Just as with any procedure, having a dental implant will have certain post-op criteria and guidelines to follow. It takes time for the implant site to heal and for the implant to be accepted into the bone and surrounding tissue of the jaw. Osteointegration is the structural and functional connection between the bone and implant and takes time to be achieved once the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. You should expect to have swelling and some minor bleeding in the implant area for several days before improving. Once your mouth has fully healed and your jaw has accepted the implant, you will be able to return to a normal diet and activities.
During the days of healing, many patients’ number one question is about which foods are safe to eat! You may be surprised to learn that dairy should be avoided until cleared by your dentist.
Why no dairy after dental implants?
During the time of healing and attaining osteointegration, there will likely be some swelling and minor bleeding. This could last for a few weeks once the implant has been fitted.
A soft food diet is extremely important during this recovery time. While you will need to be eating a high protein diet, dairy is known to have an inflammatory reaction in oral tissue. When your jaw and tissue are already in recovery, adding more pain and problems can have an adverse effect on your recovery. Additionally, dairy is associated with nausea and vomiting, neither of which is a pleasant experience but especially when your mouth is healing. The last thing you want to do is cause any complications in your healing process!
No dairy until the dentist gives you the okay is the best advice. That means avoiding foods like:
- Cow’s milk
- Anything made from cow’s milk.
What Can I Eat?
Focus on the positives! There are plenty of foods that are still okay to eat during your recovery time! Some are even known to promote healing!
For the first 24- 48 hours immediately following your dental implant procedure, you will want to follow a soft food diet. Load up on the following with a few guidelines to follow.
- Apple sauce will provide nutrients and help with some hydration as well.
- Smoothies can be filled with many fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. The nutrients and vitamins will bring you energy and will satisfy any hunger you are experiencing. Just remember, no straws and no dairy!
- COLD soups provide nutrients that promote healing. Just make sure to enjoy them cold.
Once you are able to reintroduce solid foods into your diet, you should really boost your protein levels. Soft solids that are rich in proteins will shorten your recovery time and give you energy as well. Some foods to try out include:
- Potatoes: Baked, mashed or roasted, potatoes are filling and flavorful!
- Eggs: With so many ways to prepare them, scrambled, hard boiled, omelets, this protein rich, non-dairy food source will hit the spot!
- Fish, Chicken and Ground Beef: These meats can be cooked tenderly and cut in small pieces to be added to any meal.
How Will I Get Enough Protein?
Protein is a vital component to your diet when your body is healing. Protein is used to help in the process of repairing the tissue that was damaged around your dental implant. Additionally, your body uses protein to help fight off infection, which is an increased risk after any surgical procedure.
If you still don’t quite have your normal appetite, there are many protein powder and protein shake options that are non-dairy and that can help you be sure you are consuming the right amount of protein in your diet each day. Just add some to your smoothie, make a drink, or find a recipe that uses protein powders as a pudding, and you will be building defenses for your body to fight infection and rebuild tissue! Osteointegration will be achieved in no time!
Other Foods to Avoid
Just as there are foods that promote healing, there are some other foods, in addition to dairy, that are not recommended to eat while your body is healing. Some things to avoid include:
- Spicy foods: spices can add irritation to your implant site, which can be rather painful. Just like you would protect a wound on the outside of your body, protect your mouth as it heals, too.
- Chewy or tough foods: Steak, beef jerky, granola bars, raw vegetables, and other foods that are tough or chewy are not advised as they can be difficult to chew and can also get stuck in your implant site.
- Hard foods: Your mouth needs time to build tissue around the surgery site in order to secure your implant. Chewing hard foods, like nuts, candy, or ice can not only cause discomfort, but it can also damage your implant.
- Crunchy foods: Avoid granola, chips, popcorn, carrots and other crunchy foods that can compromise your healing process.
- Sticky foods: Sticky foods, like caramel, can stick to your implant site, increasing your risk for infection.
Returning to Normal
Planning ahead for your dental implant procedure may bring many emotions, particularly around a diet change. Remember that these changes are temporary and that you will be able to eat your normal diet again soon. Once your final prosthetic tooth or teeth have been placed you will have the ability to eat without restrictions pain-free! Be patient and cautious during your recovery and you’ll decrease your risk of complications as well as the time you need to recover!
Signature Smiles Dentistry
Signature Smiles Dentistry of Parker, Colorado provides trusted dental implant procedures and many other services. Dental implants are an effective method for tooth replacement, especially for individuals committed to maintaining good oral hygiene habits. Brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting your dentist twice a year promote dental health.