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You should not drink alcohol after a wisdom teeth removal procedure because it can have adverse effects on healing time. 

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

If the blood is unable to clot, you could develop a dry socket. This is a painful condition that slows your recovery 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 leading to a weakened immune system. 

What Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Wisdom teeth extraction is a procedure that removes one or more wisdom teeth. These are the four permanent adult teeth in the back corners of your mouth (on the top and bottom).1

If a wisdom tooth does not have room to grow, you are likely to experience pain, infection, or other dental issues. In this case, you will need to have the tooth removed.

A dentist or oral surgeon may perform a wisdom tooth extraction. Some dentists and surgeons recommend extraction to avoid potential future issues even if impacted teeth are not causing any current issues.

Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt in the mouth. These teeth typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Some people never develop wisdom teeth.

For others, wisdom teeth usually erupt, like their other molars did, causing no problems. Many individuals develop impacted wisdom teeth. These are teeth that do not have enough room to erupt in the mouth or grow normally.

Impacted teeth may erupt partially or not at all.

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Dangers of Drinking Alcohol After a Tooth Extraction

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

Adverse Effects of Anesthesia

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

Dry Socket

Drinking alcohol after surgery can cause a dry socket. For a quick and healthy recovery following a tooth extraction, your body must develop a blood clot at the extraction site. 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.

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 do not 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

For regeneration of skin over the wound, your immune system must work at its best. 

However, alcohol consumption can damage your immune system and weaken it. As a result, drinking alcohol may delay the healing process and make the wound more susceptible to infections.

How Soon After Surgery Can You Drink Alcohol? 

It is best to avoid drinking alcohol post wisdom teeth removal surgery for as long as your dentist or oral surgeon recommends. The safest bet is to wait around seven to ten days while the wound heals.

At the least, you should not drink alcohol for 48 hours following any wisdom tooth removal procedures.

You should also consider any medicines you are taking for pain before drinking alcohol. Mixing pain relief medications with alcohol is dangerous and can cause negative effects. It is best to wait until you no longer need any pain relief medications before drinking alcohol. If you are having cravings for alcohol after surgery, here are some resources to help.

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What Other Drinks Should You Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

It is best to avoid acidic drinks post wisdom tooth removal surgery. Consuming drinks like lemonade or orange juice rich in citric acid after oral surgery is like placing lemon juice directly on an open wound.

Acidic drinks will badly irritate the extracted site. This may lead to infection. Avoid drinking acidic drinks for at least a week.

What Can You Drink After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Staying hydrated is essential during the healing process, so be sure to 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

Many people enjoy drinking coffee. You can drink coffee following wisdom teeth removal. However, you should drink cold coffee for the first 24 hours post-surgery. You should wait at least 48 to drink hot coffee.

After oral surgery, the extracted site needs to be treated gently for the blood to clot. Consuming anything aside from cold drinks will disturb the area and delay the healing process.

Other Tips for a Smooth Recovery

As well as 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
  • Take plenty of rest
  • Leave the gauze that your dentist or surgeon put over the extraction site in place for a few hours to promote a blood clot to form. Then, change it as often as required
  • Take all medications, such as painkillers and antibiotics, as directed
  • Do not spit or rinse too vigorously
  • Set an ice pack to your cheek in ten-minute intervals to reduce swelling and discomfort
  • Avoid using a straw for the first 48 hours
  • Do not use tobacco items for at least three days

Resources

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Tooth extraction, MedlinePlus, October 2018

InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Should you have your wisdom teeth removed? [Updated 2020 May 7].

Bloomer, Charles R. “Straws do not cause dry sockets when third molars are extracted.” Texas dental journal vol. 129,1 (2012): 25-32.

Akinbami, Babatunde O, and Thikan Godspower. “Dry socket: incidence, clinical features, and predisposing factors.” International journal of dentistry vol. 2014 (2014): 796102. doi:10.1155/2014/796102

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 vol. 17,5 e759-64. 1 Sep. 2012, doi:10.4317/medoral.17890

Jansson, Leif. “Association between alcohol consumption and dental health.” Journal of clinical periodontology vol. 35,5 (2008): 379-84. doi:10.1111/j.1600-051X.2008.01210.x

Normando, David. “Third molars: To extract or not to extract?.” Dental press journal of orthodontics vol. 20,4 (2015): 17-8. doi:10.1590/2176-9451.20.4.017-018.edt

Cunha-Cruz, Joana et al. “Recommendations for third molar removal: a practice-based cohort study.” American journal of public health vol. 104,4 (2014): 735-43. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301652

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 vol. 124,10 (2014): 1042-6, 1052-6.

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