Getting a tooth pulled isn’t most people’s idea of a fun time. Very few people would blame you for wanting to relax with a beer after the procedure. However, if you want to have a smooth and speedy recovery, you shouldn’t go reaching for the alcohol cabinet just yet. Why is that? Keep reading as an emergency dentist in Colorado Springs explains whether it’s safe to drink alcohol after a tooth extraction.
Can I Drink Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction?
Unfortunately, most dentists will recommend abstaining from alcohol after you have a tooth pulled. Once a tooth is removed, a blood clot must form over the extraction site in order for your mouth to heal properly. This process can take about a week. If the blood is unable to clot, or if the clot is dislodged prematurely, you could get a painful condition called dry socket.
Not only does dry socket hurt, but it also leaves the nerves and bones near the extraction site vulnerable to bacterial infection, ultimately slowing down your healing process. You may end up having to schedule more follow-up appointments with your dentist in addition to feeling pain radiate through your mouth and even the rest of your face.
How Soon After a Tooth Extraction Can I Drink Alcohol?
Generally, it’s best to avoid alcohol after an extraction for as long as your dentist suggests. That’s usually at least 72 hours. Just to be on the safe side, though, you may want to wait seven to 10 days for the blood clot to fully form and the extraction site to finish healing.
During that time, drink water instead. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the healing process. However, remember to NOT drink through a straw, as that could dislodge the blood clot and cause dry socket.
Other Tips for a Smooth Recovery
In addition to refraining from drinking alcohol, here are some more post-op tips for a quick and easy recover after a tooth extraction:
- Avoid strenuous physical activity for at least the first 72 hours.
- When lying down, raise your head slightly.
- Leave the gauze that your dentist put over the extraction site in place for a few hours to encourage a blood clot to form. Afterward, change it as often as needed.
- Take all medications, including painkillers and antibiotics, as directed.
- Do not rinse or spit too vigorously.
- Hold an ice pack to your cheek in 10-minute intervals to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Avoid using straws for the first 48 hours.
- Do not use tobacco products for at least three days.
As tempting as it may be to unwind with a bottle of beer or a glass of wine after your tooth extraction, it’s best to avoid it. By following the steps listed above, and the aftercare guidelines provided by your dentist, your mouth will be fully healed before you know it. Then, you can celebrate with a toast to your healthy smile!
About the Author
Dr. Kenneth Gasper II obtained his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Louisiana State University School of Dentistry. In his 30+ years of experience as a general and emergency dentist in Colorado Springs, he has trained extensively in many areas of dentistry, including tooth extractions. He’ll make sure your procedure and recovery go swimmingly. To learn more about making a smooth recovery after a tooth extraction, you can contact his office at (719) 599-0700 or visit his website.