Your dentist will give you a long list of instructions to speed up the healing process after tooth extraction, and one of those instructions is to refrain from using a straw. So, if you're an avid soda-drinker, you're probably wondering: When can I use a straw after tooth extraction?
While almost all dentists recommend you wait at least 24 hours before using a straw, most recommend waiting even longer than that. In fact, most recommend waiting a few days.
Read on to learn about avoiding straws after tooth removal, including:
- Why should you avoid straws after tooth removal?
- Exactly when can you use a straw to drink out of again?
- Just how long do you need to worry about dry socket?
Table of contents
Why shouldn't I use a straw after tooth extraction?
Immediately after a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms. When you use a straw after tooth removal you risk dislodging the blood clot on the extraction site. That's because sucking on a straw creates suction which can cause the blood clot to dislodge. This can be painful and lead to dry socket and infection.
The blood clot is what helps heal the wound. It stops bleeding after tooth extraction, covers the hole where your tooth was before the removal, and protects the bone and nerves that are left exposed after the extraction.
If you think that your blood clot has become dislodged, it's a good idea to call your dentist. They can then advise you if you need to go into the office for an evaluation.
Once a blood clot has formed, can I use a straw?
Once a blood clot has formed over the site in your mouth, that's a good sign that you are on your way to healing after your tooth extraction, but you need to keep it intact. The best way to ensure that is to follow the instructions from your dentist following surgery, and take proper care of the site.
This means you should avoid things like drinking through a straw before the time recommended by your dentist has passed—even if the blood clot has already formed.
How many days after extraction can I use a straw?
Usually, a minimum of 24 hours is recommended before you decide to have a drink out of straw; however, the cells in charge of healing begin to work after the second or third day. In fact, you don't want to do anything that causes a sucking motion, such as spitting or smoking. By avoiding the sucking motion, you can prevent dry socket and avoid a whole lot of pain.
Additionally, your age and medical history effect the healing process, so your dentist may have different instructions.
When can I stop worrying about dry socket?
Dry socket is the most common complication patients experience after having teeth extracted; it means that bone was exposed because of an absent blood clot and can be quite painful. The good news is that you can help prevent dry socket if you avoid certain activities. These include smoking, harsh rinsing, drinking hot beverages, and using straws.
Once your mouth has completely healed, you can stop worrying about the dreaded dry socket.
By now, you've discovered that you shouldn't drink from straws for at least the first 24 hours following your dental surgery, but it's even better to wait a few days.
After your oral surgery, it's important to follow the directions your dentist gives you so that you can make sure you have a safe and speedy recovery. Your dentist will instruct you to avoid drinking from straws, but also other activities that involve a suction motion, like smoking cigarettes or forceful rinsing.
The first step to properly healing is forming a blood clot over the extraction site. Everything you do for the next week or a couple of weeks will be focused on maintaining that clot so that it does not become dislodged. This is important because the clot protects your bone and nerves after oral surgery.
If you're unsure of what advice would apply in your situation, or have any questions about your tooth extraction recovery, you can chat with a dentist online. Chatting with a dentist 24/7 can help you get answers to your questions on tooth extraction recovery, especially if you need help fast.
So, to summarize—
- Wait at least 24 hours to use a straw (preferably more)
- Avoid extremely hot or cold liquids
- Don't smoke or rinse harshly
- Avoid drinking alcohol while you heal
- Contact your dentist if you think you've dislodged your blood clot
- Follow your dentist's instructions for after tooth extraction
—and then you should be well on your way to healing in no time!