Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure that many people undergo. After the surgery, you will likely have some questions about what you can and cannot do. One of the most common questions is when can you use a straw?
At a minimum dentists recommend that you don’t use a straw until 48 hours after your surgery. Ideally, you start using a straw one whole week after your wisdom tooth extraction. In this article, we will discuss why drinking through a straw after wisdom teeth removal is dangerous and provide other information about life after wisdom teeth removal.
Why is it dangerous to drink through a straw immediately following wisdom teeth removal?
When you suck on a straw, negative pressure is created in your mouth. This negative pressure can cause the blood clot that is protecting your wisdom tooth socket to become dislodged. If this happens, you can develop what is called a dry socket.
A dry socket is a painful condition that can lengthen your healing time and lead to other complications. To avoid developing a dry socket, you should at least wait 48 hours after your extraction before drinking from a straw.
Of course, like all healing, the longer you wait for the area to completely heal the better. The most critical days are those immediately following the surgery. However, there still is a risk of developing a dry socket by day 4. For that reason, we recommend waiting a full week before using a straw.
Other Recommendations to Prevent Dry Socket After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Like using a straw after wisdom teeth removal, there are other activities you should avoid for at least the first few days following surgery.
Not Consuming Alcohol, Carbonated Beverages, or Crunch/Chewy Foods
For the first few days, you should avoid any alcohol, carbonated beverages, or crunchy/chewy foods. Similar to drinking through a straw, these substances can cause the blood clot that forms at the extraction site to become dislodged.
Not Swishing Hard After Brushing Teeth
You should also avoid swishing your mouth with water too vigorously when brushing your teeth after wisdom teeth removal. Doing so can cause the same thing to happen as using a straw or consuming carbonated beverages. Instead of swishing violently, try gently swishing the water and then allowing it to drip out of your mouth for the first few days.
Not Smoking or Vaping
Many studies have suggested a link between smoking after wisdom teeth removal, vaping after wisdom teeth removal, and the development of dry sockets. Smoking dries out your mouth, making it more difficult to heal any type of sore, surgery, or infection. Additionally, the sucking motion itself may cause a blood clot to dislodge. If you smoke cigarettes, try to go without them for at least 2-3 days after your dental operation.
Not Planning Heavy Exercise
Finally, you should avoid engaging in any strenuous activity for at least 24 hours. Heavy exercise can cause an increase in blood pressure which can lead to bleeding and loss of blood clots at the extraction site. If you must exercise, stick to light activity and be sure to listen to your body.
Treatment for Dry Socket Symptoms
If you think you have a dry socket, it’s best to see your dentist right away. Luckily, a dry socket generally heals on its own within 24–72 hours in most cases. The pain associated with dry sockets can linger for up to a week, so treatments typically center around reducing discomfort.
Dental professionals will most likely rinse the socket with saline solution and fill it with medicated gauze to alleviate discomfort and promote healing. The gauze may need to be changed after a few days if the pain persists. Additionally, over-the-counter medications (such as aspirin, Advil/Motrin/ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)) or prescription medicines if necessary are used to manage it.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.