If you are about to get dental implants, or just have gotten one, you might be wondering what to eat after dental implant surgery. While dental implants are extremely durable, you need to be very careful in the initial phase after your surgery.
In this article, you will learn what to eat after dental implant surgery and what not to eat. You will also find some useful tips along the way!
What to eat after dental implant surgery?
Depending on where you are in your recovery process post-surgery, the type of foods you can consume changes.
Immediately after dental implant surgery, consuming liquids or very soft foods is the best way to go. You might be hungry at this stage, as you need to stop eating for 6 hours or more before the surgery. An hour after the surgery, you can take out the gauzes placed in your mouth and start eating. But at this point and the following days, your mouth will be very sensitive. Therefore, it is important to stick to very soft food and cold-lukewarm liquids at this stage.
Some examples of foods could be:
- Cold–lukewarm smooth soups
- Protein & calcium drinks
- Ice cream
- Cream of wheat
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed potatoes
Consuming these foods will not require too much chewing. Your mouth will be numb because of any anesthetics used during the surgery. Not chewing during this phase will prevent you from biting down on your tongue or cheeks.
After the first week of your surgery, you can move on from the no-chewing foods to more of a variety. Some foods you can consume during this period are:
- Soft bread
- Steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, squash, etc
- Eggs (either scrambled or as an omelet)
If everything is on track and you don’t have any complaints, you can have more chewy and hard foods in your diet after 2-3 weeks of surgery. These can be:
- Ground beef
- Fish like salmon, cod, halibut, etc.
- Raw vegetables & fruits
When you introduce meat into your diet again, go slowly. First, try to consume softer meat types like chicken or fish. Fish like salmon, cod, or halibut, as mentioned above, are usually very tender. Fish also contain Omega-3 fatty acids along with protein. These acids can reduce the inflammation that happens in your gums post-surgery. The protein in them will also help heal and rebuild the tissue while the inflammation goes down.
Tips to Spice Up and/or Balance Your Soft Food Routine:
Yummy smoothies: When you cannot chew your favorite food, drinking it might be the next best thing! Smoothies are filling meals that you can make with whatever fruits or vegetables you want. They contain lots of vitamins and contain a lot of nutritional value.
Protein, protein, protein: You may not be able to consume protein sources like meats and nuts for a while. But that does not mean you cannot incorparate other foods and supplement to your soft food diet. These include protein powder, avocados, peanut butter, eggs, beans and legumes, whole grains like couscous and quinoa, yogurt, soft cheeses, etc.
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, and easy to chew. They also contain vitamin D and phosphorus. Both are crucial in maintaining your dental health. Vitamin D makes the absorption of calcium more efficient and therefore helps to make teeth strong. Phosphorus is a mineral that helps to keep your teeth healthy.
Out with the orange, in with the potato!: Instead of oranges, try sweet potatoes for Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are very rich in Vitamin C, which improves gum health. You also can prepare them in a very soft way. This makes them an excellent choice for both their texture and nutritional value to eat during recovery.
Green magic: As we all know by know, leafy greens are the holy grail of healthy foods. They are also great for when you need a nutrition filled meal with a soft texture. Leafy greens contain a significant amount of calcium, which is extremely beneficial for teeth and bone health. You can saute them in a healthy oil of your choice (like olive oil or avocado oil) or steam them for a simple, healthy meal.
Which foods to NOT eat during the healing period
During the first week after your dental implant procedure, you should absolutely not consume the following foods:
- Anything with a hard shell
- Raw vegetables
- Gummy bears
- Hard to chew pastries
- Spicy foods containing hot peppers or hot sauce
- Hot liquids
- Sunflower seeds,
These kinds of foods, whether they are chewy, sticky, hard, acidic, or spicy, will irritate your gums, the natural tooth enamel, and the surgery site. While in the most sensitive healing period, which is the first week, stay clear of these types of food.
Other Things to avoid with your implants:
Straws: Drinking with a straw might put pressure on your implant area because of the suction.
Smoking: It is fundamental that you do not smoke, at least for the first week of the recovery process. You can find out more about this topic here: How Long After Dental Implant Surgery Can I Smoke?
Alcohol: Do not consume alcoholic beverages for a few days as they might irritate and dry out your gums/implant area.
Some things to keep in mind:
While sticking to the soft food diet, it is important to be careful about your nutritional intake. You will need to consume foods that can help you to recover as fast as possible.Try to be mindful of your essential nutritional intake and pay attention to consuming foods which are high in protein. The reason you should consume protein-rich foods is protein in very helpful for your body in healing process. It builds and heals the tissues which the dental implant procedure might have harmed. It also boosts the body’s immune system and helps to fight infection. During the recovery period, you might want to consume more protein than the usual amount you eat.
While you may not have a great appetite after your dental implant surgery, it is important to eat and take in the nutrition you need in order to recover fully. Perhaps you do have an appetite but are afraid to damage your implants. As long as you stick to what your doctor advises and tips we have mentioned above, you will be safe to eat. Try not to skip any meals. And if you have any previous conditions like diabetes, you will need to consider any implications this new diet may have on your body. Always and always consult with your dentist and other related specialists about your new eating restrictions & diet. Check your glucose levels frequently to make sure you are healthy and not prone to infections.
Do not bite down on foods, cut them in small pieces before you eat them.
And of course, don’t forget to hydrate! It will keep your immune system healthy.
Why no dairy after dental implants?
The aftercare of dental implants is crucial for their longevity and to avoid post-surgery complications. Your diet matters a lot, particularly if you recently got implants. Along with the instructions of avoiding hard and chewy foods, dentists also advise against having foods that may irritate the gums. The gums surrounding the implant can be irritated by spicy foods and dairy foods.
The other reason why dentists advise against having dairy foods is their tendency of causing nausea and vomiting. If a patient vomits after or during the surgery, the implant site is exposed to stomach acid, making it vulnerable to various infections.
Dairy foods one must avoid after getting a dental implant may include raw milk, cheeses, yogurt, etc. If you suffer from acid reflux and stomach issues, dairy foods tend to exacerbate them so you should avoid them, especially if you are in recovery mode after implant surgery. During this period, it would be better for you to switch to alternative calcium-rich foods such as green veggies including spinach, okra, etc., and easy-to-digest foods such as canned salmon. There is a whole sea of foods you can try for a healthy and safe recovery from dental implant surgery. For further information, consult your dentist so they can instruct you on what foods to avoid so you can easily return to normalcy after the surgery.
A taste of our sample three meals a day you can eat after the first recovery period:
Breakfast: Blended oatmeal with banana and cinnamon
Lunch: Baked and shredded chicken with soft rice and hummus
Snack: Quick smoothie with dates and seasonal fruits
Dinner: Lentil soup, mac & cheese and baked fish
If you want to be fancier with your menu, here is one to up your soft food game: Breakfast: A soft veggie omelet or a breakfast smoothie
Lunch: Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli with parmesan
Snack: Yogurt and blueberries
Dinner: Grilled salmon with garlic and rosemary, mashed potatoes, and steamed vegetables
When you get your implant surgery at our clinic, Dentfix Turkey, we give you a sample diet menu for the weeks following the surgery. In this three-week diet menu, you can find the nutritional value of each meal and compare and adjust the list of meals to the foods you like with the same nutritional value. We adjust this list of meals according to your dietary restrictions, so if you are vegan, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant or allergic to any foods, we will create a custom diet for you.
Dentists usually recommend that you follow the ‘soft food diet’ for up to three months after the dental implant surgery. However, the length of this time will depend on how fast or slow you are adjusting to implants and recovering from the surgery. Consult your dentist to be sure before you can move on to a diet that would contain harder or more chewy foods.