Are you considering getting dental implants, or have recently undergone dental implant surgery, and are wondering what you can eat after the procedure? Considering dental implant surgery is a fairly major operation, the recovery afterward is usually no easy walk in the park. However, there are a few steps you can take to make sure your post-operative recovery goes as smoothly as possible!
Furthermore, taking the right measures after dental implant surgery is essential for the overall success of the treatment, as eating the wrong foods may disrupt the implant integration process (which is medically referred to as osseointegration).
To learn what foods you can and cannot eat after dental implant surgery, as well as what your post-op recovery may look like, use our helpful guide below.
Dental Implant Recovery Tips from Our Doctors
What You Can Eat After Dental Implant Surgery
It is important to stick to a soft-food diet after dental implant surgery, as the teeth and jaw are incredibly delicate during this time. By not overworking your jaw or possibly damaging the dental implant area, you will speed up your healing and recovery time, so you can get out into the world and show off your new smile!
Immediately After the Surgery
Directly after the surgery, you will not be able to eat anything, as your mouth will likely be filled with gauze sponges to stop the bleeding. It is important to leave the gauze in for as long as your doctor recommends, as this is important for post-operative healing.
Once you get the green light to remove the gauze, you can start adding in food again. Taking care of your mouth and eating a cool, liquid-based diet in the first 24-48 hours after the surgery is crucial for optimal recovery.
Here are the foods our doctors recommend immediately after dental implant surgery:
- Protein Shakes
- Fresh Juices
- Cool, Smooth Soups
- Cold Broths
- Meal Replacement Drinks
- Ample Amounts of Liquid to Stay Hydrated
Furthermore, our doctors at the Oral and Facial Surgery of Naperville recommend staying away from piping hot liquids, as this can irritate the gum tissue and complicate recuperation.
Additionally, when consuming liquids, it is essential you do not use a straw or a water bottle that requires suctioning during your recovery period. The suction puts pressure on your mouth and dental implants, which can disrupt the healing process.
The Week After the Surgery
In the first five to seven days after your dental implant surgery, we recommend following a gentle, “no-chew” diet filled with soft foods and lots of liquids.
As your new dental implants continue to integrate with your jaw and your mouth continues to recuperate, it is important to choose not only soft foods but also protein- and nutrient-rich foods to speed up the healing process.
Fruits & Vegetables
As mentioned above, including highly nutritious fruits and vegetables into your diet after a dental implant procedure is essential for optimal healing. Our doctors advise eating soft fruits with no seeds, which might get stuck in your teeth, and steamed or boiled vegetables with a soft texture.
Fruits and vegetables you can eat after getting dental implants may include, but are not limited to:
- Potatoes (Mashed or Steamed)
- Carrots (Mashed, Steamed or Boiled)
Grains & Bread
Before eating grains, which are necessary for digestion and nutrient absorption, make sure to cook them sufficiently. This will help to soften any heartier grains, such as oatmeal or couscous. Our doctors recommend including the following grains in your recovery phase:
- Cream of Wheat
- Soft Bread
- Pancakes and Waffles
Making sure you are getting in enough protein after dental implant surgery is essential for optimal healing, as this macronutrient helps build and repair tissue.
However, when most think of protein, the first thing that comes to mind is meat. But there are a number of other foods you can eat to easily meet your protein intake levels. Foods high in protein and recommended after dental implant surgery include:
- Scrambled Eggs
- Cottage Cheese
- Soft Beans
- Legumes (i.e., Lentils)
Additionally, if you are someone who loves to sip on cool and refreshing smoothies, try adding in protein powder or blending soft nuts into your smoothies for a boost in protein!
Other Soft Foods to Eat After Dental Implant Surgery
There are a number of other soft and easy to chew foods you can begin to add back into your diet in the weeks following dental implant surgery. For instance, Jell-O, ice cream and milkshakes, smoothie bowls (great source of nutrients and no straw required!), pudding, meal replacement drinks, and popsicles.
Over The Next Few Weeks
In the first few weeks following your dental implant surgery, the osseointegration process (the dental implants integrating with your jaw) is still ongoing. In fact, this process gradually occurs in the three to six months after the surgery. Thus, it is essential to continue watching what you eat and avoiding certain foods to ensure the integration is not interrupted.
That said, once you have surpassed the first couple of weeks following your dental implant surgery, you can start to introduce a more normal range of foods into your daily diet. This may include foods like softer meats, such as shredded chicken or fish, and cooked grains, like pasta and rice.
Ultimately, the best course of action to take during your dental implant recovery period is to listen to your doctor. He or she will let you know when it is safe for you to return to a normal diet, so you can start eating your favorite foods again!
What Foods to Avoid After Dental Implant Surgery
One big question our doctors get at the Oral and Facial Surgery of Naperville is what foods to avoid after receiving dental implants. It is important to stay away from heavy, dense, or crunchy foods that require a lot of chewing, which could potentially alter and disrupt the implants.
Our doctors recommend avoiding foods such as:
- Tough foods, like steak, raw vegetables, and raw apples.
- Crunchy foods, like granola, popcorn, pretzels, chips, or taco shells.
- Sticky foods, like toffee, gummy candies, caramel, or dried fruit snacks.
- Extremely spicy foods, like chili peppers, hot sauce, and spicy salsa.
- Highly acidic foods, like citrus fruits, vinegar, and tomatoes.
- Foods with small, loose pieces, like seedy fruit, vegetables, and bread.
- Sugary foods, like soda, junk food, and sweets.
- Extremely hot or extremely cold food and drinks.
Back to Normal Eating
As mentioned above, your doctor or oral surgeon will give you the go-ahead as to when you can start adding in more hard and crunchy foods, or when you can return to your normal eating patterns.
The good news is that while the recovery period after receiving dental implants can be long and tedious, you will find your new smile to be well worth the wait! Not to mention, there is a variety of delicious foods you can eat and enjoy after the recovery process is complete.
Our Favorite Dental Implants Recovery Recipes
Here are a few links to some of our favorite recipes you can enjoy after receiving dental implants! These recipes are simple to make, nutritious, and delicious.
Dental Implant Surgery Food FAQs
There are so many questions our patients have regarding eating after dental implant surgery. To help you get a better understanding of what your meals and eating habits might look like after receiving dental implants, read through our food FAQs section below, where our doctors answer the most common questions people have.
When can you eat normally after getting dental implants?
Our doctors find the full recovery period takes around 3 to 6 months. However, some may experience a slower healing process, and it can up to 9 months for the dental implants to fully integrate.
Once the dental implants are completely integrated, and the mouth is fully healed, you should be able to return to normal eating.
Can you eat nuts with dental implants?
Yes, but very carefully. And only after the dental implants have fully integrated and the recovery period is complete. While you do not need to completely give up nuts, make sure to choose a softer variety, such as cashews or walnuts.
Can you drink coffee with dental implants?
Yes, but our doctors recommend rinsing your mouth and lightly brushing your teeth afterward. This is because dental implants tend to be more susceptible to staining. It is also important to note this recommendation also applies to other acidic drinks, such as red wine, black tea, and other types of alcohol.
Does food get under dental implants?
When dental implant surgery is performed correctly, food should not get stuck in or get under the implants. At the Oral and Facial Surgery of Naperville, our experienced team will correctly fit and sew in your dental implants to prevent any food or debris from getting under them.
Can you eat popcorn with dental implants?
This depends on the extent of the dental implants. For instance, if you had the replacement of just one tooth, eating popcorn is usually okay. However, if you received a full set of dental implants, the hard parts of popcorn might crack the teeth, as they are not as strong or durable as real teeth.
Does it hurt to eat with dental implants?
While there will likely be some discomfort after the procedure, this is temporary and will go away after a few days. Patients tell us the pain is minimal during the recovery period, which can be managed with OTC pain medication, and afterward, there is no pain when eating their favorite foods with their new dental implants.
Restore Your Smile with Dental Implants
Do you have damaged or missing teeth? We know how important it is to have beautiful, natural-looking teeth that function optimally and help you enjoy eating the foods you love. With dental implants, you can take back your confidence and feel proud to have a smile that lights up the room!
If you are located in Naperville, Aurora, Plainfield, and the greater DuPage County community, the oral surgeons at Oral and Facial Surgery of Naperville are here to help you restore your smile with dental implant surgery!
Find out more about dental implants and the recovery process by getting in touch with our team of experienced doctors today.