Tooth loss is a devastating event that can leave many patients wondering if they’ll ever regain full function of their bite again. We depend on our teeth for so many things, but biting and chewing are by far the most important. When evaluating potential solutions for tooth loss, most patients want an option that allows them to chew effectively with little to no discomfort.
The best thing about dental implants is they help to restore a patient’s normal bite. Once implants have healed, patients can eat almost anything. However, being selective with foods during the recovery period and long-term maintenance is key to keeping your implants functioning and healthy. Below, we’ll review what foods you can eat during each stage of the recovery process:
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are the most comfortable, durable, and functional solution for tooth loss. They’re comprised of titanium screws that are secured to the jaw and mimic a tooth root, an abutment, and a crown. They look, behave, and feel like real teeth. Dental implants are placed over a series of appointments, as the mouth, jaw, and gums all need time to heal following each step of the procedure.
What Foods Can I Eat Immediately Following Dental Implant Surgery?
During the first 48 hours following dental implant surgery, it is very important to stick to only cold drinks and soft foods. Remember, your mouth needs time to heal. Attempting to eat solid foods or hot drinks can cause significant pain, infection, and interrupt the healing process. Some foods we recommend immediately following surgery include:
- Soups and Broths
- Scrambled Eggs
- Mashed Potatoes
- Apple Sauce
- Italian Ice
Under no circumstances should you eat popcorn, sticky, chewy, spicy, or hard foods. You should also avoid thick dairy products, as they can increase mucus production and inflammation. Remember to take it easy and don’t put your jaw or gums under too much stress.
What Foods Can I Eat In The First 6 Months After Dental Implant Surgery?
After the first 48 hours, you can generally start to add additional items to your diet so long as you’re not experiencing significant pain, bleeding, or signs of infection. However, it can take up to 6 months to heal from dental implant surgery, so you’ll need to introduce new foods incrementally and be careful when doing so.
Additionally, it’s important to remember your diet can impact your recovery time. Eating healthy foods and lots of protein can actually help speed up your recovery. Some foods you may consider adding to your diet in the first few months include:
- Soft fruits and vegetables
- Soft bread and pastries
- Soft cereals
- Dips (not spicy)
- Soups with meat and potatoes
- Fish and chicken
- Waffles and pancakes
- Ice cream and yogurt
If after a couple of months, your mouth and bite are starting to feel like normal, then you can continue to introduce more and more foods. However, let pain be your guide and definitely avoid any nuts, seeds, and candy until you’re back to 100% and receive approval from your periodontist.
What Foods Can I Eat Once I’ve Fully Recovered?
Once you’ve received the green light from your periodontist, you can resume normal eating! This is one of the greatest benefits of dental implants — they behave like real teeth. You shouldn’t have any issues with any foods long term, and you can start eating your favorite meals and snacks. However, for your dental implants to last, it’s essential for you to practice good oral hygiene.
How To Maintain Dental Implants
Dental implants can last up to 30 years with proper care, but regular, healthy oral hygiene habits are a must. Brushing twice each day and flossing and rinsing with mouthwash daily is critical. You should stay away from sugary foods when possible and definitely avoid smoking. Coffee and tea can stain your implants long term, so be careful to drink dark beverages in moderation. Remember, your dental implants are an investment, so you want to do everything you can to take good care of them.
If you’re suffering from tooth loss, dental implants can put you back on the path to enjoying your favorite foods again. As one of the top periodontists in Central Florida, Ormond Beach Periodontics & Implant Dentistry can help determine if implants are the right fit for you. Get in touch with us today for a consultation.