Wisdom tooth removal is a commonly performed procedure for millions of Americans. However, it has a reputation for being less than enjoyable and requires a fair amount of recovery time afterward. So if you’re in the middle of recovery and would like to have a drink, it’s perfectly understandable – but something you shouldn’t do. And because a lot of patients ask if you can drink alcohol after wisdom teeth removal, that’s exactly what we’ll be addressing in this post.

Can You Drink Alcohol After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

The trouble with drinking alcohol after a wisdom tooth extraction has to do with its interference with the healing process.

A wisdom tooth extraction involves the removal of one or more teeth. Each individual tooth has a rich supply of nerves and blood vessels. The socket and tissue left behind after removal must heal and form a blood clot. After a blood clot forms, granulation tissue – which is connective tissue associated with the wound healing process – must appear in the area. This shows that the body is recovering and healing from the extraction.

Now, since the recovery zone is essentially a healing wound, it would be detrimental to expose it to anything that can irritate it. Of course, this means extremely hot or spicy food and acidic or carbonated beverages, as well as tobacco products. But it also includes alcoholic drinks – alcohol is an astringent, meaning it shrinks and constricts tissues in the body. It can irritate sensitive areas that are healing, prolong recovery time, and lead to a painful condition called dry socket. A dry socket happens when a blood clot doesn’t form in the extraction area and can be excruciating – not to mention that it’ll necessitate another trip to the dentist.

A critical point to note is that alcohol interacts with many pain-relieving medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed. Indeed, many pain medications have warning labels telling you not to mix them with alcohol. For example, taking Tylenol with alcohol can lead to permanent liver damage. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and alcohol can increase your risk of internal bleeding, and mixing it with aspirin can cause a stroke. This is why it’s important to abstain from drinking until you’re no longer taking the medication.

The Bottom Line

While it may be tempting to reach for a drink after a wisdom tooth extraction, you must allow healing to complete before consuming any alcoholic beverages. That’s why we recommend that you wait at least a week to 10 days before you consume any alcohol. This will allow you the best chances of recovering from the extraction successfully. Of course, if you have any questions about when you can drink alcohol.

Pasadena Dental Doc offers state-of-the-art dental care with fair, transparent prices. We specialize in a wide variety of dental procedures. In addition, we have flexible office hours and accept most insurance plans. For any questions or to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call us at (713) 947-0293. We pride ourselves on being the best dentist in Pasadena, TX.