What are wisdom teeth?
According to WebMD, wisdom teeth are “the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties.” They’re called “wisdom teeth” because they come out at the point when a person is older – and as the saying goes, wiser!
A long time ago, humans needed the extra set of molars to help chew and grind food before it could be swallowed. But nowadays, since we use utensils to cut food into smaller pieces and cooking has made food softer and easier to chew, the extra molars are no longer necessary.
Why are wisdom teeth removed?
Humans have evolved to have smaller jaw over time, most probably due to the fact that our brains have gotten bigger and needed more space! Because of this, we don’t have space for wisdom teeth anymore.
Some people actually don’t need their wisdom teeth removed, but most people will need them taken out. Since modern humans have less space in our jaws, wisdom teeth tend to be misaligned and cause a lot of oral problems when they start to erupt.
How are wisdom teeth extracted?
Depending on how much your wisdom teeth have grown, a dentist might be able to do the extraction in their office. But if it’s impacted or grows at an awkward angle, it might be done in an oral surgeon’s clinic. A local anesthetic will be used to numb the area for dental surgery, though sometimes it will be sedation or general anesthesia. Dentists will also usually issue painkillers after to help with any lingering pain.
Don’t stress about this too much – this will usually be an outpatient procedure, meaning you can get right back to your life right after! However, be prepared to deal with a few minor post-surgery issues, such as bleeding, swelling, and pain. Pay attention to your dentist’s aftercare tips to avoid complications like dry socket and infections!
What can I eat after tooth extraction?
Because of the swelling and sensitivity that you’ll experience after wisdom tooth removal, it’s best to stick to foods that don’t need to be chewed. Soft and liquid foods are best! Here are some recovery time food suggestions:
Soft food? Check. Cold food? Check. Ice cream is the perfect post-op food since it doesn’t require chewing, and the coldness will help with pain management! But make sure to avoid flavours like double dutch and rocky road, as these will contain small bits that might get stuck in the extraction site!
A much healthier alternative to ice cream is a bowl of nice, cool yoghurt. This dairy product has a lot of nutritional value, and it’s beneficial to your health in so many different ways! Similar to ice cream though, avoid those that have tiny tidbits (usually fruit bits) that might get stuck! Also, it’s much better to stick to plain yoghurt to maximise their health benefits.
Since whole fruits are a no-no during the recovery period, go for a smoothie! Get your fruit fix by blending your favourites together, and you can even throw in some veggies in there. Smoothies made from fresh fruits and vegetables are also high in vitamins and minerals, making them popular diet food choices!
Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? A good mash is one of the best soft foods to eat when recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction. This is best if you’re a bit further down your recovery since this requires slight chewing. Pair it with butter and gravy for a savoury treat!
Jelly is a fun, jiggly food that kids love! Made from gelatin, it’s soft and doesn’t need chewing! It also has a surprising number of health benefits: it can strengthen bones, improve sleep, and even promote immune response!
Soup is often the first food that comes to mind when it comes to foods related to healing and recovery. Being a liquid, it’s perfect for post-extraction meals! Go for creamy ones that don’t have any big pieces that require chewing. These are great for increasing fibre intake, and can also have plenty of other vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Speaking of excellent sources of fibre, you can’t get much better than oatmeal! Be careful though: oatmeal can be quite sticky and chewy, and can possibly dislodge any clots that need to form in your gums. A trick to make it smoother: put your oats in a food processor to get smaller pieces. Just to be safe, it’s better to avoid oatmeal until at least three days after surgery to avoid any issues.
Choosing what to eat after wisdom teeth removal doesn’t have to be limited to boring, tasteless foods! While you can’t have anything crunchy, spicy, or acidic, there are tons of ways to prepare foods that are ideal for oral surgery recovery! You just have to be creative. And don’t fret – you can get right back to your favourite solid foods as soon as your wounds heal.