Eating After Dental Implants: What to Avoid and What to Enjoy

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Dental implants are small posts of metal (titanium or zirconia) inserted in your jawbone through minor surgery. They aim to provide a strong foundation for a prosthetic tooth that replaces a missing tooth. While it is not a high-maintenance dental treatment, you must be careful with what you eat with dental implants.

This blog post will explain the details of this surgical procedure and provide a list of foods that are safe to eat with implants and foods that should be avoided.

 

young adult woman have a visit in the dentist clinic. conception of stomatology

 

What Happens During a Dental Implant Procedure?

The dental implant process consists of the following steps:

  • Your dentist will give you local anaesthesia to numb the area where your implant will be placed. Dentists may sometimes recommend sedatives or general anaesthesia if the patient has severe dental anxiety or a complex medical condition. 

  • An incision is made in your gum to expose the jawbone, and a hole is drilled where the implant post will be inserted. Your dentist will then place the post and close the incision with sutures. 

  • Your dentist will place a temporary removable complete or partial denture or a bridge you can use as your implant heals and integrates with the bone.

  • Before leaving the clinic, your dentist will provide detailed post-op instructions, including foods to avoid while recovering from dental implant surgery.

  • After a few months, when the metal post is fully integrated into your jawbone, an abutment will be placed. This will require another minor surgery wherein your dentist will open your gums again to expose the implant and attach the abutment. The abutment is a connector piece that will join the prosthesis to the implant. After its placement, the gum tissue will be closed around, but not above, the abutment.

  • An impression of your teeth will be taken to be used for the fabrication of your prosthesis. Depending on the number of teeth to be replaced, the prosthesis could be a denture, dental bridge, or crown.

  • Once your prosthesis is ready, your dentist will attach it to the abutment and make adjustments if necessary. After that, you’ll be ready to enjoy your new smile.

Will I Be Able to Eat Properly after the Dental Implant Placement?

For the first week after your oral surgery, you may not be able to eat properly because of the swelling and soreness of your gums. Also, you must be careful not to chew on the affected area as it can cause the implant to move and disrupt the healing process. In the coming weeks, it’s safe to slowly return to your regular eating habits, being sure to take caution.

What Can I Eat After Having Dental Implants?

If you’ve just had dental implants, here is a list of foods to eat to prevent any post-op complications:

First 24 to 48 Hours

Eat liquid and soft foods that don’t require heavy chewing, including:

  • Soup
  • Broths
  • Protein drinks
  • Smoothies
  • Ice cream
  • Fruit or vegetable juices
  • Fruit ice and popsicles

Day 3 to 7

You can slowly progress to semi-solid foods, such as:

  • Mashed pumpkins, potatoes, or bananas
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Salmon
  • Finely chopped vegetables
  • Soft bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta

Week 2 to 4

You can start eating solid foods but remember to avoid hard, crunchy, sticky, and chewy foods. Also, cut these foods into small pieces so they don’t require much chewing. These include:

  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Poultry
  • Meats
  • Fish
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Soft fruits like berries and peaches
  • Fibrous raw vegetables

What Food Should I Not Eat With Dental Implants?

Here are the foods to avoid with dental implants:

  • Hot food and beverages. This should be avoided for the first 2-3 days to prevent wound bleeding. 
  • Hard and crunchy foods like chips and nuts
  • Sugary candies
  • Sticky sweets like toffee and caramel
  • Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, Etc.
  • Acidic foods like tomatoes
  • Hot and spicy foods, including curries

It’s worth noting that these foods should also be avoided even after the implant has healed, as they can damage your implant over time.

How Long Does It Take To Recover After Dental Implant Surgery?

The recovery process differs from person to person depending on the patient’s immune system, implant care, and the complexity of their dental surgery. Most patients can go back to work or school after a day or two, but some need more time. In most cases, it takes 2-4 weeks to recover fully after a dental implant procedure. During this period, swelling and soreness should subside, and you should be able to resume your regular diet and activities.

The implant usually takes 3 to 6 months to fuse with the bone. Once this osseointegration process is completed, the next step of the implant procedure can begin.

What Are the Consequences of Not Observing These Dietary Instructions?

Not following the appropriate measures for eating with dental implants can lead to complications, which can include:

  • Infection. Infection is caused by bacteria from food particles stuck in the implant area.

  • Pain or discomfort. This may be due to overstretching of the gum tissue.

  • Displacement of the implant. Displacement can cause long-term problems with function and aesthetics.

  • Delayed healing. Longer healing time results from not being able to keep the wound clean. Diabetic patients and smokers are also prone to delayed wound healing.

  • Damage to the implant. Dental implants can be damaged due to chewing or biting on them while they are still not fully healed.

You can avoid these problems by following your dentist’s advice on what to eat after dental implants. It’s also important to ask questions if you are unsure which food to avoid.

Aside From Making Dietary Changes, How Can I Take Care of My Implants?

In addition to being careful with what to eat, below are a few measures you can take to help your dental implants last longer:

  • Practice good oral hygiene.
    Brush twice a day, floss once daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash. This helps eliminate bacteria and plaque that can cause infection.

  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning.
    This allows your dentist to monitor the healing process and check for any signs of infection or damage. Professional cleaning also removes stubborn plaque and tartar that can’t be removed by brushing alone.

  • Wear a mouthguard if you have the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth.
    This helps protect your implants and natural teeth from excessive wear and tear.

  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
    These habits can weaken your jawbone, increase the risk of infection, and reduce implant longevity.

 

Final Thoughts

Dental implants are excellent tooth replacement options for those who have missing teeth. It is more durable and long-lasting than other replacement teeth. However, despite the durability of this artificial tooth, you must be mindful of what to eat with dental implants immediately following surgery, throughout the recovery period, and while they are in place. Following dietary and proper care instructions can help extend your dental implants’ lifespan.

Call us now if you are considering this dental procedure and want to know if you are a good candidate or still have concerns.

Ellen Stirling Dental is a modern clinic with the latest dental technology that helps us provide quality dental care services, including tooth implants. We have a team of dentists with years of experience performing this procedure. We will assess your oral health during your implant consultation and determine if you are a good candidate. We will sit down with you and discuss the procedure and inform you about how dental implants can affect your food choices. We can also recommend other treatment options if you are not eligible.

Frequently Asked Questions

The dental surgery itself doesn’t hurt because you will be given anaesthesia to numb the area. But after the effects of the anaesthesia wear off, pain and discomfort will be more evident. Your dentist will prescribe over-the-counter pain medications to help manage the pain. You may also use ice packs for the first 24 hours to help with the pain and swelling.

Your dentist can insert your dental implant immediately after a tooth extraction if you have healthy gums and adequate jawbone structure. However, same-day dental implants are more technique sensitive and have stricter eligibility criteria. Ask your dentist about this procedure so they can determine if you are a good candidate.

The cost of dental implants differs, depending on your location and dentist, whether or not you have health funds, whether you need additional procedures (such as tooth extraction, bone graft or sinus lift), and how many implants you need. On average, dental implants cost $4,000 to $6,000 per tooth. This may go lower or higher, so ask your dentist for a more accurate quote.

Not everybody with missing teeth can have dental implants. If you have health conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or take medications that can impede healing, you may not be a good candidate for this treatment. Also, while smoking doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting implants, it can reduce the success rate of your implant. Thus, it is always a good idea to quit if you smoke. In addition, if you have gum disease or insufficient bone density due to bone loss, your dentist needs to address these before pursuing dental implant treatments. Talk to your dentist about your eligibility for dental implants.

 

Dr. Rachit Shah

Author

Dr. Rachit Shah

Dr. Rachit Shah has a caring and holistic approach to your healthcare. He brings a gentle and modern approach to dentistry; one aimed to create a painless and anxiety-free experience whilst using conservative methods to create long-lasting and highly aesthetic smiles.

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