If you are having wisdom teeth removed, you should be planning to take it easy for a few days after your surgery. It is common to have some discomfort as you heal, which may make an alcoholic beverage sound tempting. One question you may wonder is, “Can you drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal?”
What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Before discussing whether or not you can drink alcohol after tooth extraction surgery, it is important to know what to expect after your procedure. Many people have their wisdom teeth removed if they are causing problems with their oral health, but there are complications that can occur if you do not follow post-op instructions.
The wisdom teeth are the third and last molars to arrive. They are large and have up to four roots, which leaves a bigger wound in the gum than other teeth when they are extracted. You will need a few days of rest while your mouth heals and there are some things you may need to avoid, including alcohol.
The main concern with healing after wisdom tooth or any tooth extraction is creating the blood clot in the socket. This should occur in the first days after the procedure, but there are activities that can interfere with blood clot formation. These include:
- Drinking from a straw
- Smoking or vaping
- Drinking alcohol
- Eating chewy or sticky foods
Some activities can dislodge the clot, while alcohol can thin the blood and delay the clot from forming. If the clot is dislodged or does not form correctly, it can result in a dry socket, which can be painful and cause complications with your procedure.
Why Is Alcohol After Tooth Extraction Bad?
There are a few reasons to avoid alcohol in the first few days after a wisdom tooth removal. The first is to avoid dry socket. Alcohol tends to thin the blood, which can impact clot formation inside the socket. Drinking alcohol may increase bleeding and slow the healing process, which why it best to abstain.
Beyond the healing process, you may also be on pain medications that should not be taken with alcohol. If you are prescribed any pain medications, it is important to follow the directions on use, which may include not using with alcohol. You may be at risk for injury or accidents combining medications and alcohol.
Another concern with alcohol after tooth extraction surgery is antibiotics. There are some antibiotics that can have bad reactions with alcohol. Some patients may be prescribed antibiotics after their oral surgery – you should read all medication restrictions regarding alcohol consumption.
When Can You Drink Alcohol After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
The general rule about when can you drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal is waiting at least 24 hours, but it may be longer for some patients. The first 24 hours is when you want to stop the bleeding and should avoid any disruption of the process, including drinking alcohol.
As previously mentioned, abstaining from alcohol may need to last longer if you are taking any medications post-surgery that should not be mixed with alcohol. As long as you are on the medication, make sure you follow the restrictions and instructions provided with the drugs.
It is prudent to wait to drink alcohol for a few days after your procedure. You want to allow your socket to heal fully to avoid the dreaded dry socket. When you do decide to have an alcoholic beverage, avoid using a straw for at least a week after your tooth extraction – the suction can dislodge the blood clot.
Talk to Your Dentist About Alcohol After Tooth Extraction
Before your wisdom tooth extraction procedure, talk to your dentist about restrictions after your procedure. Your age, medications, procedure and other factors may affect your specific post-op instructions and when you can drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal.
If you are having multiple wisdom teeth removed, there may be a longer period of abstaining from alcohol. With 2-4 sockets needing to heal, it may take longer, and the risk of bleeding may be higher. Your dentist will discuss whether alcohol should be avoided during the week after surgery.
If your dentist does not mention alcohol consumption specifically, you should ask when you can drink alcohol after wisdom tooth removal. The best rule of thumb is to avoid alcohol for a few days after any surgery, but you should follow your dentist’s advice regarding post-op care after tooth extractions.
Can you drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal? Eventually, yes, for most people; but you will want to abstain at least a day or longer. Talk to your dentist about what to avoid during your recovery, which may include removing alcohol from your beverages for a few days or more while you heal.