a valid concern for people undergoing major dental procedures. Unless a procedure involves a recovery process where you physically can’t open your mouth, you can still eat food as long as you’re careful about what you choose. But what soft foods can you eat after dental surgery? We’ll let you know and give you a few extra tips on what you should do to ensure a speedy recovery.
Food You Can Safely Eat After Surgery
Unsurprisingly, all the food that you should eat during your dental surgery recovery period is food that either doesn’t require chewing and breaks down easily with light pressure. Some people feel tempted to drastically reduce how much they eat or avoid eating at all while they recover. However, we highly recommend that you don’t do this. Your body needs this food for energy, as it will expend quite a bit of its reserves to heal from the surgery. Here are a few examples of what you can eat throughout the day to keep you going without agitating your mouth.
- Apple sauce
- Fruit (soft only)
A lot of the common items that people eat for breakfast are still on the table for you even after you recover. Remember that you should stick to easy-to-chew fruit, such as bananas, blueberries, or raspberries. Fruit that requires more chewing power, such as melon or cantaloupe, can hurt you if you aren’t careful. Avoid crunchy cereals and switch to oatmeal without any solid additives, like dried fruit.
- Mac and cheese
You’ll need to be a little more careful with lunch foods since a lot of common staples aren’t suitable for someone recovering from dental surgery. Soup is an excellent option for something that you don’t need to chew at all. Mac and cheese can be a great comfort food if you need something with a bit more substance to it. Smoothies are also a good choice, but leave some ingredients, such as seeds or nuts, out of the mix.
- Spaghetti dishes
- Vegetables (cooked or steamed)
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream or milkshakes (with a spoon, not a straw)
As far as soft foods you can eat after dental surgery go, you have a lot of options for dinner. All of the above options can be hearty meals that don’t put pressure on your jaw, gums, or teeth. Make sure that you cook everything thoroughly, especially harder vegetables, so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises as you eat.
Feel free to have dessert as well (you did just have surgery, after all), but continue to ensure that it’s completely smooth with no chunks that you’ll have to chew. Both milkshakes and smoothies are great options. However, avoid using a straw at all costs, as this could affect healing.
Other Important Post-Surgery Tips
While deciding on the food to eat can seem pretty easy once you know what to look for, there are a few other elements to keep in mind that can make your recovery go a little smoother. All these tips prevent any additional pain and prevent anything from harming your mouth as it recovers.
Drink a Lot of Water
Water is a huge part of your recovery process. Even if you drink a decent amount of water regularly, it can help to start drinking even more. If you don’t drink a lot of water each day, you’ll want to start. Hydration is important for letting your body heal itself at a faster rate. It’s a good idea, especially early on, to drink water that isn’t at the extreme of either temperature. Both very hot and very cold water can irritate your wounds, so it’s best to stick to slightly chilled or warm water instead.
How To Avoid Pain and Swelling
Try to keep your head elevated while sleeping or laying down. If your doctor prescribed any medications, take them rigorously as directed. Neglecting to do so can cause pain and discomfort because now you are behind on taking your given medication. Ibuprofen is great for inflammation. If you don’t take ibuprofen, inflammation can and will cause pain.
Rinse Your Mouth Gently
This helps remove bacteria that you don’t want around your wounds and can ease your suffering a little bit at a time. However, ensure you rinse gently. If you go too hard with the rinsing, you can end up hurting yourself.
Avoid Irritating Food and Drink
Both for your long-term healing and your short-term pain, there are a few things you will want to avoid entirely. Anything overly spicy is not a good idea when you’re recovering. Your gums are likely extra sensitive after surgery, and spicy food can inflame them, causing discomfort.
This is also the case with acidic foods, which have a similar effect. As we mentioned before, you will need to be careful with hot beverages, but that isn’t the only kind of drink to be wary of. You should avoid both alcoholic beverages and carbonated beverages in general.
At the Engel Dental Center, we want you to feel prepared if you need to have dental surgery. Making you feel comfortable and reducing your anxiety about the procedure is our top priority. Whether it’s a root canal or full teeth reconstruction surgery, your health is our main concern! Give us a call today to start exploring your options for a healthier mouth.