3 Foods You Can Eat After a Tooth Extraction

By: Dr. Tracy Provenghi


People don’t often look forward to dental work, but knowing what to expect and planning for your recovery ahead of time can help make the experience more efficient, comfortable, and successful. For patients facing a tooth extraction, it is important to know what foods you can and can’t eat — and for how long. In this blog, you can find useful information from El Paso, TX dentist Dr. Tracy Provenghi and the team at Awesome Smiles on what to eat (and what to avoid) after having a tooth pulled.

When does a tooth need to be pulled?

Whenever possible, Dr. Provenghi recommends attempting to treat and “save” a natural tooth before resorting to tooth extraction. This is in part because the natural tooth root plays an important role in stimulating healthy bone and tissue while also supporting the structural integrity of the face and jaw. There are some situations, however, when a tooth may be compromised beyond repair and will ultimately need to be removed. In other cases, healthy teeth may require extraction due to overcrowding, misalignment, and other spacing issues.

Following a comprehensive consultation and examination, Dr. Provenghi will determine whether you may need a tooth extraction. If so, our team will discuss options for local anesthesia, sedation, and other measures to ensure your comfort during the procedure. Dr. Provenghi will review the details of your treatment, including whether you may need manual extraction with the use of an elevator, surgical extraction, or another course of action.

When will I be able to eat after a tooth extraction?

Most patients don’t have much of an appetite in the first several hours after their tooth extraction, and the lingering effects of the local anesthesia can also make it difficult to eat properly. After the numbing effect has worn off and patients feel like eating, it is usually safe and appropriate to do so, though there are some guidelines to keep in mind. Generally speaking, patients should stick to the following three types of food in order to minimize discomfort and reduce the risk of complications following a tooth extraction:

1. Liquids: In the first 1 – 2 days after a tooth extraction, many patients prefer to stick to a liquid diet to allow any pain, soreness, swelling, and inflammation to subside. Suggested liquids include:

  • Water
  • Sports drinks
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Protein shakes

2. Soft foods: Depending on which tooth or teeth were extracted, it may be difficult to chew normally after your procedure. Furthermore, patients who undergo a surgical extraction may have more discomfort or tenderness associated with an incision in the gumline. Regardless of which type of tooth extraction was performed, patients should stick to soft foods that do not require chewing. These may include jello, pudding, yogurt, and mashed potatoes.

3. Lukewarm foods: Overly hot foods can irritate your healing mouth after a tooth extraction. Soft foods that are traditionally served hot — like mashed potatoes, soup, and oatmeal — should be allowed to cool down to a lukewarm temperature.

On average, patients typically return to the majority of their normal diet about 1 – 2 weeks following the extraction of a tooth, but this can vary depending on what other treatments may have been performed, the patient’s overall oral and dental health, whether a dental implant was or will be placed, and other factors.

Facing a tooth extraction in El Paso, TX? Plan ahead!

By understanding how you may need to adjust your diet and other routines, you can plan ahead for your tooth extraction and avoid any uncomfortable surprises or complications. For more information on your options for tooth extractions and other general dentistry services in El Paso, TX, call Awesome Smiles to schedule your consultation and dental exam with Tracy Provenghi, D.D.S. today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.