If you’ve received dental implant surgery, the chances are that you’ve lived with painful, decayed, or missing teeth for a while now. Dental implants are the only treatment that can fully restore your ability to function as if you had your full set of original teeth and have the longest lifespan of restoration treatments. But before you can get back to eating, smiling, and talking without worry, there’s one more hurdle to overcome: the time it takes for your mouth to heal after surgery.
During this time, your diet will have to change to accommodate the implant and ensure that the surgery site heals properly, but don’t worry! The Champagne Dental Team has put together a guide to walk you through what to eat after dental implant surgery and what to expect in the days and weeks to come.
Can You Eat After Dental Implant Surgery?
The simple answer is yes, of course, you can eat after your procedure—but your diet after dental implants might look a little different than what you’re used to. Dental implants are technically major surgery, which involves embedding a titanium post into the jaw bone that then holds the dental prostheses. It’s very important that the bone and muscle around the implant are given adequate time to heal and fully accept the new titanium post and certain foods can dislodge your implant before it has time to heal properly.
The healing schedule can be broken down into the first 24-48 hours after surgery, and the weeks and months after that.
What to Eat in the Days After Dental Implant Surgery?
In the 24-48 hours after your operation, the implant will be at its most vulnerable state, and you may also be experiencing some swelling and pain in the soft tissues around the incision site. For this reason, you must avoid chewing anything that puts pressure on the implant site. This also includes drinking anything through a straw, which can create negative pressure in your mouth and affect the implant.
Stick to soft, cold foods in the period immediately following your surgery. Foods like smoothies sipped from a glass, cold soups eaten with a spoon, or even ice cream are safe for your implant—and the temperature can have a soothing effect on the inflammation in your mouth. Some ideal foods during this time include:
- Fruit juice
Choose foods with optimal vitamins and minerals to help with the recovery process and your energy levels in the time after your operation.
What to Eat in the Weeks and Months After Dental Implant Surgery?
If you find yourself wondering, “how long after dental implants can I eat normally?” The answer is, unfortunately, about three months. While you won’t be on a strict liquid diet that whole time, it’s important to stick to soft foods that require minimal effort to chew—but ones that still provide plenty of nutrition to aid your recovery. You may also be wearing a temporary prosthesis during this time, which won’t be made to handle hard, crunchy, or sticky food. Some ideas for soft foods after dental surgery include:
Eggs and omelets—soft and nutritious, eggs are an ideal recovery food and you can add plenty of vegetables and seasoning to make a healthy omelet.
Dairy products—milk, cheese, and yogurt contain lots of calcium and protein that aid in healing and are generally beneficial for your teeth.
Potatoes—because of their nutrients and the variety of ways to cook them, potatoes can give you plenty of options when trying to come up with ideas for new meals.
Meat—after the first week, you can start to slowly reintroduce meat into your diet. Fish, chicken, and ground beef can be seasoned, finely chopped, and added to a variety of dishes.
Anything that feels soft to the touch—fruits like bananas or peaches, steamed vegetables, certain soft bread, pasta, and oatmeal are all healthy, implant-safe options.
Foods to Avoid After Dental Implant Surgery
Eating certain foods in the weeks and months after surgery can disrupt the healing process and may even require additional surgery to fix a dislodged implant. While it can be annoying to give up some of your favorite snacks, it’s best to avoid these types of foods for the duration of your healing time.
- Spicy food
- Chips, popcorn, and other crunchy foods
- Fruits and vegetables with tough rinds or stems
- Soup, coffee, or other liquids served exceedingly hot
- Sticky foods like taffy and caramel
- Foods with plenty of acid like tomatoes or citrus fruits
- Bagels, gummy candy, and especially chewy foods
The Importance of Good Nutrition After Dental Implant Surgery
With all of the rules in place for your post-op diet, it can seem difficult to find the right meals at the right time, but it’s important to keep up a good diet to improve your recovery time and energy levels in the months after your surgery. Eating nutritious meals, especially those with plenty of protein, provides your body with the materials to build new tissues and fully accept your new dental implant. Some of the best tips for staying healthy with your new diet include:
- Eat and drink regularly to maintain your energy levels and keep you in overall better physical condition.
- If you are struggling to find enough protein with your post-op eating habits, use a powdered or liquid protein supplement with or between meals.
- Stick to the post-dental implant diet. Even if you are bored or frustrated with what may seem like limited options, adhering to a soft-food diet for the prescribed amount of time is better for your health and comfort in the long run.
Dental implant surgery comes with some fairly major life changes, but keep in mind that these are temporary, and when your healing is complete you will have a new, brighter, more functional smile! Champagne Family Dentistry offers dental implants as one of our many options for restorative dentistry and we’ll be here to help you with every step of the surgical and healing process. Call or schedule an appointment today to learn more!