How long before you can eat after a tooth extraction?

If you’ve just had a tooth extracted, one of the first things you’ll want to know is when you can eat again. The answer depends on a few factors, including the type of extraction you had and your personal healing ability.

Quick answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about eating after a tooth extraction:

  • For simple extractions, you should wait 24 hours before eating solid foods.
  • For surgical extractions, you may need to wait 72 hours or longer before eating solid foods.
  • Start with liquids and soft foods like yogurt, apple sauce, and soup.
  • Avoid very hot or spicy foods that could irritate the extraction site.
  • Don’t use a straw, as the suction can dislodge the blood clot.
  • Take care when chewing on the side where the tooth was extracted.

Why you need to wait before eating

After a tooth is removed, a blood clot will form in the empty tooth socket. This blood clot is an important part of the healing process. It protects the bone and nerves underneath from damage and infection. If you eat too soon after having a tooth pulled, you can risk dislodging the blood clot before it has fully formed. This can lead to a painful complication called dry socket.

Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes dislodged prematurely, exposing the bone and nerves. This can cause severe throbbing pain that lasts for several days. To avoid dry socket, it’s critical to be very gentle with the extraction site for at least the first 24 hours. That means no eating, drinking through a straw, vigorous rinsing or spitting, smoking, or any other activities that could jostle the blood clot.

Healing timelines

Most dentists recommend waiting at least 24 hours before eating solid foods after a simple tooth extraction. A simple extraction is when the tooth is visible in the mouth and can be easily removed. More complex extractions may require waiting longer. Here are some general timelines for different extraction types:

Simple extraction

  • First 24 hours: Liquids only.
  • 24-48 hours: Soft foods like yogurt, applesauce, soups.
  • After 48 hours: Resume normal diet, but take care chewing on the side where the tooth was removed.

Surgical extraction

A surgical extraction is required for teeth that are broken off at the gum line or have not fully come in. It involves cutting into the gums to access and remove the tooth or tooth fragments. This leads to more extensive damage to the bone and soft tissues.

  • First 24 hours: Liquids only.
  • 24-72 hours: Soft foods like yogurt, applesauce.
  • 3-7 days: Soft foods that require gentle chewing like scrambled eggs, pasta.
  • After 1 week: Resume normal diet, taking care on the affected side.

Extraction of impacted wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth extractions are very common. These teeth become impacted when they only partially erupt or don’t have enough room to fully emerge. Removing them requires cutting away gum tissue and bone.

  • First 24 hours: Liquids only.
  • 24-48 hours: Soft foods like yogurt, oatmeal, mashed potatoes.
  • 3-5 days: Soft foods that require gentle chewing.
  • 1-2 weeks: Resume regular diet once healing allows.

What you can eat

Following an extraction, stick with liquids for the first 24 hours. Water, tea, clear broths, and juices are good options. Avoid carbonated drinks or alcoholic beverages, as they can irritate the wound.

After the first day, you can gradually add soft foods back into your diet. Try the following:

  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Cooked cereals like oatmeal, Cream of Wheat
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Jello
  • Puddings
  • Ice cream, milkshakes
  • Pureed soups and stews
  • Custards
  • Protein shakes

Focus on soft, nutrient-rich foods that won’t irritate the healing socket. The key is to choose foods that require little to no chewing. As you recover over several days, you can gradually add in foods that need gentle chewing like eggs, pasta, ground meats, bananas, and cooked veggies.

Foods to avoid

Until the extraction site has had time to heal, you’ll want to avoid certain foods that could potentially dislodge the blood clot.

  • Hard, crunchy, chewy foods: Items like nuts, popcorn, raw veggies, pizza crust.
  • Spicy foods: Chili, tacos, and other dishes with hot spices can irritate the sensitive extraction wound.
  • Sticky, sugary foods: Candy, chocolate, pastries can stick to the wound.
  • Seeds and grains: Foods like rice, quinoa, and bread with seeds can get lodged in the socket.
  • Alcohol: Best to avoid for a few days as it can interact with pain medication and irritate tissues.

Tips for eating after an extraction

Once you start eating solid foods again after a tooth extraction, follow these tips to allow proper healing:

  • Take small bites and chew slowly and gently, especially on the affected side.
  • Cut foods into tiny pieces to minimize chewing.
  • Avoid very hot foods or drinks that could irritate tissues.
  • Be careful drinking through a straw, as this creates suction that can dislodge the clot.
  • Stay hydrated by sipping cool water after taking pain meds.
  • Rinse with warm salt water after eating to keep the area clean.
  • Take any prescribed antibiotics until gone to prevent infection.
  • See your dentist promptly if you experience severe pain, swelling, or fever.

Special considerations

People with certain medical conditions may need to take extra precautions when eating after having a tooth removed.


Those with diabetes are at increased risk of developing infections. Careful eating and maintaining stable blood sugar levels is important after an extraction. Focus on smoothies, shakes, and pureed foods to avoid chewing and stabilize blood sugar.

Immune disorders

Individuals with weakened immune systems should be vigilant about potential infections after an extraction. Stick to a liquid diet for several days before carefully transitioning to soft foods. Seek prompt care for any signs of infection.


People taking blood thinners may bleed more during and after an extraction. Their dentist may recommend pausing medications or supplementary treatments to help clotting. Soft foods that won’t dislodge the clot are essential.


Hormonal changes make infections more likely during pregnancy. Waiting longer to eat solid foods reduces this risk. Staying well-hydrated and getting adequate nutrition for mom and baby is key.

Signs of problems

Call your dentist if you experience any of the following after a tooth extraction:

  • Severe or worsening pain that medication does not relieve
  • Excessive bleeding that does not subside
  • Bad taste or odor coming from the extraction site
  • Visible bone fragments in the socket
  • Fever of 101 F (38 C) or higher
  • Nausea, vomiting, chills or swelling
  • Numbness or tingling around the mouth, chin or tongue
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

These may be signs of a complication like dry socket, infection, or nerve injury. Prompt dental treatment is needed to prevent the problem from worsening.


healing after a tooth extraction takes time. While you may be eager to get back to eating normally, it’s crucial to wait until the extraction site has begun healing to avoid painful complications. Take things slow by starting with liquids and smoothly transitioning from soft foods back to regular foods over several days. With a little patience and care, you’ll be enjoying corn on the cob again in no time!

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