Dental implant surgery is a complex and delicate procedure that can improve your oral health, restore confidence in your smile, and help you enjoy the foods you love.
Once the surgery is complete, though, it's important to be careful with what you eat so your implants can heal properly. Your teeth might feel tender, discomfort may persist, and you might have some swelling. But this doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up all your favorite foods!
We’ve put together a comprehensive list of soft foods to eat after dental implants so you can make sure your recovery is as smooth as possible.
Dental Implant Recovery Diet: Our Food List
You might know what to expect after dental implant surgery - mushy, soft foods that won’t irritate your mouth. But while eating healthy is vital for overall health, it’s even more crucial after dental implant surgery. Eating a suitable dental implant diet will help your body heal faster and reduce the chance of infection or other complications. After all, the dental implant cost isn’t cheap, so you want to do everything possible to ensure your dental implants last.
Soft foods are the way to go for a few weeks after your procedure. This will give your implants time to heal and decrease the chances of any further discomfort. Here’s a list of some items that are suitable to eat after dental implant surgery:
Smoothies are easy to consume, don't require much chewing, and can be packed with lots of healthy nutrition like fruits and vegetables. Choose low-sugar options that don’t contain any ice or nuts - just make sure it's blended enough so you won't have to chew!
There’s a rainbow of ingredients that contain things that are beneficial to the dental implant duration of the healing process. Leafy greens like spinach are rich in calcium, folic acid, and plenty of other vitamins and minerals that do lots for your gums and teeth. Just add one cup of it to your smoothie and you’ll get 181% of your daily value of vitamin K and folate for red blood cell production.
Popular smoothie fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and mangos are packed with antioxidant vitamins (vitamins C and E, for example) to help protect gums and tissues from infection and cell damage.
Although this might seem odd, ice cream is an excellent option for dental implant recovery. Not only can it help ease pain and reduce swelling, but the cold temperature helps numb your mouth from any discomfort. Your delicate gum tissue will thank you!
If you want a healthier alternative, try frozen yogurt or make your own ice cream at home. You can do this by blending up frozen bananas with almond milk and adding peanut butter, strawberries, cinnamon, or vanilla extract for extra flavor.
Yogurt is a source of protein, calcium and probiotics that are beneficial for digestive health. The creamy texture makes it easy to eat after dental implant surgery, and the taste can be satisfying. Yogurt also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce irritation from your implants.
The probiotics help to balance the microbes in your mouth so the bad bacteria doesn’t lead you down the road to gum disease. So, having a yogurt cup after your surgery might just help soothe your gums for the better.
Pudding or jello are probably the most well-known foods for post-dental implant surgery. It’s an easy way to get some food into your system without having to chew too much. You can make your own pudding with almond or coconut milk and softened chia seeds. Or you can buy pre-made pudding that comes in a variety of flavors.
Mashed potatoes are another sound option for post-dental implant surgery. They’re soft, easy to digest, and full of healthy carbohydrates, which will also keep you full. You can make your own mashed potatoes or try premade brands that are available at the grocery store.
While it’ll help you get your starch fix, a cup of freshly prepared mash also contains 685 milligrams of potassium, as well as calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A. Potassium can help your teeth use calcium more efficiently and increase mineral density.
Soups like butternut squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, or carrot are all good options that provide hydration and nutrients. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own soup with a blender. It might even be a fun activity to do while you’re healing at home. Just make sure that the soup has cooled down before eating.
It’s a good idea to choose ingredients that have natural immune-boosting qualities and vitamins that promote oral health. This might include carrots, leeks, celery, garlic and onions for their anti-inflammatory effects.
Ready-to-drink shakes and protein drinks can help you get the necessary nutrients your body needs to heal. They provide a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats that help nourish your body. These shakes are typically made for people who need to get their nutrition quickly, so they’re perfect for people recovering from dental implant surgery.
Can I Eat After Dental Implants?
Yes! You can and should have food and beverage after dental implant surgery as long as you’re sticking to soft foods, such as mashed potatoes, applesauce, oatmeal, yogurt, and the foods listed above. You should also stay clear of hard or crunchy foods like chips and nuts until your mouth has completely healed – which could take a few weeks.
Additionally, you’ll want to stay away from acidic foods that are likely to irritate your mouth (like oranges), spicy dishes (like salsa), and anything that’s extremely hot. We’ll get into a bit more detail later in the article.
How Long After Dental Implants Can I Eat Normally?
Your dentist will likely give you specific instructions about how long to wait before eating normally after dental implant surgery. Typically, it’s advised to wait at least two weeks before switching back to a regular diet. This gives enough time for your implants and gums to heal from the procedure.
Foods To Avoid After Getting Dental Implants
Crunchy And Hard Foods
Eating crunchy and hard foods after dental implant surgery should be avoided at all costs. This includes items such as:
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Tough meats
- Nuts or granola bars
- Hard candy
- Bagels or crusty bread
These foods can place too much stress on the implants, which can cause them to fail or become loose.
Sticky foods such as caramel, taffy, and gum should be avoided for the same reason. These foods can get stuck in between the implant and the gum line, which can lead to infection.
Since sticky foods are usually sweet and can adhere to your teeth longer, they can cause numerous problems to your dental health - cavities, plaque, and more. They’re especially dangerous to your new dental implant as they can cause it to become loose or even fall out.
Acidic foods such as citrus, tomatoes, and vinegar should also be avoided.
These types of food can cause bacteria to form around the implant. Since dental implants are essentially there to restore the roots of missing teeth, these foods will ruin the implant and undo the healing process.
Hot And Spicy Foods
Hot and spicy foods are another type of food that can aggravate the area around the implant. This can lead to pain and discomfort, so it’s best to avoid these foods for a few days after surgery:
- Hot peppers
- Spicy sauces or marinades
- Soups with a peppery kick
- Hot drinks
Other Tips For Healing After Implant Placement
Eating soft foods, avoiding hard and crunchy items, and avoiding any extreme temperatures are all essential for helping your implants heal properly. But what are some other ways to foster recovery after dental implant surgery?
Don’t Skip Meals
Eating can be uncomfortable after your implants are placed, but you’ll want to keep up a steady intake of nutritious food. Skipping meals can slow down the healing process and make you more susceptible to infection.
Staying hydrated is important for overall health, but it’s especially important if you have just had dental implant surgery. Water helps flush out bacteria and debris from your mouth. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as you heal.
Don’t Exercise For A Few Days
Exercising too soon after implant placement can cause your jaw to swell and make it harder for the implants to heal. To prevent any unnecessary pain or discomfort, you should wait a few days before returning to any kind of regular exercise routine. While light stretching or walking is okay, you shouldn’t partake in any activities that require a lot of physical exertion.
Don’t Smoke Or Use Tobacco Products
Smoking or using any kind of tobacco product can greatly increase your risk for infection and make it harder for the implants to heal. Studies have shown that there’s a higher rate of failure in smokers compared to non-smokers, between 6.5% to 20%. Not only that, it can complicate the process by promoting bone loss and interacting with the saliva to create a more bacteria-prone environment.
It’s suggested that patients that have gotten dental implant surgery should stop smoking at least 1 week before surgery and at least 2 months after surgery for best results.
Going to get dental implants or just had them placed? Here are some common questions and answers about implant surgery.
How Long Do I Have To Eat Soft Foods After Dental Implants?
Your dentist will likely recommend that you stick to soft foods for at least two weeks following implant placement. Eating other foods too soon can damage the implants and prolong your healing process.
Can I Eat Before Dental Implant Surgery?
Yes! You should still be able to eat a light meal before your implant surgery. Just make sure you stay away from anything too greasy or heavy that could cause discomfort during the procedure.
When Can I Chew On My Dental Implant?
While you can start eating a normal diet after 2 weeks or so, it takes longer for the implant to fully integrate with your jawbone and create a strong bond. Until then, you shouldn’t put too much pressure on the implant as it might cause damage or other complications. Bone remodeling typically takes 6 to 12 weeks and continues throughout the person’s lifetime.
Can I Eat Ice Cream After A Dental Implant?
Ice cream is a popular choice after dental implant surgery, as its cold temperature can be soothing. Also, with its creamy texture, it won’t be too hard on your tender mouth. Be sure to stick to soft-serve ice cream and avoid any crunchy toppings such as nuts or chocolate chips.
Can I Eat Pizza After A Dental Implant?
Pizza is a no-no for the first week or so after your surgery. The doughy crust can be hard on your implants, so it’s best to wait until you’re feeling more comfortable before chowing down on a slice.
Can I Eat Rice After Dental Implant Surgery?
Any cooked grains, like rice, should only be introduced to your diet after a few weeks of healing. You’ll want to make sure you chew slowly and carefully, as any hard grains can cause damage to the implant posts.
Can I Eat Chicken After Getting Dental Implants?
Chicken can be eaten after dental implant surgery, as long as it’s cooked properly. This is another food that should only be reintroduced to your diet after a week or two. Avoid fried chicken or any other hard-to-chew dishes and opt for something like shredded chicken in a soup or stew.
Can I Eat Meat After A Dental Implant?
Soft, cooked meats such as chicken or fish are great choices only after you initially heal from dental implant surgery. You’ll still want to stay away from those that are tough to chew or require a lot of effort, like steak or ribs, for a longer time.
Why Am I So Tired After Dental Implants?
Recovering from dental implant surgery can be physically and emotionally taxing. It’s normal to feel tired after having the procedure done, as your body is expending energy to heal itself. Ensure you get plenty of rest and take it easy for a few days as you recover.
Dental implant surgery can be a life-changing experience that can improve your smile, but you need to take the necessary precautions to ensure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
Eating soft foods, avoiding hard and crunchy items, not smoking or using tobacco products, getting enough rest, and being gentle with your mouth can all help make sure that you heal properly and quickly.
With some patience and a mindful diet, you should be able to enjoy the comfort of a new tooth and all of your favorite foods in no time!