Planning to relax with a glass of whiskey or red wine after wisdom tooth removal? If yes, then you should probably think twice as drinking after wisdom teeth removal can cause serious complications.
Ideally, you should not consume liquor after tooth extraction for at least 24 hours. Also, the waiting time might prolong based on what kind of medication are you under.
This article will discuss the harm that alcohol consumption can cause such as infection, delayed healing, and excessive bleeding.
Also, we will explain why alcohol is harmful post tooth extraction, ill effects of alcohol when combined with certain medications, etc.
When is wisdom tooth extracted?
Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure to remove the permanent teeth located at the back of your jaw. There are four permanent wisdom teeth – two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw, one on each side.
Conditions when a dentist advises extraction of wisdom tooth are –
- Tooth decay
- Infection or gum disease
- Not enough space for the wisdom tooth to grow
- Food gets trapped in between the wisdom tooth and tooth adjacent to it
There are certain precautions that you need to exercise soon after wisdom teeth removal –
- No smoking
- No brushing for 24hrs (48 hours preferably)
- No spitting for 24 hours
- No alcohol, caffeinated beverages, etc.
- Eat soft and cold/ warm foods like yogurt, ice-cream, applesauce for 24hrs. You can eat semi-solid food from the second day onwards.
- Not using a straw to drink any liquid
If you have a party to attend, then avoid crunchy foods and alcohol. You may feel that one glass of liquor will not harm you but it could. If your dentist says “no alcohol” for 14 days, then you should stay away from alcohol for the requisite period.
Munch on soft foods at parties and drink juice or plain water to keep hydrated.
Drinking soon after wisdom teeth removal
Do not consume liquor for 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction surgery. Blood clot takes 24 hours to form and stabilize in the extraction site.
Manipulation of the surgical site hampers blood clot formation which is why you are advised not to spit or eat hot food, drink alcohol or brush your teeth for a day.
Once the blood clot forms and is stable, you can drink alcohol (on the third or fourth-day post-extraction), but it is always better to wait for 7- 14 days.
If you are taking over the counter painkillers like Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, drinking within limits doesn’t cause any harm. But when you take prescription painkillers like Tramadol or Codeine, you should avoid drinking.
Drinking alcohol along with these medicines can cause drowsiness and also increase other side effects like nausea. (1)
If your dentist has prescribed Metronidazole, then you will have to stop drinking as long as you are taking the medicine. Metronidazole reacts with alcohol to cause severe reactions, the symptoms of which include –
- Stomach ache
- Hot flushes
- Irregular heartbeat
You should avoid alcohol for 48 hours after you have stopped taking metronidazole to prevent any of the risks mentioned above.
Some mouthwashes contain alcohol. Avoid using alcohol-based mouthwash while you are under medication.
Alcohol consumption before tooth extraction
Avoid alcohol consumption before surgery. If your dentist plans surgery under general anesthesia, then it is important to not drink alcohol the day before surgery.
Anesthesia and alcohol can cause dangerous complications. Even if you drink in moderation, inform your dentist.
Avoid drinking alcohol 10 hours before surgery even if your dentist plans extraction under local anesthesia. Also, chronic alcoholics need a higher dose of anesthesia to help numb the region.
Why should you not drink alcohol after tooth extraction?
Alcohol delays healing and blood clot formation. Alcohol dries the tissues. Open tissues are affected faster than normal oral tissues which irritate the tissues and delays healing of the extraction site.
When you drink alcohol, the blood vessels dilate thus causing the effect of medicine to wear off fast. Also, alcohol causes a host of other problems such as
- Sleepy or lightheadedness
- Unable to concentrate
- Susceptible to falls and injuring extraction site
- Severe headaches
- Liver damage (Acetaminophen and alcohol can cause severe liver damage if combined)
Your top priority should be recovery. To prevent any problems and to allow your gums to heal properly you should stay away from alcohol during the healing phase. You can resume drinking after the extraction site heals.
How long should you wait after wisdom tooth extraction before drinking again?
If you are a healthy person with no other health problems, you will get a stable blood clot in 24 to 48 hours post extraction. Therefore, after 2-3 days after the extraction, it is safe to drink alcohol in moderation.
However, if you are taking painkillers and antibiotics, then you will have to wait until the medications are over. Combination of liquor and medicines (painkillers and antibiotics) can be toxic and cause serious health issues.
Points to keep in mind about ill effects of alcohol
Alcohol consumption can cause heavy bleeding and be a causative factor of dry socket. Dry socket is a painful condition wherein the blood clot becomes dislodged and exposes the nerves and bones to food, air causing infection and severe pain.
After seven days, the dentist will cut non-resorbable sutures in the surgical site. This opens the wound area minimally, and this is another reason to wait for the wound to heal completely to avoid complications.
Over to you
Drinking after wisdom teeth is never a good idea. After extraction, the glass of whiskey might seem an excellent idea to relax, but it can cause more harm and not much relaxation. Give time to the blood clot to stabilize.
If you have a party and you had an extraction, then sip on a glass of water instead of alcohol. Also, follow all the precautions and eat and drink accordingly. Do not derail your recovery process for a fun night.