Having your wisdom teeth removed temporarily changes aspects of your daily life while you recover. There are certain things you cannot do, should not do, and should do while healing.
One of the things you should not do is drink from straws. Drinking from a straw while recovering from surgery can wreak havoc on your oral health and cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Here’s why.
Wisdom Teeth and Blood Clots
When teeth are removed, blood clots form as a protective layer to guard the nerve endings and underlying bone located in the empty tooth socket. The clots immediately start forming following surgery to help stop bleeding and continue to form for the next 24 hours.
In addition to protecting your sockets, the blood clots act as a foundation to help new bone and soft tissue grow and develop over the clots. These clots start to shrink after about a week or so following surgery. So long as the blood clot remains undisturbed, the healing process after wisdom teeth removal should be successful.
Dry Socket: Why You Shouldn’t Use Straws
If, however, the blood clot was removed from the site of surgery, you could develop dry socket, a painful condition that leaves your nerves and underlying bone exposed and inflamed. Additionally, the reopened wound would be susceptible to debris from food, which worsens the pain and inflammation and can lead to infection. This is why you should avoid anything that could dislodge your blood clots after wisdom teeth removal surgery, like drinking from a straw. One of the ways blood clots become dislodged following tooth removal (be it wisdom teeth or otherwise) is from pressurizing the mouth. When you drink through a straw, you create pressure in your mouth in order to drink. This suction is strong enough to dislodge your blood clots, so you cannot use straws when recovering from tooth removal surgery.
Other Ways to Avoid Dry Socket
If you smoke or vape, you should avoid doing so while recovering from wisdom teeth removal surgery. Not only does smoking and vaping also create enough pressure to dislodge blood clots, but nicotine products also harm your body’s ability to heal after surgery.
You should also eat soft foods, especially in the first few days following surgery. Examples of soft foods include bananas, mashed potatoes, and applesauce. Avoid crunchy and hard foods until your doctor tells you it’s okay. Otherwise, these tougher foods may crack into and dislodge the blood clot.
You should also practice proper hygiene by following the specified instructions you are given on how to care for your mouth following surgery.
Learn More About Safe Wisdom Teeth Removal
If you need to remove your wisdom teeth, it’s natural to feel nervous about the procedure. One of the best ways to mitigate anxiety is to have your extraction performed by a qualified, compassionate oral surgeon.
Our team of specialists at Mercer Island Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery offers dedicated wisdom teeth removal surgery to residents of Mercer Island and the surrounding areas. Learn more about wisdom tooth extraction today.