How long after tooth extraction can I eat pizza?

Getting a tooth extracted can be an uncomfortable experience. After the tooth is removed, the extraction site will be sore and sensitive for some time as it heals. This can make eating many foods difficult or even painful in the days following the extraction. Pizza, with its crispy crust and gooey cheese, may seem like an especially daunting food to eat after a tooth extraction. So how long should you wait before eating pizza after a tooth is pulled?

When can I eat solid foods after a tooth extraction?

Most dentists recommend sticking to a soft food diet for at least 24-48 hours after a tooth extraction. This means avoiding hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that could irritate the extraction site. Foods like apples, chips, nuts, popcorn should be avoided. Soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs are gentle on the extraction site while it starts healing. After 24-48 hours, you can gradually begin reintroducing more solid foods as long as they are not too crunchy or spicy.

When can I eat pizza after a tooth extraction?

Here are some general guidelines for when it is safe to eat pizza after a tooth extraction:

  • 24 hours after the extraction: Eat soft, cooled pizza with the crusts removed. Avoid spicy pizza or toppings.
  • 2-3 days after: Softer pizza can be tolerated but take small bites and chew carefully on the side opposite the extraction site.
  • 1 week after: Pizza should be manageable if you slice or tear it into smaller pieces before eating.
  • 2 weeks after: The extraction site is likely healed enough to eat pizza normally.

The most important factor is to listen to your body and avoid eating any foods that cause pain or discomfort at the extraction site. If regular pizza is still too bothersome 1-2 weeks after the procedure, stick with softer foods and try again after a couple more days. The tissues need time to mend after a tooth extraction, so patience is key.

Tips for eating after a tooth extraction

Follow these tips to make eating pizza and other foods more comfortable and safe after a tooth extraction:

  • Stick to softer foods for at least 24-48 hours.
  • Avoid extremely hot or spicy foods which can irritate the area.
  • Cut foods into smaller pieces to make chewing easier.
  • Chew slowly and carefully, avoiding pressure on the extraction site.
  • Try to chew on the opposite side from where the tooth was removed.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water after eating to keep the area clean.
  • Take any prescribed medications as directed to manage pain and swelling.

Be sure to see your dentist if you experience increasing pain, bleeding, or other complications after an extraction. With proper care, the extraction site should heal within a couple weeks.

Foods to avoid after tooth extraction

Some foods are too hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky, or acidic to eat immediately after a tooth extraction. Avoid the following foods for at least 1-2 weeks after the procedure or until comfortable:

  • Hard or crusty breads
  • Pizza crust or toppings like pepperoni
  • Tough meats like steak
  • Raw vegetables and salads
  • Crunchy raw fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots
  • Hard candies and mints
  • Chewy candies like taffy, licorice, gum
  • Popcorn and chips
  • Sticky foods like peanut butter
  • Spicy foods like hot sauce, chili, curry
  • Acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomato sauce
  • Alcohol and carbonated beverages

Stick with soft, bland foods as you transition back to your regular diet. Things like protein shakes, smoothies, yogurt, eggs, well-cooked vegetables, soups, bread soaked in milk are gentle options after an extraction.

How to eat pizza after a tooth extraction

Once the extraction site has begun healing and you feel ready to try pizza, here are some tips:

  • Start with a small slice or portion
  • Choose a softer crust without tough crunchy edges
  • Ask for well-done or lightly browned pizza
  • Remove any hard or chewy toppings
  • Cut or tear the pizza into small pieces
  • Take small bites and chew slowly
  • Swish water or a saltwater rinse after eating

You may also want to consider ordering a thinner, softer crust like hand-tossed pizza instead of deep dish or a crispy thin crust. Request lots of cheese and go easy on the meats and vegetables if they will be difficult to chew.

Foods that are safe to eat after a tooth extraction

Here are some good food choices as your mouth heals after a tooth extraction:

  • Soft cooked eggs like scrambled, poached, boiled
  • Well-cooked rice, quinoa, oatmeal
  • Mashed or baked potatoes
  • Smoothies and protein shakes
  • Broth-based soups
  • Tender cooked vegetables like carrots, green beans, squash
  • Soft fresh fruits like bananas, melons, peeled apples
  • Cottage cheese, yogurt
  • Milkshakes, smoothies
  • Macaroni and cheese, pasta
  • Jello, ice cream, pudding

Focus on cool, smooth foods that can be eaten without extensive chewing. Don’t forget to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water, milk, and juices.

How long does tooth extraction healing take?

The sockets and gum tissue typically heal within 2-4 weeks after a tooth extraction. However, the entire healing process takes about 3-6 months as the bone reforms around the extraction site. Timelines can vary based on:

  • Type of tooth extracted – Molars may take longer to heal than other teeth
  • Trauma during extraction – More complicated procedures increase healing time
  • Overall health – Conditions like diabetes slow healing
  • Medications – Some drugs like steroids impair healing
  • Habits – Smoking impairs circulation needed for healing
  • Protection of area – Failure to keep area clean and protected

You should notice gradual improvements in pain and discomfort each week after the extraction. Eating and drinking should become easier as the tissues mend. Swelling and bruising may persist for up to 2 weeks. See your dentist promptly if you have any concerns about persistent pain, bleeding, or other complications.

Signs of normal healing after tooth extraction

Expect the following as normal parts of the healing process during the first 2 weeks:

  • Mild to moderate pain and tenderness at extraction site
  • Swelling around mouth and cheeks
  • Jaw stiffness and difficulty opening mouth fully
  • Small amounts of pink or red tinged saliva
  • Numbness lasting a few hours up to several days
  • Slight bruising around the affected area
  • A bad taste or breath odor for a few days

The pain and discomfort should gradually improve with time, not worsen. Avoid spitting, swishing, drinking with a straw, or anything else that creates suction in the mouth which could disrupt the clot.

Red flags to watch for after a tooth extraction

Contact your dentist right away if you experience any of the following which may indicate a complication:

  • Severe throbbing pain that worsens with time
  • Fever or chills
  • Continuous bleeding from the socket
  • Pus or bad smell from the socket
  • Increased facial swelling after 3-4 days
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Numbness or tingling that doesn’t go away

These could be signs of a serious problem like an infection (dry socket), abscess, or nerve injury. Prompt medical care is needed to treat any complications and get the healing process back on track.

Pain management after a tooth extraction

After an extraction, you can expect some level of pain and discomfort in the hours and days afterwards as the nerves heal. Keep the following tips in mind to help manage pain and swelling:

  • Take any prescribed pain medications as directed by your dentist. Over-the-counter options like ibuprofen may also help.
  • Apply an ice pack to the outside of your cheek for 10-20 minutes at a time to reduce swelling.
  • Rinse your mouth very gently with warm salt water after meals.
  • Get ample rest and avoid strenuous activities that can raise your blood pressure.
  • Sleep with your head elevated on pillows to reduce swelling.
  • Eat soft, cool foods.
  • Avoid carbonated and alcoholic drinks.
  • Abstain from smoking which can delay healing.

See your dentist if pain medications do not seem to be helping manage discomfort. Severe pain that worsens warrants immediate attention to rule out complications.

Bleeding after tooth extraction: Is it normal?

Some minor bleeding and “oozing” is normal after an extraction as the socket will fill with blood during the clotting process. However, continuous heavy bleeding that doesn’t subside with pressure or causes choking/breathing issues constitutes an emergency. Seek immediate help or call 911 if you experience:

  • Bleeding that doesn’t stop when biting on gauze for 45-60 minutes
  • Bleeding that is still ongoing several hours later
  • Vomiting or coughing up large quantities of blood
  • Clots that are dark red and the size of a quarter or larger
  • Very foul mouth odor if the bleeding is due to a torn blood vessel

Lighter bleeding and pink or blood-tinged saliva are normal the first 24 hours as the clot forms and stabilizes. But excessive loss of blood can be dangerous. Stay calm, sit upright, and get prompt help if bleeding seems severe.

Does a tooth extraction require stitches?

Stitches are not always necessary after a simple, uncomplicated tooth extraction. However, some situations where stitches (sutures) may be used include:

  • Extraction of broken down tooth fragments
  • Significant gum tissue removal needed to access the tooth
  • Large sockets after removal of molars or impacted teeth
  • Tooth extraction along with a biopsy
  • Extraction of multiple teeth
  • Patients at risk of poor healing due to medications or health issues
  • Cases where gums detach or tear during the procedure

Most of the time, stitches are reabsorbable and do not need to be removed later. But non-dissolvable stitches may be used that require follow-up to be taken out once the gums have healed, usually in 7-10 days. Stitches can aid the healing process and hold gum tissue in place for optimum healing after more invasive extractions.

How to know if a tooth extraction is healing properly

Signs that a tooth extraction is healing normally include:

  • Decreasing pain and swelling over time
  • No fever greater than 101 F
  • Only minor seepage of blood or fluid from the socket
  • No foul odor coming from the clot site
  • Gums and cheek skin remain pink, not red, and do not feel hot
  • No chills, nausea, or vomiting
  • Able to drink liquids and gradually transition to soft foods
  • Any numbness or tingling dissipates within a week

See your dentist promptly if pain gets worse or other abnormal symptoms arise. Monitor the area closely and avoid dislodging the clot. With proper care, the socket should begin to fill in over the following weeks as healing progresses.

Salt water rinse for tooth extraction holes

Gently rinsing with warm salt water is recommended starting 24 hours after having a tooth pulled. A saltwater rinse helps keep the socket clean and promotes healing. Use this recipe:

  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8 ounce glass of warm (not hot) water. Stir until the salt dissolves.
  • Take a small sip and swish it very gently around the extraction site.
  • Spit the water out without spitting or swishing forcefully.
  • Repeat with the rest of the glass, taking small gentle sips and swishes.
  • Do saltwater rinses 2-3 times per day, especially after eating.

The salt draws out fluid, keeps the area clean, and promotes healing. Avoid vigorous swishing that can disrupt the clot. Over-the-counter antiseptic mouthwashes can also be used as long as they do not contain alcohol which dries out the socket.


Healing after a tooth extraction takes time and care. While each case is unique, most simple extractions should heal within 3-4 weeks as long as proper post-operative care guidelines are followed. Sticking to a soft food diet, keeping the area clean, taking medications as directed, and visiting your dentist for follow up can all help ensure you have an uneventful recovery process. Be patient, listen to your body, and gradually work your way back up to your normal diet – including pizza! – as the area heals. With proper care, you should be back to eating your favorite foods comfortably soon.

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