Can I drink alcohol after tooth extraction?
You should not drink immediately after tooth extraction because you slow down your body's ability to heal after the surgery.
Most adults enjoy a drink or two every now and then. Whether it’s a cold, refreshing beer on a hot summer’s day or a nice glass of wine with dinner, everyone has their preferred way to responsibly enjoy alcohol.
But what if you’ve just had a tooth extracted? Will that mean you have to sit in the summer heat without a chilled beer? Will you need to wait before enjoying a nightcap? And if you do drink after a tooth extraction – what’s the worst that could happen?
The sad news is, no, you shouldn’t drink immediately following a tooth extraction. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t have any alcohol within 24-48 hours of having a tooth extracted. Really, this goes for any type of surgery, and for many of the same reasons. You’ll still be under the affect of the anesthetic, and may slow down your body’s ability to heal after the surgery (see below).
If you’ve been prescribed strong pain killers, you may need to wait even longer before you can have a hard drink. It is never a good idea to mix pain medication with alcohol. Hold off on the alcohol until you no longer need the painkillers for pain management.
What happens if I drink alcohol after a tooth extraction?
There are a few things that can happen if you drink alcohol after a tooth extraction.
Firstly, as we said, you’ll still be under the affect of anesthetic. Any impairment you might already feel will be amplified by alcohol consumption. There’s a reason doctors request that you have personal supervision for 24 hours after surgery.
Secondly, alcohol can interfere with your body’s ability to heal. Alcohol thins the blood, making wounds bleed more and clot less. Clotting is essential for healing a surgical site quickly and effectively. If you drink too much alcohol, you’ll heal slowly, and greatly increase the risk of infection.
This is especially important when you have surgery in the mouth. The mouth is full of bacteria, and infection can easily occur if the site doesn’t heal quickly. You can also end up with dry sockets in the mouth, which are as uncomfortable as they are problematic.
Thirdly, alcohol and strong painkillers don’t mix. Drinking alcohol under the influence of strong painkillers can result in impaired motor function, dizziness, liver failure, and even an overdose. Don’t burden your liver with so many drugs while you heal — lay off the booze and let the pain medication do its job.
What to drink after a tooth extraction?
Worried that you can only drink water after an extraction? Don’t be. You can actually enjoy most drinks.
• Non-acidic juices like apple juice. Orange juice and lemonade will be incredibly unpleasant to drink with a fresh surgical wound in your mouth, but apple juice will be just fine.
• Ginger ale.
• Smoothies that have been strained to remove any small seeds that might get stuck in the extraction site.
• Milk, including flavored milk.