Home Health Can You Eat Mac and Cheese After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Can You Eat Mac and Cheese After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Can You Eat Mac and Cheese After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

by zilvinas.juraska

Meta Description:Wondering if you can eat mac and cheese after wisdom teeth removal? This comprehensive guide covers recovery diet tips, when to introduce soft mac & cheese, risks, recipes and more.

Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a common procedure that many people undergo in their late teens or early 20s. While the surgery is relatively quick, the recovery process can take some time as your mouth heals.

During this recovery period, your diet is quite restricted as you cannot chew solid foods until the extraction sites have healed adequately. Soft, lukewarm foods are recommended after surgery while your mouth mends. But what about comfort foods like mac and cheese? Here is a detailed guide on whether you can indulge in ooey-gooey mac and cheese after wisdom teeth removal.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars located at the far back corners of your mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth – two on the top and two on the bottom. These teeth typically start coming in between the late teens and early 20s.

In an era where our diets are much softer, there often isn’t enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to erupt properly. As a result, they can become impacted, meaning they emerge at an angle or don’t have enough room to fully emerge through the gums. Impaction can cause pain, damage to adjacent teeth, and increased risk for infection.

To prevent such problems, oral surgeons will extract wisdom teeth that are impacted or at high risk of becoming problematic. The surgery creates space and allows you to keep the rest of your teeth healthy.

Recovery After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Recovery from wisdom tooth removal takes around 1-2 weeks as the extraction sites heal. You will likely experience some swelling and bruising on the outside of your cheeks plus tenderness and bleeding at the surgery sites as you heal.

It is critical to follow your surgeon’s postoperative care instructions during recovery to promote healing and prevent complications like dry socket (painful condition when a blood clot dislodges from the extraction site).

The most important rules following surgery are:

  • Take all prescribed antibiotics and pain medications. This helps manage infection risk and discomfort.
  • Apply ice packs to reduce facial swelling.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, smoking, straws, and excessive mouth rinsing as these can dislodge blood clots.
  • Stick to a soft food diet and chew away from surgical sites if possible.
  • Practice proper oral hygiene with gentle brushing around (not directly on) the extraction sites.

Your surgeon will let you know when you can return to your normal diet, usually 7-10 days post-op. The exact diet guidelines vary between practices.

Soft Diet Recommendations After Extractions

Hard, crunchy foods or anything that requires extensive chewing must be avoided after surgery as this can disturb healing. Chewing and muscle movement around the sites right after surgery can cause bleeding or dislodge blood clots leading to dry socket.

Dentists typically recommend sticking to a soft, bland diet in the days following wisdom tooth removal. Here are some examples of foods recommended during recovery:

  • Smoothies, milkshakes, yogurt
  • Applesauce, mashed bananas, avocado
  • Soups, broths
  • Mashed potatoes, creamed vegetables
  • Pasta, mac and cheese
  • Cottage cheese, grits, oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Fish, overcooked chopped meats
  • Well-cooked vegetables like carrots, spinach, beans
  • Soft breads and muffins
  • Pudding, ice cream, gelatin

Can You Eat Mac and Cheese After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Mac and cheese is a popular comfort food consisting of soft, cheesy pasta. The warm, creamy pasta dish meets the criteria for foods allowed post wisdom teeth removal – provided you follow a couple rules.

Here are some tips for eating mac and cheese after dental surgery:

  • Allow it to cool to a lukewarm, soft temperature first. This prevents irritation to the healing sites.
  • Use a fork to mash the pasta into smaller pieces before chewing. Large elbow noodles can get lodged in sockets.
  • Chew slowly and carefully on the opposite side from your extraction sites if possible.
  • Avoid extra cheesy or al dente preparations. Opt for well-cooked, soft pasta in a mild cheese sauce.
  • Skip any crispy toppings like breadcrumbs or bacon bits which can cut gums.

As long as you follow these precautions, mac and cheese can be a soothing meal as you recover from surgery. The soft texture is unlikely to disturb the surgical sites as they mend.

What About Box Mac and Cheese?

Boxed, instant macaroni and cheese products like Kraft are another convenient comfort food option after surgery. Thesmaller pasta shapes like macaroni or shells soften nicely during cooking. And the powdered cheese mix results in a smooth, mild sauce.

Just take the same precautions as with homemade mac and cheese – allow to cool, mash it up, and chew carefully. To be extra safe, you may want to prepare the boxed pasta a minute or two past the package directions. This helps ensure the noodles are fully soft before consumption.

Can You Eat Baked Mac and Cheese?

Baked macaroni and cheese involves cooking the pasta casserole in the oven with a crispy topping. Popular recipes call for breadcrumb, cracker, or panko mixtures which provide crunch. Since these toppings could be irritating after dental surgery, baked mac and cheese is not the best option initially.

Instead, wait until your extraction sites have had a chance to heal before indulging in crunchy baked variations. Stick to stovetop or soft mac and cheese dishes first.

What About Other Pasta Dishes?

Beyond mac and cheese, you have pasta options like spaghetti, penne, or ravioli after wisdom teeth removal too. Just as with macaroni, ensure you cook the pasta until very soft and tender. Cut up larger noodles before eating. And avoid anything with hard vegetables, meat chunks, or heavy sauces.

Some of the best choices include:

  • Penne or small tubes in a smooth, thin sauce
  • Ravioli, chopped into small pieces before eating
  • Spaghetti noodles cut short and served with a light marinara
  • Lasagna, if baked until noodles are completely soft

Take your time chewing pasta thoroughly on the side of your mouth opposite the surgery sites. And stick to mild, smooth sauces over anything chunky or acidic as you recover.

What Foods Are Not Recommended After Surgery?

While pasta can be modified to meet the soft food criteria after oral surgery, some items are too risky and should be avoided entirely including:

  • Crunchy Foods: chips, nuts, crackers, toast, raw veggies/fruits, pizza crust
  • Sharp, Spicy Foods: salsa, tacos, curry, buffalo wings
  • Chewy, Sticky Foods: bagels, bread, steak, dried fruit, candy, gum
  • Popcorn or Small Seeds: can get stuck in sockets
  • Carbonated Drinks: soda and sparkling water may irritate sites
  • Hot Temperature Foods: can cause discomfort
  • Alcohol/Caffeine: can interact with medication
  • Dairy: if you are lactose intolerant

The exact dietary guidelines from your oral surgeon may vary slightly. But in general, it is best to avoid anything that is: sharp, crunchy, extremely hot/cold, chewy, spicy, or acidic during the 1-2 week recovery period.

When Can You Return to a Normal Diet?

Your oral surgeon will advise you on when it is safe to resume your regular diet. For most patients, this falls between 7-14 days after wisdom tooth removal.

Be sure to schedule a follow up appointment around this timeframe. The surgeon will want to check your healing before giving the all-clear to eat normally again.

Signs you may be ready for regular foods include:

  • No more bleeding from surgical sites
  • Minimal pain or swelling
  • Stitches have dissolved
  • Able to brush near sites gently
  • Able to chew soft foods comfortably

Rushing back to crunchy, hard foods prematurely raises your risk for complications. So be patient and stick to soft items until fully cleared by your dentist.

Mac and Cheese Cravings During Recovery

Having your favorite foods restricted after surgery is no fun. During this bland soft food stage, you may really start craving comfort foods like mac and cheese.

Here are some tips for dealing with intense food cravings as you recover:

  • Add variety like different seasonings, sauces, or proteins to your soft diet. This makes it feel less monotonous.
  • Focus on nutrient dense soft foods like eggs, yogurt, soups to help you feel satisfied.
  • Stay hydrated with water, smoothies, protein shakes.
  • Allow yourself a small serving of mac and cheese occasionally as a treat. Just follow the precautions.
  • Remember this is temporary! Your diet will return to normal soon.
  • Avoid grocery shopping while hungry during the first week. Looking at off-limit foods can intensify cravings.

Talk to your dentist if you are struggling with appetite or meeting your nutritional needs during recovery. They can provide tips or refer you to a dietitian for additional support.

How Long Should You Wait to Eat Mac and Cheese?

Most surgeons recommend introducing soft mac and cheese about 3-5 days after having your wisdom teeth out as long as you are tolerating other soft foods comfortably.

Allowing a few days for initial healing helps reduce risks if pasta gets lodged in the sockets. But after this point, mac and cheese and other soft pasta dishes are unlikely to disrupt healing.

Just remember to be gentle and cautious that first week as you introduce new soft foods like macaroni and cheese. Don’t progress to baked or crunchy versions until your dentist confirms your mouth has healed – around 2 weeks post-op.

Listen to your body and avoid any foods that cause bleeding or intense pain. With time and proper care, your mouth will mend quickly.

Is Mac and Cheese Good for You After Surgery?

Beyond being a tasty comfort food, mac and cheese offers some nutritional benefits after oral surgery:

  • Protein from cheese helps repair tissues. Look for milk-based, high protein cheese sauces.
  • Carbohydrates provide energy for healing and recovery.
  • It provides both solids and liquids together for hydration.
  • Soft texture allows for chewing practice without irritation.
  • Warm temperature is soothing.
  • It provides nostalgia and comfort when you are feeling low.

Just balance mac and cheese with other soft fruits, proteins, vegetables and dairy during the post-op diet for balanced nutrition. And remember to take prescribed antibiotics to support healing.

When to Call Your Dentist About Diet

Your surgeon wants your recovery to go smoothly. Reach out to them if you experience any of the following:

  • Bleeding that won’t stop from surgical sites
  • Severe pain not relieved by medication
  • Difficulty swallowing foods or liquids
  • Signs of infection like fever, chills, swelling
  • Persistent nausea, vomiting, or appetite changes
  • Food getting stuck in extraction sockets
  • Questions about diet progression or introduction of new foods

Don’t hesitate to call the oral surgeon’s office with any concerns about your healing. They can provide reassurance or have you come in for an exam to make sure you remain on a healthy recovery track. With proper care, you will be back to eating mac and cheese along with all your other favorite foods before you know it!

Mac and Cheese Caution

In summary, eating mac and cheese after wisdom tooth removal requires some caution and preparation. Stick to a liquid diet for the first 3 days, then slowly add in soft mac and cheese starting 1 week after surgery. Cook the pasta very soft and well-done, ensure the cheese is finely melted, chew carefully on the opposite side from surgical sites, and rinse your mouth after eating. Pair it with soft foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, soaked bread, and pureed soups and fruits for balanced nutrition. With patience and by following these tips, mac and cheese can be part of your post-op comfort food diet.

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