Suffering tooth loss can be inconvenient. Aside from affecting your mouth’s function, like chewing or eating, it can also influence your self-esteem and confidence. A missing tooth can make one feel conscious when smiling, laughing, or talking. Fortunately, one of the dental procedures you can opt for is dental implants.
In this post, we’ll explore what dental implant surgery is, provide a quick guide to what to expect, and share a few eating tips after the procedure.
How Do Dental Implants Work?
Dental implants are medical devices that dental professionals surgically implant into a patient’s jaw to replace a missing tooth. It’s one of the increasingly popular dental treatments that can help restore one’s smile and confidence. But besides addressing the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, getting dental implants can be a great procedure you can discuss with your dentist to help improve your mouth’s overall function, like chewing and preserving the condition of the surrounding gums and bones.
While dentures or bridges can work, dental implants are a more permanent solution since the implant post are embedded and anchored directly to the jawbone. And since dental implants can mimic the look and feel of natural teeth, so they can blend well with your teeth and help complete your smile.
However, getting implants surgery won’t be a walk in the park. Since you’re drilling through your gums, you need to provide extra care and precaution to the area to prevent complications or infections and allow for a better recovery. But besides resting well and practicing proper oral hygiene, knowing what you can eat can also be helpful.
Eating The Right Food
Getting dental implants allows you to eat normally as the implants would be fully integrated into your bones. However, right after the surgery, you’ll need to go through a recovery period as your body needs to adjust to a new foreign object. You also need to be extra careful if you’re having All-on-4 dental implants, as this involves your entire mouth having a complete set of dental implants, requiring more time for adjustment.
What To Eat After 24 To 48 Hours
After your surgery, you can’t expect your mouth to function as usual. You can expect your gums to be swollen and tender. And even the lightest bump can cause pain in your mouth. As such, during the first 24 to 48 hours, it’s recommended to be extra careful of what you eat.
As a good start, limit your diet to eating liquids or soft foods for maximum care. To give you some guidance, below are the things you can eat within 24 to 48 hours after your dental implant surgery:
- Mashed banana
- Mashed potato
- Vegetable or fruit juice
- Protein shake pudding
- Flaky cheese
- Fruit Shake or smoothie
Ideally, you should consume food high in vitamins and minerals, especially since you just got off your surgery and need all the nutrients you can get to help your body recover. It’ll also be great to consume soft food rich in protein to help speed healing.
What To Avoid After 24 To 48 Hours
While there are foods you can eat, there are also some foods you must avoid during the 24-to-48-hour period. As mentioned, even the slightest movement into your implants can cause pain or trigger complications or infections.
With that, it’s best to stay away from the following food while you’re still recovering:
- Hard Food: Eating hard foods can cause pain to your gums, especially since they’re still swelling. Even if apples and carrots are healthy, you should skip eating them after 24 to 48 hours of your surgery. Switch to a softer alternative, such as mashing or juicing them instead.
- Hot Foods: Eating hot food right after surgery can encourage the area to swell more. During this period, eating cold foods is highly encouraged as it helps to numb the pain and ease the swelling. Alternatively, you can consume room temperature or warm food.
- Spicy Foods: Consuming spicy foods while your gums are still healing can cause intense pain in your mouth. They can also cause irritation and infections. Even if they’re tempting and delicious, you should avoid eating spicy foods, including those with plenty of spices.
- Alcohol: Consuming alcohol can slow down your body’s healing process. To help your body recover faster, it’s best to avoid consuming any alcohol during the recovery period.
- Crunchy Snacks: Even if they’re not classified as hard food, eating crunchy snacks isn’t also recommended during the first 24 to 48 hours. The small bits can get through your surgical site, which can cause discomfort and inflammation.
- Dairy Products: Consuming dairy products can cause nausea and vomiting, which is not helpful in your recovery phase. They can also cause inflammation, which can damage your teeth and gums.
- Sticky Foods: It’s also best to avoid eating or chewing chewy foods as this can stick into your implant site and cause unnecessary movement into the area.
- Acidic Foods: Eating acidic foods like oranges or tomatoes can irritate your gums and attract bacterial infection.
What To Eat The Following Weeks
After 24 to 48 hours, you’ll slowly feel relief around your surgical site. But this doesn’t mean you can immediately return to your normal eating routine and munch on your favorite dishes. It’s important to note that your gums are still healing. As such, it’s still recommended to take things easy.
While it’s good to stick to soft foods like soup and mashed vegetables and avoid eating too hard or crunchy, you can start introducing smaller pieces of chicken or fish into your diet. When adding solid food to your meals, try to be as gentle when chewing as possible. Avoid adding too much pressure to your teeth, and consider eating on the opposite side of your mouth to provide less stress on the implant site. Doing so can help to make eating more comfortable.
What To Avoid After The Following Weeks
Generally, you should still avoid eating hot, spicy, hard, chewy, acidic, and crunchy foods. Even if you’re confident that your dental implants all feel better, you should only do so if your dentist has given you their signal. Eating such foods while in recovery can cause more harm to your dental implant, which can affect the healing process.
In most cases, the entire healing process of dental implant surgery would take about six months. After this period, you can eat anything, whether crunchy, hot, or spicy.
Dental implant surgery comes with many benefits- from improving your smile to enhancing your chewing and eating functions. However, since this is a surgical procedure, taking care of your oral health after the treatment is essential to promote better recovery and avoid complications.
As a good start, it can help to know the food you can and cannot eat while recovering. Admittedly, it can be frustrating to be limited to soft foods ad avoid your favorite dishes. But it goes a long way in allowing faster recovery and avoiding putting unnecessary pressure and pain in your mouth.