Alaska Oral Surgery Group

The Best Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

After removing your wisdom teeth, you will be on a soft diet for about a week to minimize pain and promote healing. Eating foods that require chewing or that may irritate the incision sites can cause inflammation, pain, and infection. Although a soft diet may sound bland, it doesn’t have to be boring or tasteless.

General Guidelines

On the day of wisdom tooth removal, we recommend a liquid diet. Limit yourself to non-acidic juices (apple or grape juice is better than orange juice), clear broth, Jell-O, and tea or coffee without cream or milk. Do not use a straw to drink anything, as the suction can cause the blood clot protecting the empty tooth socket to loosen, leading to a painful dry socket.

On the second day, you can begin adding thicker liquids that you can eat without chewing, such as yogurt, milkshakes, smoothies, and pudding. Avoid very hot or cold foods – tepid is best to minimize discomfort until the area is adequately healed. Over the next three to five days, you can eat a wide range of soft foods that require little to no chewing. We suggest some of the following:

Scrambled eggs Bananas Mousse or pudding
Cottage cheese Applesauce Creamy soups
Refried beans Mashed potatoes Soft-cooked pasta
Mashed avocado Tofu Watermelon
Oatmeal Pureed vegetables Soft rice or risotto


Although spicy foods should be avoided, flavorful food is possible by adding seasonings and add-ins such as herbs, flavored vinegars, syrups, sauces, gravies, and melted butter. You can find many creative recipes online for soft food diets.

After the swelling has subsided and your pain is nearly gone (usually around day 5 to 7), you can slowly add firmer foods such as soft-cooked turkey or chicken, baked white fish, pancakes, waffles, casseroles, sweet potatoes, moist stuffing, soft peaches, buttered toast, soft bread, and macaroni and cheese. To add variety to your diet, consider poaching, steaming, or boiling vegetables and other foods to soften them. Within a week, you can eat most foods, although you should avoid chewing in the incision areas when possible.

Foods to Avoid After Wisdom Teeth Removal

For the first week following wisdom teeth removal, there are some foods you must avoid complications such as infection. These include:

  • Spicy or acidic foods that can irritate delicate tissues.
  • Alcoholic drinks, as they may interact with pain medications or aggravate the incision site.
  • Any seeds or firm-cooked grains that could get stuck in the incisions.
  • Any hard, crunchy, or tough foods such as nuts, jerky, chips, pretzels, and tough or stringy meats that could open stitches or cut into the gums.
  • Smoking or vaping should also be avoided for the first week, as they inhibit healing and dramatically increase the risk of infection.

If you are unsure whether you can eat a specific food, a quick call to our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 can provide guidance. Healing from wisdom teeth removal will progress safely and quickly if you follow our soft diet guidelines.

Ready to make an appointment with Dr. Szutz?

Call us with any questions or to make an appointment.

Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 Appointments


Wisdom Teeth: Fascinating Facts You May Not Know

You may know a bit about wisdom teeth, particularly if you or your child has to have them removed, but you may not know these fascinating facts about your third molars:

  • The third molars are called wisdom teeth because you usually get them when you are older (between 17 and 22) when it is assumed that you’ve gained some wisdom. But they can come in at any age. Some people get them as young as 10, and adults have developed impacted wisdom teeth in their 70s and beyond. Unfortunately, the older you are, the harder wisdom teeth are to remove.
  • The oldest known evidence of an impacted wisdom tooth was found in the remains of a woman who died over 15,000 years ago.
  • Some people only get between 1-3 wisdom teeth rather than the standard four. In rare cases, an individual may develop more than four wisdom teeth.
  • Playing the odds with wisdom teeth isn’t in your best interests. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, only 15% of wisdom teeth do not need removal. Wisdom teeth extraction is simpler and less painful if you remove them before they become impacted.
  • Wisdom teeth are an excellent source of stem cells that can be used to regenerate tissue and aid in healing various parts of the body. Research currently focuses on ways to use these stem cells for ophthalmological and neurological treatments.

 Environment and ethnicity have some effect on the development of wisdom teeth. Individuals of Asian descent and the Inuit are least likely to have wisdom teeth.

  • Wisdom teeth are the only teeth that develop after birth. All other teeth are formed in the womb. Researchers are now looking into ways to prevent wisdom teeth from developing at all since the majority of people have to have them surgically removed.
  • Five million people have their wisdom teeth removed in the United States every year.
  • Sometimes wisdom teeth in the upper jaw can migrate or grow roots into the sinus cavities, causing symptoms such as sinus pain and pressure, recurring headaches, and congestion.
  • Nine out of ten people eventually develop an impacted wisdom tooth that has to be surgically removed.
  • Not every culture or language refers to wisdom teeth in the same way. There are many poetic ways to refer to the third molar, including:
  • In Korean – sa-rang-nee, which means “love teeth” because teens frequently fall in love.
  • In Turkish – yas disi, meaning “twentieth year tooth.”
  • In Japanese – oyashirazu, which loosely translates to “unknown to parents” because, by the time the wisdom teeth emerge, the individual has left their parent’s home.

Wisdom teeth are remarkably interesting for teeth that are no longer needed. However, they can cause serious damage if they are not extracted when you are in your late teens or early twenties. If you have one or more wisdom teeth that need removing, contact our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Szutz.

Ready to Improve Your Smile?

Call us with any questions or to make an appointment.

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Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth if They Are Almost Always Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt, usually in your late teens or twenties. In some people, wisdom teeth may become impacted or develop problems after erupting. In these cases, wisdom teeth removal is the best option to prevent more serious dental health issues.

Is There Something Wrong With Wisdom Teeth?

No, there is nothing inherently wrong with wisdom teeth. The issue is that many people don’t have enough space in the back of the mouth, which leads to impaction and other associated problems. Some people have wisdom teeth that fully erupt and are completely functional. As long as individuals practice good oral hygiene, there is no need to remove the wisdom teeth if they don’t cause any pain and are healthy.

Why We Remove Wisdom Teeth

Most dentists recommend having them surgically removed even before they become a problem to prevent developing more severe complications later in life. Having wisdom teeth removed when you are older leads to longer healing times, and the surgery is more difficult. The older you are, the longer the roots of your wisdom teeth grow. They may impinge on nerves and blood vessels in the jawbone, making surgery more complex. Many problems can arise if your wisdom teeth are not removed when you are in your teens are twenties, including:

  • Impacted wisdom teeth leading to pain, inflammation, and infection
  • Crowding of the teeth, pushing other teeth out of alignment
  • Infection and gum disease
  • Difficulty keeping the teeth clean, leading to tooth decay and gum disease
  • Development of cysts or tumors in the jawbone
  • Sinus issues such as congestion, sinus headaches, and pressure from the upper wisdom teeth
  • Removal later in life is more difficult, resulting in slower recovery and a greater risk of complications.

A thorough dental exam and X-rays are essential if you have not had your wisdom teeth removed. We can assess your wisdom teeth and determine whether they will likely cause you problems in the future. Contact our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Szutz before your third molars become a health issue.

Ready to Improve Your Smile?

Call us with any questions or to make an appointment.

Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 Appointments

Does Insurance Cover Dental Implants?

Dental implants are one of the most popular treatments for replacing missing teeth, but whether insurance will cover them remains a complex issue. Insurance coverage for dental implants varies depending on the type of insurance plan and policy. Some insurance policies may cover a portion or all the cost of dental implants, while others may only cover certain aspects of the treatment.

Dental Insurance for Implants

Some dental insurance plans cover implants in part, so be sure to check with your insurance provider to determine what portions of your treatment are covered. Most policies cover teeth extraction and bone grafting. Some cover the cost of the prosthetics but not the implants themselves. Others will cover a portion of the implant placement and the replacement teeth, but only in part. Coverage for X-rays, anesthesia, and consultations also varies. Please contact your dental insurance carrier and ask what portion of dental implants is covered and the limits of that coverage.

Medical Insurance for Dental Implants

It surprises many patients that their medical insurance may cover all or part of dental implants. Your medical insurance provider will consider covering implants if they are medically necessary. However, if they deem the procedure strictly cosmetic, they may not. If you have been in an accident and need dental implants to restore teeth lost or damaged from facial trauma, it maybe be considered medically necessary. If you currently use dentures but want to upgrade to dental implants, the insurance provider may consider this an esthetic and, therefore, unnecessary procedure.

Can I Combine Dental and Medical Insurance Coverage for Dental Implants?

You may need to use both your medical and dental insurance to get the maximum coverage possible. Approval factors will include why you need the implants, the type of implants used, whether bone grafting is necessary, and your coverage limits. If it sounds confusing, that is because it is.

Before you begin your dental implant journey, we encourage you to contact both your dental and medical insurers and ask questions to determine what is and is not covered. Relevant questions include:

  • Do you cover dental implants?
  • What portion of the procedure is covered?
  • Does it matter what type of implants are used?
  • What is my out-of-pocket cost?
  • Do I need pre-authorization for dental implants?
  • What is the maximum allowable coverage?
  • What procedures are included in coverage?
    • Consultations & Appointments?
    • X-rays?
    • Bone grafting?
    • Sinus Lift?
    • Implant placement?
    • Prosthetics?
    • Follow-up care?

What About HSAs and FSAs?

If you have a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, you might be able to use these funds. You may have to provide a letter of medical necessity from your doctor or dentist and turn in receipts for any procedures related to and including implant placement.

The staff at Alaska Oral Surgery Group is available to answer your questions and help you navigate financial considerations, including the availability of payment plans through CareCredit. Please contact us at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 if you would like additional information about dental implant costs and coverage.


Ready for Dental Implants to Complete Your Smile?

Call us with any questions or to make an appointment.

Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 Appointments



Ten Things to Avoid After Dental Implant Surgery

After your dental implants are placed, you will need to stick to a soft diet for a week and follow the post-operative instructions provided by our office. The most important thing is to keep the mouth clean, avoid irritating the surgical site, and protect your mouth. There are also some things you must avoid, protecting your dental implants until the area is completely healed, particularly during the first week following surgery.

  1. Avoid touching the implant area. Poking or prodding with your fingers or tongue can dislodge any protective blood clots and contaminate the area with bacteria from your hands.
  1. Don’t spit the first 24-48 hours. It’s tempting to spit out any blood or extra fluids, but you could dislodge the blood clot. Lean over your sink and let any fluids drain out of your mouth.
  1. Do not rinse too vigorously. After the first 24 hours, you can gently rinse your mouth with warm (not hot!) saltwater, but do so gently and let the water drain out of your open mouth. Do not spit it out.
  1. Avoid physical exertion and exercise for at least a week. Take it easy and avoid jogging, roughhousing with your kids, and going to the gym. Strenuous activities can contribute to inflammation and increase bleeding and pain.
  1. Avoid hot food and drinks for at least a week after surgery, as the heat can inflame and irritate the surgical site. During the first 24 hours, you may burn your mouth while the area is still numb.
  1. Eliminate crunchy, hard, sticky, spicy, acidic, and chewy foods for at least a week after surgery. You will be more comfortable and protect the dental implant sites if you limit yourself to soft, creamy foods.
  1. Anything that creates suction in the mouth should be avoided for the first week. Do not use a drinking straw for the first week, as the suction can dislodge the blood clots protecting the surgery site. The same goes for smoking, which requires a sucking motion.
  1. Do not drink alcohol for at least three weeks following dental implant surgery or while using narcotics. Alcoholic beverages can trigger bleeding and slow the healing process.
  1. Do not smoke. Smoking is the number one cause of dental implant failure because it inhibits the integration of the implants with the jawbone and slows healing. We suggest you quit smoking several weeks or even months before implant placement.

For more detailed information on what to do and what to avoid following dental implant placement, check out our After Implant Placement page. Although the list of “Don’ts” seems long, they are meant to protect your health, encourage healing, and prevent implant failure. Once the area has healed and your permanent restorations are in place, we are confident you will feel the process was worth it!

To schedule your dental implant consultation with Dr. Szutz, contact our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 or fill out our Appointment Request form.


Three Warning Signs of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth

For many people, one or more of their wisdom teeth become impacted (trapped in the jawbone or only partially erupted) if not removed. When this happens, the impacted wisdom tooth has to be removed to prevent infection, damage to other teeth and the jawbone, and pain. We often recommend removing your wisdom teeth when you are in your teens or early twenties to avoid any potential issues later in life.

If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed at a young age, you may never have a problem. However, most individuals end up with at least one impacted wisdom tooth.  The surgery to remove an impacted tooth is more difficult the older you are, and complications are more likely. If you have any of the symptoms outlined below, contact our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678, and we will schedule an appointment to evaluate your wisdom teeth.

Toothache or Facial Pain

Pain and swelling are common indicators of impacted wisdom teeth. While a dull, throbbing toothache is most likely, some patients experience an earache due to the proximity of wisdom teeth to the ear canal. Temporomandibular joint pain is also common, along with pain radiating through the cheek and side of the face.

Some individuals may have impacted wisdom teeth and not realize that the pain they’re experiencing is directly related. Chronic allergy pain, sinus infections, and even migraines are sometimes blamed when it is actually an impacted wisdom tooth.


As the teeth come in, there is often swelling around the base of the new tooth. Gums may be puffy and tender. The inflammation can be severe when wisdom teeth are impacted and trying to force their way through the gums.

Many times the swelling spreads, sometimes to surprising areas. Areas that may swell include the jawline, glands in the neck and shoulders, cheekbones, and sinuses.

Chronic Bad Breath or Unpleasant Taste in the Mouth

If you brush your teeth, use floss, and use breath mints but still can’t get rid of your halitosis (bad breath), the source may be an impacted wisdom tooth. When a tooth is partially erupted or comes in crooked, the area can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Food debris and bacteria may get caught around the base of the tooth, between teeth, and in soft tissue pockets. When these areas are difficult to clean, an infection can flourish, leading to foul-smelling breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth. If the gums are bleeding, you may experience a metallic taste; if there is an infection, you may experience a strong, salty flavor.

If left untreated, any of these symptoms can progress, leading to a severe infection or difficulty opening and closing the mouth. It is important to have your impacted wisdom tooth removed before complications develop that may lead to permanent damage to adjacent teeth, jawbone, or gums.

There is no reason to put up with the symptoms of an infected wisdom tooth. If you have any symptoms of an impacted tooth or teeth, contact our office at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 to schedule an appointment for removal.

Please call us in with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

A Brief History of Dental Implants

Although dental implants are considered one of the latest innovations in dental restoration, you may be surprised to learn that people have been using modern implants for decades. Even more surprising is the centuries-long history of older forms of dental implants made from materials ranging from animal bones to gold. Although there wasn’t much success with these earlier versions of today’s titanium implants, they paved the way for today’s dental implants.

Ancient Implants

The earliest dental implants may have been placed 4,000 years ago, when bamboo pegs were carved and placed in teeth sockets in China. Later, Egyptians cut gold and other precious metals into teeth and pegged them into place. Different cultures used shells, animal bones, and even the teeth pulled from corpses to replace missing teeth. For the most part, these foreign objects were rejected by the jawbone, although there is evidence that they were occasionally successful.

The 1800s – 1900s

By the 1800s, doctors were experimenting with various materials for dental implants, such as porcelain and silver. None of these materials were successful because they didn’t fuse with the surrounding jawbone. In 1913, Dr. E.J. Greenfield used gold cylinders as dental implants with some positive results, although rejection of the implant still occurred in many patients.

Drs. Moses and Alvin Strock began using Vitallium, a bio-compatible metal, for dental implants after noting its successful use for hip implants. These pioneering doctors are regarded as the first modern implant surgery. In 1947, Drs. F. Zepponi and Manlio Formiggini developed an implant with a screw shape that provided greater stability for dental restorations. This screw-shaped form is still used today.

Modern Titanium Implants

In the 1950s, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Per-Ingvar Brånemark implanted titanium into a rabbit’s femur and realized that it had fused with the bone through a process called osseointegration. In 1965, Dr. Brånemark placed his first titanium dental implant in a patient. The procedure was a success, launching the modern dental implant industry.

During the following decades, titanium implants continued to evolve. Various dental professionals and researchers adapted the original design. Sandblasting and etching of the implant surface encouraged improved osseointegration, and new shapes and sizes allowed for more customized fits.

Today’s Dental Implants

Over the last several decades, dental implants have taken on a wide range of shapes, sizes, and textures for an increasingly personalized fit and better osseointegration. Today, hundreds of dental implant options are available with success rates in the 90% range.

 Today’s dental implants can:

  • Restore your ability to eat, speak, and chew comfortably
  • Preserve facial contours
  • Help reduce jawbone deterioration
  • Create a natural-looking smile

Dr. Szutz keeps current with the latest innovations in dental implant design and surgical techniques in order to provide his patients with the safest, most effective solutions available. Contact Alaska Oral Surgery Group at Alaska Oral Surgery Group Phone Number 907-278-5678 to schedule a dental implant con

Important Facts About Dental Implants

Dental implants are increasingly popular with individuals with one or more missing teeth. However, many people considering them have understandable concerns. Dental implant placement is an invasive surgical procedure and requires a lengthy time commitment. It’s essential to have the facts to make an informed choice regarding whether implants are the right teeth replacement option for you.

Fact #1: Dental Implants Have a Great Track Record

Many patients are surprised to learn that modern dental implants have been around for 50 years. In 1965, the first titanium implant was successfully placed in a human volunteer. Since then, the technique has been perfected in several ways. Millions of people have received dental implants since the 1960s, and the number is increasing yearly. In fact, the success rate of dental implants is in the 90% range, which is extremely impressive.

Fact #2: Titanium is the Best Implant Material

At Alaska Oral Surgery Group, we use titanium implants. Although zirconia implants are also available, titanium is the most popular material due to its strength, durability, and biocompatibility. Although metal allergies can cause problems with some metals, titanium is a non-reactive metal that very few people are allergic to. It is the same metal that has been used for decades in hip and knee replacements and, when used in implants, can withstand the crushing force of chewing.

Fact #3: Dental Implants are Almost as Strong as Natural Teeth

No other type of teeth replacement is as strong as dental implants. Your natural teeth can withstand the incredible biting force that dental bridges and dentures cannot provide. However, titanium implants restore most of that bite force. The implants are light, and strong, and they fuse with your jawbone.

Fact #4: Dental Implants Preserve Facial Structure

Regaining the ability to eat what you like is just the beginning with implants. The osseointegration of the implants with the jawbone prevents deterioration of the jawbone. When teeth are missing, the aveolar bone can lose up to 25% of its mass within a year, leading to a sunken appearance that prematurely ages you. If all or most of your teeth are missing, your cheeks can also develop a gaunt look. However, dental implants help maintain the natural shape of your face.

Fact #5: Dental Implants Mean No More Cavities

Dental implants support crowns or dental prosthetics that look and perform like your natural teeth. These restorations may be made of porcelain or other durable materials that mimic the appearance of tooth enamel. Because they are artificial, you never have to worry about getting cavities or tooth decay. However, you still need to brush and floss daily to prevent gum disease.

Fact #6: You Can Get Dental Implants Even If Your Teeth Have Been Missing for Years

Even if you have been previously told you can’t get implants because you’ve been wearing dentures for years, you should get a second opinion. Recent advancements in implant surgery and the use of bone grafting to build up the jawbone mean many patients who have been turned down in the past can now get dental implants.

Dr. Szutz is an expert in the placement of dental implants and can answer your questions regarding the procedure and whether it is right for you. Call our office at 907-278-5678 to schedule a consultation to learn more about dental implants.





Dental Implant or Dentures?

Missing teeth interfere with your ability to eat, speak, and smile with comfort and confidence. Missing teeth also lead to the deterioration of your jawbone. If you are missing all or most of your teeth and are considering replacement teeth, two popular options include dental implants and dentures. While both replace an entire set of missing teeth, you should consider several key differences before choosing one or the other.


Dentures and implants both replace missing teeth, but dental implants are the only permanent solution. Once implants are placed and have time to integrate with your jawbone they provid a stable base for crowns or dental prosthetics that mimic the look and function of your natural teeth. Dentures typically last 5-10 years before needing replacement. During that time, they may need to be relined as often as every two years for comfort.


Dental implants are an excellent choice if you want a solution to missing teeth that is convenient because they do not require special care. Once the implants and restorations are in place, you care for them like natural teeth, brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. Dentures must be removed at night and when you clean them. You will also have to use special cleansers and keep them in water when not wearing them.

If you travel frequently or have overnight guests, dentures can be awkward because you have to take them out at night. Dental implants are not removed by patients and look great all hours of the day and night.


Properly fitted dentures can be comfortable, but it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. As a result, many people find dentures don’t fit comfortably and interfere with eating certain foods. Getting food debris caught under your dentures is unpleasant. Dentures that slip or shift can be embarrassing and interfere with speaking clearly as well as eating. Dentures also put extra pressure on your gums, absorbing the force of your bite, which can irritate the gums. Dental implants transfer chewing forces to bone.

Dental implants are more comfortable in the long run because they fuse with the jawbone, becoming an integral part of the mouth. You can eat foods you like without worrying about your new teeth slipping or shifting. However, there is more discomfort after implant surgery. You will experience some pain and swelling during the healing process. You will also need to eat a soft diet for a few weeks to avoid compromising the healing process.


Both dentures and dental implants look like natural teeth, but implants minimize the signs of aging in the face in ways dentures can’t. As you age, your face loses facial volume. If you wear dentures, this can be more noticeable because your jawbone deteriorates where natural teeth are missing. This contributes to a sunken appearance. Dental implants preserve the strength and mass of the jawbone, helping retain facial volume.


The cost of dental implants may be a sticking point for some people. Implant placement is an invasive surgical procedure. By contrast, dentures are relatively inexpensive when purchased. Over time, however, the cost difference narrows.

Dentures require frequent relining (usually every two years) to ensure a good fit and need replacement every 5-10 years. If you wear them for twenty years, you will pay a significant amount to replace and repair them. The cost of special denture cleaners is also a consideration.

Although there are benefits and drawbacks to both dentures and dental implants, most people prefer dental implants. We can answer your questions and explain the process if you are considering dental implants to replace your missing teeth. Making an informed decision is the first step toward successful, comfortable replacement teeth that last a lifetime. Contact our office at 907-278-5678 to schedule a consultation.





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