Having your wisdom teeth removed can be a difficult experience – not only is it painful and uncomfortable, but you also have to follow a strict post-surgery diet during your recovery period. Many of you are eager to return to your original diet and start gorging on your favourite food, and pizza is probably at the top your mind.
After all, pizza, with its crunchy crust and delicious toppings, is a beloved comfort food enjoyed by many. Being able to enjoy it again after the surgery can feel like a great victory against the crooked wisdom teeth. Now, many of you who just had your wisdom teeth removed maybe wondering how soon can you start eating pizza?
The answer is not as straightforward, as it depends on several factors including the number of wisdom teeth removed, the complexity of the dental surgery, and your speed of recovery. You should avoid eating pizza until you feel comfortable chewing and your mouth has fully healed. That said, it general takes 7 to 10 days for someone to recover sufficiently from the surgery to be able to start having pizza.
In the rest of this article, we will take a deep dive in reasons why you need to wait before you can eat pizza again, and some of the factors that can affect your recovery.
Why Do I Have to Wait to Eat Pizza?
During the first few days after your wisdom teeth removal surgery, a blood clot will form in the cavity where the wisdom teeth once was. This blood clot, a result of the coagulation of the blood, protects your bones and nerves from the harsh elements of the mouth.
When the blood clot dissolves or is dislodged from the cavity where the removed wisdom teeth once was, it leads to a painful medical complication known as dry socket. When a dry socket occurs, the patients’ bones and nerves are exposed, causing an intense pain and discomfort.
As such, it is important that sufficient time is given for the blood clot to form, and this means not irritating the blood clot with food that can easily dislodge it from the cavity.
Pizza, which can be chewy or crunchy depending on how it is made, is highly discouraged by dentists and oral surgeons as it can easily irritate the surgical wound and dislodge the blood clot. Furthermore, pizza contain numerous toppings which can get stuck in the teeth and cause irritation.
You should exercise caution and start eating pizza only when your wounds have sufficiently healed and are less sensitive to a stimuli such as hot soup. You should also consult your doctors during your follow-up appointments to ensure that you are ‘cleared’ to start having solid food again.
How to Have Pizza After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
If you think that your wounds have healed sufficiently, here are what you can should take note of when progressing back to a solid diet that includes pizza.
Firstly, instead of gorging through the food, tear away small pieces of it and chew slowly. This helps to ‘refresh’ your jaw on what solid food feels like while minimizing the chances of irritation. If you experience any pain, stop immediately to avoid any further complications.
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Secondly, opt for semi-solid food before moving to a solid diet. A semi-solid diet consist of food that can be readily broken down into pieces by the teeth. Examples include ground meat, fruits, scrambled eggs, and fish meat. Avoid food that are hard and chewy as they can easily irritate your wound and cause an infection. These food include popcorn, high fat meat, breads, and fibrous vegetables.
After your meal, be sure to brush your teeth and use a mouthwash. This helps to remove any residual food particles and minimize the risk of an infection.
What Affects the Recovery of the Wounds?
There are numerous factors that can affect your recovery from the wisdom teeth removal surgery and how soon you can start having your favourite pizza. The following are some of the common factors:
- Number of wisdom teeth removed. The more the number of wisdom teeth removed, the more the number of incisions will be made, and the longer the surgery will be. As such, it will prolong the recovery period as it takes a much longer time for the body to recover from the multiple wounds.
- Complexity of the extraction: The complexity of the extraction can affect the recovery time. If the extraction requires cutting into the gum tissue or removing bone, the recovery will take a significantly longer time as the wound will be deeper than usual.
- Age and general health. The health condition of you as well as your age can affect how long it takes for you to recovery from the surgery. In general, younger patients heal faster than older individuals.
- Medications. You are advised to take the prescribed painkillers and antibiotics to minimize the pain and reduce the risk of an infection. This will also speed up your recovery. On the other hand, certain medications such as blood thinner and steroids can lead to increased bleeding in the event of a bleeding. It is necessary for you to inform your oral surgeon or dentist of any medication you are currently on prior to the surgery.
- Smoking. Smoking can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of complications from the surgery. This is documented in multiple research studies including here and here. It works by narrowing the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood flow and slowing down the delivery of essential nutrients to the wound. It is recommended to avoid smoking for at least 48 hours after your wisdom teeth removal surgery to give sufficient time for the wounds to heal.
- Poor Diet. After the surgery, your body needs nutrients to heal well and fight off an infection. A poor diet can slow down the healing process as there are no nutrients for the body to repair and regenerate tissue. Adding on, a diet with hard, crunchy or sticky food can irritate the surgical site and infect the wound. In some cases, it can lead to dry socket.
Your oral surgeon or dentist would be able to give you personalized advice based on your general health and dental condition.
In conclusion, pizza is a delicious food that many enjoy, but it is important to be careful when eating it after wisdom teeth removal. It’s best to wait until your extraction site has fully healed before attempting to eat pizza or any other hard or crunchy foods. This typically takes about a week or two, but it can vary depending on your recovery process.
In the first few days after your dental surgery, avoid smoking and food that are hard and not nutritious. Once your wound has healed sufficiently, slowly start introducing firmer foods back into your diet. Be sure to take it slow and pay attention to any discomfort or pain.
If you are unsure about when it is safe to start introducing solid food into your diet, always consult your oral surgeon or dentist during your follow-up appointments. They will be able to provide personalized advice based on the recovery of your wound and give you guidance about the next steps to take.
By following the guidelines outlined above, you will be able to recover in no time and start enjoying your favourite pizzas!