when can i eat chips after wisdom teeth removal

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure that most adults undergo at some point in their lives. Extracting the wisdom teeth leaves large holes in the gums that can take weeks to fully heal. During this recovery period, it’s crucial to avoid certain foods that could disrupt healing and cause complications. One of the most frequent questions patients have is when can I eat chips after wisdom teeth removal? Here’s a detailed look at the timeline, risks, and other factors to consider.

Chips, crackers, popcorn, and other crunchy foods are typically off-limits for at least 1-2 weeks after having your wisdom teeth taken out.

This is because hard, sharp foods can easily get stuck in the extraction sites and irritate the gums and other soft tissues that are still healing. Most oral surgeons recommend sticking to soft foods for the first 5-7 days before slowly reintroducing gentle crunchy foods like toast or noodles.

For the first 24-48 hours, it’s crucial to avoid any chewing as this can disrupt the blood clot and protective scab that’s formed.

After about 3-5 days, you can try soft chips or crackers that break down easily with minimal pressure. But it’s best to wait at least 7-10 days before attempting anything more crunchy or sharp.

Things like corn nuts, tortilla chips, crackers, nuts, and hard candies should be avoided for up to 2 weeks post-op.

The most important guideline is to listen to your body – if you try eating chips or crunchy foods and experience pain, bleeding, or other discomfort, stop immediately.

Your mouth will let you know when it has healed enough to handle gradually normal textures again. Don’t rush back into eating hard, crispy foods before you are ready.

1. Can I eat chips 5 days after wisdom teeth removal?

At 5 days after having your wisdom teeth out, it’s generally still too soon to attempt eating any hard, crunchy foods like chips.

While the initial swelling and pain may be improving by day 5, the extraction sites and gum tissue are still in the early stages of healing.

Hard chips could easily become lodged in the sockets or scratch and irritate the delicate gum areas that are mending.

Most dentists recommend sticking with soft, gentle foods for at least 7-10 days after surgery before gradually reintroducing softer crunchy items.

If you try eating chips around 5 days post-op and experience any bleeding, intense pain, or other issues, stop immediately and go back to soft foods for a few more days.

Be patient and listen to your body. Rushing back to chips or other hard snacks before you are fully ready puts you at risk for complications like infection or dry socket.

2. Can I eat chips 4 weeks after wisdom teeth removal?

Yes, by 4 weeks after surgery you should be able to eat most types of chip varieties without issue or restrictions.

The extraction wounds are fully closed by around 2 weeks post-op, but continue healing internally over the following month.

After 4 weeks, significant healing has occurred and your gums have toughened up enough that chips are unlikely to cause any damage.

Eating chips or other crunchy foods prematurely after wisdom tooth removal can unfortunately disrupt the healing process and lead to complications like:

  • Dry Socket – This painful condition happens when a blood clot becomes dislodged from the extraction site, leaving the bone and nerves exposed. Hard foods can easily dislodge the clot before it firms up.
  • Infection – Bacteria can be introduced into the surgical site if food particles get trapped. Infections will cause increased pain, swelling, and delayed healing.
  • Damage – Chips have sharp edges that could cut or scratch gum tissue and the extraction site. This can lead to more pain and bleeding.
  • Food Impaction – Hard foods like chips, nuts, and seeds can become painfully lodged in the extraction sockets, and are difficult to remove.

To avoid these risks, it’s critical to slowly ease back into crunchy textures over a timeframe of at least 7-14 days. Don’t attempt anything too hard or sharp until your oral surgeon gives you the green light.

Here are some general timelines to follow for when you can introduce certain crunchy foods after surgery:

  • 3-5 days post-op – Soft foods like mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, bananas, scrambled eggs.
  • 5-7 days – Softer crunchy foods like toast or well-cooked noodles.
  • 1-2 weeks – Gentle crunchy foods like soft tortilla chips, crackers, pancakes.
  • 2 weeks+ – Harder crunchy foods like nuts, raw veggies, or corn chips.

However, you should only progress to the next level of crunchiness if healing is going well. If you experience bleeding, throbbing pain, or other issues after eating crunchy foods, go back to softer textures for a few more days. Your individual recovery timeline may be shorter or longer.

Dry socket is highest risk within the first 3-5 days after surgery, as this is when the blood clot can easily become dislodged.

However, you may still be at risk for dry socket up until you have completed initial healing – around 5-7 days on average.

After 1-week post-op, your risk decreases significantly but is still possible if food is forced into the socket.

To minimize dry socket chances after wisdom teeth removal, stick to a soft food diet for at least 5-7 days. Then slowly introduce soft crunchy items.

Avoid hard, sharp foods for 2 weeks. Maintain good oral hygiene with saltwater rinses to keep the area clean.

Don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use straws as these can also dislodge the clot. Be diligent with your surgeon’s post-op care instructions.

Wisdom teeth removal does involve some degree of pain and discomfort during the recovery process. Here are some tips to help minimize it:

  • Take any prescribed pain medication as directed to manage pain.
  • Use ice packs on your face to reduce swelling for the first 48 hours, then switch to moist heat.
  • Eat soft, cool foods like yogurt, applesauce, and ice cream.
  • Drink lots of fluids and get adequate rest.
  • Avoid spitting, swishing, gargling, or rinsing forcefully for 24 hours.
  • Gently rinse mouth with warm saltwater after 24 hours.
  • Sleep with your head elevated on extra pillows to minimize swelling.
  • Avoid strenuous activity for at least 2-3 days.

Following your surgeon’s post-op instructions carefully will also help reduce pain and support healing. Let your dentist know if pain worsens or lasts longer than expected.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about diet and eating after wisdom teeth extraction:

1. Can I eat chicken nuggets 3 days after wisdom teeth removal?

Soft, thoroughly cooked nuggets that can be mashed into a paste with little chewing may be ok after 3 days. Make sure there are no sharp bones.

2. Can I eat rice after wisdom teeth removal?

Well-cooked soft rice that doesn’t require much chewing is fine after about 5-7 days. Take small bites and be very gentle.

3. Can I eat McDonald’s 7 days after wisdom teeth removal?

Soft McDonald’s foods like yogurt parfait or mashed potatoes are fine after a week if you can chew gently. Avoid hamburgers and fries for at least 2 weeks due to the sharper textures.

4. Can I eat french fries 48 hours after wisdom teeth removal?

No, fries are too hard and sharp after only 2 days. Stick to a liquid diet for the first 24 hours, then soft foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce or oatmeal for at least 5-7 days.

The wisdom teeth removal recovery process generally follows this timeline:

  • Day 1: Rest with head elevated, ice packs on face. Drink fluids, avoid spitting. Liquid diet of things like smoothies.
  • Days 2-3: Pain and swelling increase. Keep rinsing your mouth gently with warm saltwater. Eat soft foods like yogurt, oatmeal.
  • Days 4-5: Pain should begin improving. Try mashed potatoes, bananas, pasta.
  • Days 5-7: Reduce pain medication, and introduce soft crunchy foods slowly.
  • Days 7-10: Sutures dissolve, swelling continues going down. May return to normal activity.
  • Weeks 2-3: Healing continues internally and externally. Transition to normal diet.

Full recovery takes about 6-8 weeks for bone and tissue to heal fully. But you can eat most foods comfortably after 2 weeks.

For the first 7-14 days, steer clear of:

  • Chips, crackers, nuts, seeds, popcorn
  • Meat that requires chewing (opt for ground meat)
  • Raw fruits and vegetables – stick to cooked and soft
  • Hard, crunchy bread and bagels
  • Sticky, chewy foods like caramel or gum
  • Spicy foods, saltine crackers (irritating)
  • Alcohol, carbonated beverages, coffee, tea (disrupt healing)

Stick to a soft, lukewarm food diet to allow your mouth time to properly heal. Then slowly reintroduce more textured foods.

Contact your oral surgeon if you experience:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Intense throbbing pain that gets worse
  • Fever over 101°F
  • Pus or foul smell from extraction sites
  • Swelling that worsens or spreads
  • numbness or tingling that doesn’t go away
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Monitor your symptoms closely and don’t hesitate to call your surgeon with any concerns. Proper post-op care and close follow-up helps prevent serious complications.

The Takeaway

When recovering from wisdom tooth extraction, it’s crucial to gradually ease back into eating crunchy foods over a period of at least 1-2 weeks. Stick to soft foods only, then slowly add in gentler crunches before trying anything sharp or hard.

Avoid chips or other crunchy, sharp foods for a minimum of 7-10 days, if not longer. Don’t rush back to your normal diet before tissues have sufficiently healed to avoid complications.

With patience and by following your surgeon’s instructions, you’ll be back to eating chips and other favorite foods before you know it!

Useful Links:

Wisdom Teeth Extraction Risks

Post-Surgical Clinical Monitoring of Soft Tissue Wound Healing in Periodontal and Implant Surgery

Study shows positive long-term effects of wisdom teeth extraction on taste function