Dental implants are a quality, long-term solution to provide a full set of replacement teeth that appear natural. In addition to improved aesthetics, they help to ensure proper speech and the ability to eat the foods that you enjoy. More importantly, dental implants prevent the deterioration of the jaw that occurs when all of the teeth are missing and are a superior alternative to conventional dentures.
After the implants have fully integrated with the bone, you will be back to eating as normal. However, for the first few months following implant surgery, you will be on a soft diet. Essentially, this means you will need to stay away from foods that are hard to chew or that are crunchy. Below are basic guidelines for you to follow after your dental implant procedure.
The First 24 to 48 Hours
During the first 24 to 48 hours your diet should be limited to cool liquids. You should avoid anything hot or even warm during this time. Smoothies without any seeds in them will be a good option during this phase of your recovery.
Important Tip to Keep in Mind
It is also important to note that you should not use a straw or water bottles that require suction for at least two weeks after the procedure. If you have had bone grafting or sinus exposure, your oral surgeon may tell you to abstain from using straws and suction bottles for at least one month. As always, listen to the instructions provided by your oral surgeon.
Week #1 After Dental Implant Surgery
During the first week after having your surgery (after the first 24 to 48 hours), you will need to eat only foods that do not require chewing. Fortunately, you will find a wide range of different types of food that can provide you with the nutrition you need and that happen to taste good, as well.
Some of the foods and drinks you will want to consider during this period include:
- Soup (without anything that requires chewing)
- Smoothies containing fruits and vegetables (avoid anything with added seeds)
- Cottage cheese
- Fruit juice
- Apple sauce
- Ice cream or frozen yogurt
Week #2 Onward
On the second week after undergoing dental implant surgery, the types of food you can eat will begin to expand. These foods can be eaten until you have received your bridge. Talk with your oral surgeon about how long this will be for you. The types of food listed here do not have to be liquid or near liquid, but they should still be soft and easy to chew.
Some of the types of food that you can choose, in addition to those mentioned for the first week, include:
- Soft fruit (avoid harder fruits and those with seeds)
- Steamed or boiled vegetables (they should be soft and easy to cut with a fork)
- Broiled fish
- Soft bread
- Soft pasta
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
When You Are Fully Healed
Once you have fully healed and you have your new implants, you can start to go back to normal in terms of your diet. This means you can return to eating all of your favorite foods. The healing process can vary from one person to the next. However, it will typically be between three to eight months. Depending on whether there were bone grafts, for example, the process can take longer. Talk with your oral surgeon or dentist to get a better estimate of how long your recovery process should take.
Even if you feel that you are missing your favorite foods, you must follow the guidelines to ensure proper healing. Otherwise, you could cause damage to the implants or your new replacement teeth.
Foods You Need to Avoid After Dental Implant Surgery
During your healing and recovery phase, you must avoid certain types of food no matter how tempting it might be. Stay away from hard, crusty bread, pizza crusts, gum, hard candy, peanut brittle, raw vegetables and apples (and other hard fruit), foods that are too hot, sandwiches, corn on the cob, and granola. Essentially, anything that is hard or chewy should be avoided until you have healed completely.
Eating Properly with Dental Implants
Keep in mind that you still need to ensure you are getting all of the proper nutrients during this time. If you feel that you are not getting proper nutrients, you may want to add some supplements to your diet. For example, many find that getting enough protein can be difficult when they are not eating as much meat as before. A good way to ensure that you receive enough daily protein is to add some protein powder to a smoothie.
Keep track of the nutrients you are getting and how you feel during the healing process. Once you get your permanent prosthesis, you will be able to get back to all of those foods you love to eat.
Talk with Your Oral Surgeon
When preparing for your dental implant surgery, your oral surgeon will provide you with the instructions needed along with information on what you can expect before, during, and after the procedure. Always follow the guidelines provided, and be sure to ask any questions related to the procedure that you might have. To schedule a consultation, find an oral surgeon near you or contact Maryland Center for Oral Surgery if you live in Baltimore or the surrounding areas.