Dental implants offer the most natural and functional way to replace missing teeth. Since dental implant placement requires dental surgery, patients may need to adjust meal options during the recovery period.
Patients often ask what can they eat after dental implant surgery, fearing they’ll have to live on applesauce and oatmeal until they can chew normally again. Not to worry: there are plenty of soft, easily-chewable meals you can eat as your mouth heals.
Bone grafting and implant surgery recovery time
Patients with substantial bone loss may require a bone graft to build up the bone in their jaw. A sufficient amount of bone is necessary to ‘anchor’ the dental implant(s). Bone grafting is a separate dental procedure and is performed prior to implant placement. Dr. Mike will examine you to determine if a bone graft is necessary.
After a bone graft procedure, it may take about 48 hours before patients can chew normally. During this relatively brief post op period, it is important to avoid hot food and drink… even soup should be eaten at a moderate temperature. Dr. Mike will also recommend eating very soft food that require minimal chewing. If chewing cannot be avoided, do not chew on the graft site. After two days, patients are typically able to resume a normal diet – but continue to avoid chewing on the surgery site.
As far as dental implant surgery is concerned, it may take about a week before patients return to eating normally. Try to approach this gradually: for the first 12 hours post surgery, eat soft or pureed foods like smoothies, applesauce and yogurt. As you heal, you can introduce other soft foods. Once the first week is over, you can resume eating normally. Again, avoid chewing on the surgery site.
Here’s a quick guide to easy meals after your dental implant surgery.
Tips for post-implant surgery meal planning
Post-surgery meals don’t have to be bland. Here are some tips to stay nourished while your mouth is healing:
- Avoid nuts, seeds, sticky and crunchy foods: Skip any foods with small, crunchy bits like nuts and seeds. For instance, figs are a soft fruit, but their tiny crunchy seeds can be abrasive. Similarly, sticky foods should be saved for after recovery.
- Eat naturally soft foods: Foods like mashed sweet potatoes, cooked cereals, scrambled eggs with cheese and sauteed leafy greens are delicious, gentle on your mouth and nutritious. Soup is another great choice—just make sure it is lukewarm for the first couple of days after surgery.
- Craving meat?: Soft meat and fish can be made with potatoes, herbs, spices, well-cooked vegetables and broth for a savory, fulfilling meal with plenty of flavor.
- Avoid acidic foods and beverages: Tomatoes, citrus, coffee, soda, tea and spicy foods can irritate your mouth and interfere with recovery. Wait at least a week before you reintroduce these.
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking water helps rinse your mouth of debris and acid, and supports the healing process. Avoid carbonated beverages and drinking out of straws.
During your follow-up appointments, Dr. Mike will check the implant site and let you know when it’s safe to reintroduce sticky, spicy, crunchy and acidic foods.
If you’re interested in learning more about the dental implant process and to determine if you are an implant candidate, call Dr. Mike at Cleveland Implant Institute today!