How Long Until You Can Drink Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction
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Table of Contents
- Drinking After Tooth Extraction
- Dry Socket
- Pain Medication & Alcohol
- Other Foods & Drinks to Avoid
- What to Drink in Place of Alcohol
- Post-Op Tips
Getting a tooth pulled, or extracted, constitutes a major dental surgery. In the aftermath, a dentist will almost certainly prescribe pain medication for the immediate recovery period.
Given that — plus the newly opened hole in your mouth — dentists recommend you not consume alcoholic beverages for at least 72 hours following the procedure. Dentists prefer a seven to 10 days of abstinence.
Alcohol and pain medication are a dangerous combination. Plus, alcohol does nothing to help your mouth heal.
Drinking Alcohol after a Tooth Extraction
Despite the many advancements in dental technology and sedation dentistry, tooth extraction is still a stressful experience, and no one can blame you for wanting to have a drink afterward.
As with every surgical procedure, you need to give the affected area and the body, in general, some time and proper care to heal properly.
Tooth extraction is a dental procedure that involves the removal of a tooth from its socket in the bone because of an infection, injury or to make room for orthodontic treatment. As with every dental procedure, dentists will often advise patients to avoid certain foods such as sticky or hard-to-bite food items and drinks such as alcohol to prevent infection and promote healing.
Alcohol Can Cause a Dry Socket
Once a tooth is removed, a blood clot needs to form over the extraction site so your mouth can heal properly. The clot shields nerves and stops bacteria from forming. The clot can take up to a week to form fully.
Drinking alcohol thins the blood, which can prevent your blood cells from bonding quickly and forming the clot. If the blood clot does not form or if the clot is dislodged prematurely, you could end up with a painful condition known as dry socket.
In addition to being excoriatingly painful, a dry socket also leaves the bones and nerves near the extraction site vulnerable to bacterial infection, which further slows down your healing process. A dry socket can also cause more complications that require follow-up appointments.
Mixing Alcohol and Pain Medication Can Be Dangerous
You almost certainly will experience some pain and discomfort after having a tooth pulled. Your dentist might prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the-counter painkillers to provide some comfort and relief after the procedure.
Mixing alcohol with pain medication can have some serious effects on the body, including impaired motor function, liver failure and dizziness. Ideally, you want to stay away from alcoholic drinks until you finish all your painkillers.
Doctors advise that you complete your dosage of pain meds starting to drink alcohol again. You must give your body enough time to recuperate and rest before visiting your local drinking joint.
Whether you undergo a simple or surgical tooth extraction, the process is not without risks. Drinking alcohol after tooth extraction will slow down your recovery and may also cause a dry socket, infection, and pain. For this reason, it's advisable not to drink alcohol until granulation tissue forms in the affected area so it can heal properly.
Alcohol can thin your blood, making it hard for the blood to clot. Thinning of blood can make you bleed profusely after the foot extraction.
Alcohol can also lead to an infection because it will leave your bones and nerves exposed. Alcohol also leads to dehydration, making speedy and healthy recovery hard to achieve.
Other Foods/Beverages to Avoid After Tooth Extraction
Following a tooth extraction, it is best to avoid eating hard, chewy, crunchy, brittle foods like nuts, chips, and popcorn. You might also want to stay away from sticky items like chewing gum or tough cuts of meat which can dislodge the blood clot.
It is also best to avoid acidic and spicy foods for a week or so.
With beverages, avoid drinking hot liquids such as tea or coffee for the first few days, as they can worsen the swelling and slow down recovery. Avoid drinking water with a straw or smoking as it can dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket.
What to Drink in Place of Alcohol
Your primary drink after a tooth extraction should be water, but you can enjoy other beverages as you wait for your wound to heal. They include:
- Milk (flavored and unflavored)
- Strained smoothies (smoothies with no seeds or tiny seeds that can't affect the wound)
- Ginger ale
- Apple and other non-acidic juices
Avoid acidic beverages such as lemonade, orange juice, grapefruit juice and vinegar-based drinks. Also stay away from beverages with too much sugar.
Post-Op Tips for a Smooth Recovery
In addition to refraining from drinking beer, wine and alcohol following a tooth extraction, here are more tips for a quick and smooth recovery:
- Rest for at least 24 hours after your tooth extraction.
- When lying down, raise your head slightly.
- Bite on the gauze provided by the dentist for a few hours after the procedure to allow a blood clot to form, then change it as needed.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, clear juices, or milk, for soothing effects.
- Don’t use a straw to drink for at least 24 hours.
- Maintain your oral hygiene routine but be as gentle as possible.
- Avoid rinsing your mouth vigorously to prevent dislodging the clot.
- Apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth near the surgical site to reduce pain, swelling and bruising.
- Eat nutritious soft foods to promote healing.
- Avoid spitting vigorously for at least 24 hours.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco for at least three days.
- Take all medications, including painkillers and antibiotics, as directed.
If you experience any severe symptoms such as vomiting, heavy bleeding or severe pain, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
As tempting as it might be to grab a bottle of beer or a glass of wine or whisky to unwind after your tooth extraction, it is in your best interests to avoid it for at least 72 hours, if not seven to 10 days. It is important to ensure that you give the body enough time and care to heal before you can safely indulge.
Your dentist will also be on hand to answer all your questions regarding the procedure and provide the necessary aftercare precautions.
Reasons for Tooth Extractions and Related Risk Factors in Adult Patients: A Cohort Study. (April 2020). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Systemic Review of Dry Socket: Aetiology, Treatment, and Prevention. (April 2005). Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Reserach.
Can I drink alcohol if I'm taking painkillers? (January 2020). The National Health Service.
New Statistics Show Tooth Extraction Number One Hospital Procedure for 5 – 9-Year-Olds. (November 2016). Royal College of Surgeons of England.
Why Is It That Eating Spicy, “Hot” Food Causes the Same Physical Reactions as Does Physical Heat (Burning and Sweating, for Instance). (October 1999). Scientific American.