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Dental implants are the most advanced solution for missing or damaged teeth. They consist of a titanium implant post surgically placed into the jawbone, on top of which is an artificial tooth/teeth, typically made of durable zirconia. By being anchored directly into the bones of the jaw, dental implants work as artificial tooth roots. Once healed, dental implants offer the most stable foundation for replacement teeth available. This unmatched stability allows a person to experience all the benefits of natural teeth, including the ability to eat a wide variety of foods, with no dietary restrictions.

During dental implant surgery, a doctor will surgically open your gums at the implantation site, drill small holes into your jawbone, and place tiny titanium screws inside those holes. Both your gums and bone tissue at the implant site will need time to heal.

Recommended Meal Plan After Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implant surgery is exactly that—surgery. It pays to take things slowly and gently to make sure your new dental implants heal properly but do not skip meals.  Even if you had just one implant placed, you still need to follow an eating plan to ensure your gums and jawbone heal correctly. It becomes even more important to pay attention to your eating plan if you’ve had multiple implants placed, as is the case in the all-on-4 (aka. teeth-in-a-day, full arch) procedure.

During the First 24-48 Hours

The first 24 to 48 hours post-implant surgery typically require a soft food diet. During the critical 24-hour period after your surgery, stick with cool to warm liquids only, nothing hot. Hot drinks cause increased blood flow in oral tissues, which might dislodge the blood clots needed to protect the surgical site (s).

These are all safe and healthy choices for the first 24 hours of your recovery:

  • Clear soups and broths
  • Protein or meal replacement shakes and smoothies
  •  Cakes and ice cream
  • Yogurt
  • Pudding
  • Apple sauce, apple butter
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Boiled or baked fish

After the first 24 hours you can eat all of the above and some additional soft foods, like the following:

  • Cooked cereals like cream of wheat or oatmeal
  • Jams and jellies
  • Non-citrus fruits and fruit juices. Melons, peaches, pears, and bananas are all easy to mash or crush into a smoothie. Although citrus fruits are healthy, acidic foods may irritate your surgical sites, so steer clear of oranges, grapefruit, and tomatoes. After the first 48 hours of healing, you may eat citrus fruits and acidic foods without issues.

After 48 Hours – What to Eat

After the first 48 hours post-surgery, you can add foods with more solid substance to them, such as:

  • Baked or broiled fish (not breaded)
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Steamed vegetables or steamed rice
  • Soft bread

After 48 Hours – What Not to Eat

A rule of thumb for what not to eat before at least one week has passed is that if the food crunches, give it a miss and do not eat it. Avoid the following foods for at least one week after your dental implant surgery:

  • Hard foods, such as nuts, hard candies, and ice.
  • Hot liquids, like coffee
  • Crunchy foods (chips, popcorn, apples)
  • Food with large seeds or kernels (popcorn_
  • Tough or fibrous foods, like many vegetables
  • Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, fermented foods, strong coffee, and sauces or dishes made from tomatoes.
  • Spicy foods. You will need to avoid spicy foods for a few weeks. Spicy foods are prone to irritating oral tissues.
  • Very sugary foods. Sugary foods produce acids as they break down into carbs, and anything acidic will be painful and hinder healing for the first 48 hours.
  • Avoid beverages with alcohol, as alcohol can be dehydrating and is also astringent, which can irritate delicate tissues.
  • Chewy or sticky foods, like gum or toffees.
  • Avoid straws and smoking during the first week of your recovery, particularly during the first 48 hours of your recovery. Drinking through a straw and smoking can cause the blood clots at the implant sites to shift or dislodge, which will expose the surgical site.

How Long After Dental Implants Can You Eat Normally?

It’s crucial to understand that when we talk about healing from dental implant surgery, there are two processes going on: the healing of your gums and the exterior of the surgical implant site, and the healing of the jawbone.

The immediate healing of your gums takes about a couple of weeks. However, because of a process called osseointegration, it’s a good idea to avoid very hard foods for a couple of months. That’s because your new dental implant posts need time for the jawbone to fuse to them. During osseointegration, the titanium implant post becomes firmly attached to the jawbone. Eating hard foods slows osseointegration down, which can impair the stability of your dental implants and cause implant failure.

It takes about a week before you’ll be able to return to a mostly normal diet after your dental implant procedure. However, there are some guidelines you’ll need to follow to ensure that your implants heal correctly and settle firmly into the jawbone.

Typical Time Periods

During the first 24 to 48 hours after your dental implant surgery, you’ll need to be very careful with what you eat and drink. Your implant site or sites will be protected by a blood clot that needs to stay in place.

Nutritious and Safe Meals To Have After Dental Implant Surgery

Stay Hydrated!

Getting enough water is a key part of thorough healing after dental implant surgery. Water makes up about 60 percent of the human body, and in periods of exertion and healing, we need more than at other times. A rule of thumb is that if you wait until you’re very thirsty to drink, you’ve already become mildly dehydrated.

Drink eight-8-ounce glasses of water a day for the first week post-surgery but avoid carbonated beverages for at least the first 48 hours after your procedure and remember to avoid straws for at least a week.

You will want to avoid alcohol during the healing period, as it increases your chances of developing an infection by interfering with antibiotic medications. Alcohol also slows down healing and interferes with pain medication.

Smoothies, Broths, and Protein Drinks for the First Few Days

Your body will need an elevated supply of nutrients in the days and weeks after your dental implant surgery. Smoothies, broths, meal replacement shakes, and protein drinks are tasty sources of nutrition that support the proper healing of your implants.

Cereals and Oatmeal

Oatmeal, cream of wheat, and other soft cereals are good choices, filled with nutrients and fiber.

Scrambled Eggs with Leafy Greens

Soft scrambled eggs paired with minced leafy green vegetables are good to eat and contain many vitamins and nutrients that will improve healing.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Eat Carefully After Dental Implant Surgery

There are several outcomes if you aren’t careful with your diet the first few days after your dental implant surgery. First, eating hard, sharp, or crunchy foods will be painful, as your gums will be tender from the implant surgery for about a week. Heavy or vigorous chewing can disrupt the fusion of the bone to the implants leading to implant failure. Also, the temporary acrylic teeth can break under heavy chewing.

Of greater concern is that eating tough or hard foods can irritate your surgical incision site and dislodge the protective blood clots, opening up the tissue to infection. An infection on the surface of the incision site can easily pass into the inner tissues surrounding the newly placed implant, causing infection and pus to accumulate, leading to implant failure.

Can You Eat Normally Until You Get Your Permanent Crowns?

After the first week of healing, you can go back to eating normally. Note that it is never a good idea to chew on ice or hard candies.

Eating after Dental Implants FAQs

1. How long does it take for dental implants to settle?

Initial recovery takes a couple of weeks and overall healing takes around 3 months; During this time, the bones of the jaw will fuse to the titanium implant posts in the process of osseointegration.

2. Can you eat like normal with dental implants?

Yes, that’s one of the many advantages of dental implants over dentures. After your dental implants have fully healed, you can eat a wide range of foods with no dietary restrictions.

3. Can I eat pizza after dental implants?

Yes, after the first week of healing, you can eat pizza with dental implants. If your gums become irritated from tomato sauce, give your gums a few more days to heal.

4. How long does it take your mouth to heal from implants?

Your gum tissues will heal in about a week. It takes longer for the dental implant itself to become firmly settled into the bones of the jaw—about 3 months. After that, your dental implants will have the same strength and stability as a natural tooth root.