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Can You Drink Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction?

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You shouldn’t drink alcohol after a wisdom teeth removal because it can adversely affect healing time. 

After removing your wisdom tooth, a blood clot must develop in the extraction area until granulation tissue forms. This can take a week or longer.

If the blood cannot clot, you could develop a dry socket. This is a painful condition that slows your recovery process. In addition, some people have underlying medical problems or take medications that may prolong this process. 

A dry socket may require additional follow-up visits with your doctor or dental professional. It can also leave you in extreme discomfort and pain spreading from your mouth and throughout your face. 

Drinking alcohol following wisdom teeth removal can also lead to other adverse effects, such as a weakened immune system. 

Dangers of Drinking Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction

There are various dangers and risks of drinking alcohol following tooth extraction surgery:

Dry Socket

Drinking alcohol after surgery, such as tooth extraction, can cause a dry socket. Your body must develop a blood clot at the extraction site for a quick and healthy recovery following a tooth extraction. If the blood clot does not form or is dislodged, you may develop a dry socket.4

A dry socket is a painful condition that slows the healing process. Drinking alcoholic beverages like beer or wine following a tooth extraction can disturb the blood clot. This can increase the chances of dry socket development, leading to slower recovery and other complications.

Adverse Effects of Anesthesia

Following wisdom tooth extraction, your body will still be under anesthetic effect. Drinking alcohol can increase dizziness. Because of this, dentists typically recommend personal supervision for a minimum of 24 hours following the surgical appointment.

Bad Combination with Pain Medication

Pain and discomfort are expected following tooth removal. Your dentist may prescribe some pain medicine for comfort. 

Alcohol and pain relievers don’t combine well and can cause dizziness and liver damage. This is whether you use prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers.

Weakened Immune System

Your immune system must work at its best for tissue regeneration over the wound. 

However, alcohol consumption can damage your immune system and weaken it. Drinking alcohol may delay healing and make the wound more susceptible to infections.

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How Soon After Surgery Can You Drink Alcohol? 

It’s best to avoid drinking alcohol post wisdom teeth removal surgery for as long as your dentist or oral surgeon recommends.

You shouldn't drink alcohol for at least 48 hours following wisdom tooth removal. However, a common recommendation is to wait around 7 to 10 days while the wound heals. 

Consider any medicines you are taking for pain before drinking alcohol as well. Mixing pain relief medications with alcohol is dangerous and can cause negative effects. 

It’s best to wait until you no longer need pain relief medications before drinking alcohol. If you're craving alcohol after surgery, here are some useful resources to help.

Other Things to Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Here are some more things you should avoid after wisdom teeth removal.

Acidic Drinks

Avoid drinking acidic drinks for at least a week after surgery. Consuming drinks rich in citric acid after oral surgery is like placing lemon juice on an open wound. 

Acidic drinks such as lemonade and orange juice will irritate the extracted site. These drinks may lead to infection.

Smoking

Smoking can disturb the blood clot and healing process. It can also cause dry sockets. The suction from smoking can draw out the blood clot and prevent it from forming. 

Hot Drinks

Hot drinks like coffee and tea can disturb the area and delay healing. They can also prevent blood clot formation and dislodge a newly-formed blood clot.

It’s best to drink iced drinks for the first 24 hours post-surgery. Wait for at least 48 before drinking hot drinks.

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What Can You Drink After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Staying hydrated is essential during the healing process, so drink plenty of water.

You can also drink various flavored drinks without a problem. 

For example, you can drink:

  • Milkshakes
  • Apple juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Smoothies
  • Gatorade
  • Water

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Other Tips for a Smooth Recovery

Aside from avoiding alcohol consumption, here are some post-op tips for a quick and easy recovery following wisdom tooth extraction. 

  • Avoid strenuous physical activity for the first 72 hours at least
  • When lying down, raise your head slightly
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Leave the gauze that your dentist or surgeon put over the extraction site in place for a few hours to promote blood clot formation and change it often
  • Take all medications, such as painkillers and antibiotics, as directed by your doctor
  • Don’t spit or rinse too vigorously
  • Set an ice pack to your cheek in 10-minute intervals to reduce swelling and discomfort
  • Avoid using a straw for the first 48 hours
  • Don’t use tobacco items for at least 3 days

Conclusion

It’s not recommended to drink alcohol after wisdom tooth extraction. Drinking alcohol can lead to adverse side effects and conditions, such as a dry socket. You should avoid alcohol and follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure proper healing.

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Updated on September 28, 2022
9 sources cited
  1. Tooth extraction, MedlinePlus, 2018.
  2. InformedHealth.org. Should you have your wisdom teeth removed?, 2020.
  3. Bloomer, Charles R. “Straws do not cause dry sockets when third molars are extracted.” Texas dental journal, 2012. 
  4. Akinbami, Babatunde O, and Thikan Godspower. “Dry socket: incidence, clinical features, and predisposing factors.” International journal of dentistry, 2014.
  5. Ridaura-Ruiz, Lourdes, et al. “Sensibility and taste alterations after impacted lower third molar extractions. A prospective cohort study.” Medicina oral, patologia oral y cirugia bucal, 2012. Jansson, Leif. “Association between alcohol consumption and dental health.” Journal of clinical periodontology, 2008.
  6. Normando, David. “Third molars: To extract or not to extract?.” Dental press journal of orthodontics, 2015. 
  7. Cunha-Cruz, Joana, et al. “Recommendations for third molar removal: a practice-based cohort study.” American journal of public health, 2014.
  8. Sigron, Guido, R et al. “The most common complications after wisdom tooth removal: part 1: a retrospective study of 1,199 cases in the mandible.” Swiss dental journal, 2014.

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