Eating after Dental Implant Surgery: What You Need to Know

Eating after Dental Implant Surgery: What You Need to Know

There are many ways to lose a tooth. While it is important to practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist at least every six months, doing so doesn’t guarantee you’ll keep all your teeth throughout life. A tooth can get knocked out due to an accident beyond your control.

That doesn’t mean you have to live without that tooth permanently. An oral surgeon can often provide a substitute in the form of a dental implant. Designed to look and function just like your natural teeth, an implant could easily convince anyone you never lost a tooth to begin with.

Don’t hesitate if your oral surgeon recommends dental implants. The longer you go with a missing tooth, the more likely you are to experience unwanted consequences, such as changes to your facial structure.

Of course, if you are going to undergo dental implant treatment, you may have some questions. For example, patients often wonder what (and when) they’ll be able to eat after the procedure is complete.

It’s important to keep in mind that every patient is different. You need to discuss this topic with your oral surgeon to understand what you should and should not eat after the procedure. They’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, however, the following general points will give you a better understanding of the topic.


Stick to Soft Foods

Virtually all patients will be advised to stick to soft foods and liquids for a period of time after their dental implant surgery. While this period can be as short as a couple of days, there are instances when patients are told to adjust their diets for a few weeks before returning to their normal eating habits. That means you need to be prepared. Knowing what you can eat ahead of time makes it easier to stock up on the necessary items. 

Oral surgeons often recommend protein shakes and fruit smoothies to patients recovering from dental implant surgery. That’s because they deliver essential nutrients and calories in liquid form. That’s ideal when your mouth is still healing. Soup is also another good option for this very reason. That’s not to say you have to avoid solid foods entirely. You may also be able to incorporate foods such as cottage cheese, eggs, and yogurt into your diet plan. 

Start Slowly with Solid Foods

Don’t jump right back into eating solid foods the moment you think you’ve healed. You need to steadily ease them into your diet, paying attention to whether or not they irritate your mouth around the site of your implant. If you do notice pain or irritation, stop eating that food and contact your oral surgeon. He or she may want to take a look at the implant to confirm it isn’t damaged.

Options to consider as you slowly start to add more solid foods back into your diet include macaroni and cheese, cooked fruit, roasted bell peppers, and steamed vegetables. Experiment with combinations of these ingredients if your post-surgery diet isn’t flavorful enough for your tastes. Again, as you heal, you’ll be able to add more foods into the mix, but these are good ideas to consider when first starting out.

That’s a good point to remember in general. The ideas mentioned above are just a few worth considering. It may be worth your time to put together a comprehensive list of relatively soft foods you can eat during the recovery period.

The sooner you put this list together, the sooner you can start working on recipes, ensuring your meals are varied and dynamic as you heal. You’ll be much less tempted to eat solid food before you’re ready if you have a list of recipes featuring the kinds of foods you can eat during this period.


Avoid Debris

Obviously, you don’t want to eat particularly hard, crunchy, or tough foods when recovering from dental implant surgery. However, it’s also important to avoid foods that can leave behind debris between your teeth or in your gums. These include popcorn, seeds, and even some softer options, such as rice. Oral surgeons also recommend refraining from alcohol and tobacco use during your recovery. 

The average patient can typically return to their normal diet about a week after the implant procedure is complete. Just remember that many different factors impact the timeline. Always heed your oral surgeon’s advice, and get in touch with them right away if you notice unexpectedly strong discomfort or swelling as you recover.

Odds are good this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about, but it can happen if you eat the wrong foods. Following this advice (and discussing the topic thoroughly with your oral surgeon) will help ensure your post-surgery experience is a good one.