Is the very thought of a long dental implant surgery recovery time and a soft diet holding you back from booking your implant appointment? If you follow your dentist’s instructions and the guidelines below, you can enjoy a speedy recovery without sacrificing the tasty food you love. A post-dental implant liquid diet should be maintained for only about a week. Remember, a soft diet does not only include yoghurt, ice-cream and liquidized soups – and it certainly doesn’t have to be boring!
In this article you will find everything you need to know about your dental implant recovery diet and find useful tips on dental implants foods to avoid and foods to eat. DentalimplantsFriends experts have gathered extensive information and practical tips from dental professionals you will find nowhere else online. These guidelines will help you prepare for your dental implant recovery diet after the surgery. You can also use these tips after any other minor oral surgery, including wisdom tooth extraction or gum surgery.
Why a proper dental implant recovery diet is so important?
There is no doubt that all dentists and medical studies confirm that a healthy, varied diet, rich in macro- and micronutrients is essential for gum and bone healing after any oral surgery. The final outcome of the surgery depends not only your dentist’s skill, experience and materials used but also on your recovery care at home after you come back home from the clinic.
Proper nutrition during the first 2 weeks is crucial to your speedy recovery. A soft food diet, and the avoidance of certain foods and drinks might seem challenging to you at first. However, dealing with your new dental implants diet is much easier if you are well prepared and know what to expect. Simply visualize yourself with new gorgeous white teeth and everything becomes easier.
How does dental implant diet influence your healing process?
Dr. Soma Veszprémi, head dentist of Evergreen Dental from Hungary, confirms that proper nutrition is crucial to the recovery process, affecting your recovery time, preventing infection and, complications such as constipation, bloating or high blood-glucose level. A healthy nutritious diet will provide your body with the much needed protein so your gums and bone will heal quicker. Your body is a wonderful machine and if you deliver what it needs it will be healthy and strong.
What is the best dental implant diet?
The best dental implant surgery recovery diet should be based on unprocessed whole foods, which are healthier and easier to digest than processed foods. Whole foods: fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains such as oatmeal, lean meats including unprocessed chicken, turkey, pork or fish all aid recovery post-surgery. Orange juice, chips/French fries, chicken nuggets or fish burgers do not fall under the category of unprocessed. A baked potato, a whole orange or a chicken breast, however, are definitely whole foods.
Having whole foods on a daily basis is a perfect way to stay healthy all year round not just as a part of your post dental implant surgery recovery diet, and in no time, whole foods will become part of your new lifestyle: new teeth, new diet and a new, better life.
What nutrients do I need?
A dental implant recovery diet should include the following nutrients: arginine, glutamine, omega-3 fatty acids, copper and vitamins A, C, D, E, K. These can speed up healing after the surgery and boost tissue regeneration. What is more, if you maintain a proper protein and amino acid intake (arginine, glutamine, and lecithin) after the procedure, it will compensate for any loss of essential minerals and vitamins while healing. Where to find essential nutrients?
- Arginine is an amino acid which boosts wound healing and improves blood flow. Arginine can be easily found in most everyday foods like turkey, pork loin, chicken, soybeans, spirulina, dairy, chickpeas, chocolate, carob, whole-wheat flour, white flour, soybeans, wheat germ, and gelatin.
- Glutamine is the most common amino acid vital for the biosynthesis of protein. The best sources of glutamine are meat, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy, various leafy vegetables, raw spinach, parsley and, red cabbage, beans and legumes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to healthy body functions so make sure you have your portion of them during your post-op period. These acids boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs and have positive effect on memory and brain functions. There are plenty of omega-3 acids supplements on the market, e.g. fish oil supplements – you can even start the supplementation before your dental implant surgery to make sure your body is in top condition. If you prefer the natural way, you can include the following foods in your diet: flaxseed, seafood, oily fish, soy beverages and, eggs.
- Copper is a strong antioxidant and it protects cells against harmful free radicals. You can find it in lentils, dark chocolate, dried apricots, mushrooms, and asparagus.
- Vitamins A, C, D, E, K play a crucial role in blood clotting and are needed for building strong bones. You can get vitamins from your diet or from dietary supplements. Our dental expert, Dr. Soma Veszprémi, says: “Taking a multivitamin supplement is necessary, because it may be difficult to supply your body with all the needed vitamins only from food. Try to take good quality vitamins but remember that supplements should not be used as a substitute for healthy meals. Multivitamins enhance a healthy diet but they should never substitute it.”
Vitamin A – avoid vitamin A supplementation when you are pregnant and considering dental implants. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which means that, unlike vitamins B or C, can build up in the body causing toxicity.
Vitamin D – according to Dr. Veszprémi vitamin D is crucial during dental implant surgery recovery time and also after bone augmentation procedure. If you or your doctor suspects vitamin D deficiency, you can check your vitamin D levels before your surgery appointment. This can be done with a simple blood test at your local surgery. If your vitamin D level is low, start taking vitamin D supplement and continue taking it after the surgery. You need to know that your body naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight. If you choose any of the warm countries as your dental implant destination, for example Croatia or Spain, you can boost your chances of getting more vitamin D the natural way! Arrange to have your surgery on a Friday and you can stay abroad the whole weekend, relaxing and soaking up the sun.
Vitamin K – a deficiency here may cause excessive bleeding after the surgery. Make sure you include green vegetables in your diet or choose a multivitamin supplement which contains that all important vitamin.
What happens if you neglect your diet after dental implant surgery?
Normally, except in the case of immediate loading implants, the healing should take about 2-4 months. Your dentist will give you more detailed information on your specific case. If, during the first post-op week, you start skipping meals, eat very little, have too low fluid intake or eat food low in nutrients, healing and bone integration may be heavily impaired. You simply risk tooth implant failure. Hard foods during the first week after the surgery risk disturbing your sutures causing pain, unnecessary bleeding and possible infection.
Approximately an hour after the dental implant surgery, you can remove the gauze sponges from your mouth and have your first soft meal. See below for DentalimplantsFriends suggestions of soft meals. There are a number of things that you shouldn’t do to make sure your recovery is as smooth as possible. Think of the first 24 hours after the procedure as a time off for your teeth and jaw.
- Don’t drink hot drinks or have hot food for several hours after the procedure. Let the liquids cool first before drinking. Hot drinks or food may cause bleeding or cause inflammation to the surgical site. Also avoid spicy food as this may irritate your gums.
- Don’t drink from a straw for minimum 24 hours. Drink normally out of a glass.
- Don’t disturb the surgical area on the same day of the procedure. Don’t poke it or touch it with your hands or disturb it with your tongue.
- Don’t rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours.
- Don’t drink alcohol for at least a few days after the surgery or for as long as you take the antibiotics and analgesics prescribed by your oral surgeon. Sipping your favourite margarita or Scotch on the rocks may sound like a good idea to ease the pain and unwind, but it never is. Quite the contrary, alcohol hinders blood clotting and slows down recovery. This in turn may led to more pain and swelling.
- Don’t smoke for 2 weeks after the surgery. For the best results, we recommend you do not smoke at all during the healing period. Smoking after oral surgery can trigger an infection which, in turn, can result in dental implant failure.
- Don’t do any physical exercises. Don’t lift heavy objects. Try to rest as much as you can. Your gym can wait. If you do physical work, take sick leave for a few days.
- Don’t drink coffee right after the surgery.
- Don’t take aspirin. It is known for its blood thinning properties and it will delay clot formation and slow down healing.
Do not take these tips lightly and you will boost your chances of quick recovery and overall implant success.
Dental implants foods to avoid
During the first 2 weeks of your implant recovery follow this rule of thumb: if the food takes more than 3 chews, it is not good for you. Stay away from:
- chewy, sticky or gooey foods like steak, fudge, toffee, liquorice, caramels, etc.
- hard foods like nuts, popcorn, pretzels, taco shells, pizza crust, toast, mixed seed or crusty bread, corn on the cob, hard fruit or veg (apples, carrots unless mashed or cooked), crisps, beef jerky. Anything that requires a lot of chewing and may hurt your gums should be off the menu for about two weeks. Even rice may be problematic.
- seedy fruit like figs, pomegranate, raspberries, black grapes or similar foods which have tiny seeds that can get stuck between your teeth;
- fizzy/carbonated drinks, including sparkling water. The bubbles in these drinks may impact blood clotting in your mouth and lead to complications. Drink still water and home-made fruit and veg smoothies.
Dental implants foods to eat
- Hydrate! After the procedure it is very important to stay well hydrated. Number one on your list should be still water. Dr. Soma Veszprémi, head dentist of Evergreen Dental in Hungary, suggests drinking 2-3 litres of water per day as dehydration can seriously impact your recovery. After a few days you can include milk, fruit juices, veggie smoothies or milkshakes in your diet.
- Go high on protein! Make sure you eat lots of protein every day, preferably with every meal. Get your protein from lean meat (steamed, soft cooked and cut to small pieces), soft boiled or scrambled eggs, milk, protein powder or lentils.
- Love your veggies! Vegetables will provide you with most of the needed nutrients. When on a soft diet you can eat soft cooked carrots, mashed potatoes, zucchini, pumpkin or cauliflower. They are a healthy and nutritious option.
Meals – take it easy!
You will need a blender or food processor right after your surgery, so make sure you buy or borrow one before you come back from the dental clinic. Your blender should be able to puree food until it is smooth and with no texture. Try turning it on low speed for 1 minute (puree) and on high setting for 2 minutes to get liquidized food.
Starting with liquid foods on the first day, you will be able to advance towards pureed and soft foods. Your goal is 6-8 cups of liquids daily. Go for small but frequent meals which your stomach will tolerate better.
Keep things simple. DentalimplantsFriends are aware that preparing complicated time-consuming meals can put you off and you might end up not eating right after the surgery. You should return to your regular eating schedule as soon as it is possible. Do not skip meals and avoid any feelings of hunger. Add protein powder to you smoothie for extra protein intake. You can buy flavoured protein powder online or in a sports nutrition shop. Try these meal suggestions:
Breakfast – omelette, oatmeal, rice pudding, porridge, cream of rice with ripened sliced banana, soft scrambled eggs or soft boiled eggs. You can add protein powder to some of these breakfast dishes to boost their protein content. Protein powders come in many flavours such as chocolate, vanilla or banana. Try adding some powder to your omelette or oatmeal for extra protein and improved flavour.
Dinner – vegetable soups with tender meat (chicken or turkey), tomato soup, baked sweet potatoes, soft cooked carrots, white fish or salmon, tender chicken pasta with basil pesto. Basil is very good for you because it contains special volatile oils that protect your mouth from harmful oral bacteria.
Lunch/snacks – baked skinless apple, soft sliced banana with applesauce or cranberry sauce.
DentalimplantsFriends have prepared for you a Soft Diet Plan for 5 days.
Oral hygiene – brushing, flossing and rinsing
You want to avoid complications and your dental implants to heal properly. Your mouth and especially the surgical site must be kept extra clean. Many dental clinics, including Evergreen Dental, supply all their patients with special toothbrushes, mouthwash, ice bags, painkillers, and antibiotics.
- Rinse. The day after your surgery rinse your mouth with the mouthwash you received from your dentist (or chlorhexidine) twice a day after brushing your teeth. Rinse using saline solution, 1/4 teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water to keep the surgical area clean. Use the solution 2-3 times a day for the following week.
- Brush. Two days following your procedure start brushing the implant site with either an ultra-soft post-surgery toothbrush or children’s toothbrush. Brush the implant site from all angles avoiding the stitches. Do not use an electric toothbrush and do not brush the implant itself. DentalimplantsFriends recommend brushing after every meal – food debris may seriously impact healing and can easily cause infection.
- Don’t floss. Flossing the implant site is not recommended by dentists. The surgical site should be left undisturbed. Brushing and rinsing after every meal should be enough to make the wound heal nicely.
If you are on top of your hygiene routine, the discomfort in your mouth will gradually lessen. If you still feel some slight pain, use the over-the-counter painkillers.
Expert’s tips you didn’t know about
DentalimplantsFriends have asked dental experts to share some extra tips for easier and faster recovery after dental implant surgery. Dr Veszprémi, from Evergreen Dental, shares some tips:
- Take vitamin B12 supplementation after the surgery. Studies show that it results in lower pain during the post-extraction period[i]. It will also work after your implant placement. Vitamin B12 also prevents facial swelling – very important for those dental patients who would like to go back to work after a few days of recovery.
- Take vitamin D before and after your surgery. Studies show that vitamin D guarantees a better surgical outcome.
- Don’t use a straw for drinking. Drinking through a straw may dislodge blood clots forming in your gums.
- Sleep with your head in a raised position – use a pillow thicker than normal and do not sleep on the side where the operation site is.
- Avoid swimming pools or sauna.
- Take antihistamine medication to reduce post-operative swelling or edema. Consult your dentist.
DentalimplantsFriends are aware that every dental patient is different. You need to remember that your recovery will happen in a few phases. However, if you follow your dentist’s advice and our guidelines and make your oral hygiene a daily priority, you can be sure your recovery will be smooth. The remaining step for you will be getting a crown or overdenture for your implants and you will be able to enjoy functional teeth and gorgeous white smile for many years to come.
If you have any questions about dental implant recovery diet, contact us – we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. Download a pdf version of the Dental Implants Recovery Diet Plan which is shown below.
Dental Implants Friends
Dental Implants Recovery Diet Plan
Your very first meal after dental implant surgery should be liquid, delicious and nutritious. Try mango-banana protein shake – blend 2 ripe mangoes and 2 ripe bananas, add a scoop of protein powder. Add a bit of water or orange juice of the liquid is too thick. This shake is a super healthy way to give the nutrients you need after the surgery. Bananas are known to help replace electrolytes in your body after a physical exhaustion.
Breakfast tips – omelette, oatmeal, rice pudding, cream of rice (rice porridge) with ripened sliced banana, soft scrambled eggs or soft boiled eggs. Do you know you can add protein powder to some of these breakfast dishes to boost their protein content? Protein powders come in many flavours like chocolate, vanilla or banana. Try adding some powder to your omelette or oatmeal for extra protein and better taste.
Dinner tips – vegetable soups with tender boiled or steam-cooked meat (chicken or turkey), tomato soup, baked sweet potatoes, soft cooked carrots, white fish or salmon, tender chicken pasta with basil pesto. Basil is very good for you because it contains special volatile oils that protect your mouth from harmful oral bacteria.
Lunch/snacks tips – baked skinless apple, soft sliced banana with applesauce or cranberry sauce, yoghurt, ice-cream, fruit & veg smoothies.
Suggested Diet Plan for 5 days*
Breakfast: rice porridge with apple/apricot/peach sauce. Chicory “coffee” with milk.
Lunch: blenderized basil tomato soup with tender chicken breast pieces.
Dinner: soft salmon, mashed potatoes, diced soft cooked carrots. Chamomile tea.
Snack: 2 pureed apples, 1 mashed banana, natural yoghurt.
Breakfast: omelette with protein powder, mashed banana, yoghurt. Green or fruit tea.
Lunch: broth (vegetable, chicken or beef).
Dinner: tender chicken breast pieces with pasta and basil pesto.
Snack: Jell-o/jelly, vanilla pudding.
Breakfast: 2 soft boiled eggs, 1 tomato. Chicory “coffee” with milk.
Lunch: avocado, soft cooked chicken breast pasta salad.
Dinner: soft turkey meatballs in tomato sauce, soft pasta.
Snack: red smoothie (fresh spinach, beetroot, apple, banana, lemon juice, water, ½ tsp. cinnamon)
Breakfast: oatmeal with cranberry sauce. Rooibos tea.
Lunch: fruit smoothie (blend some fresh mangoes, apricots with milk and ice cream).
Dinner: pumpkin blended soup. Mushroom risotto (make sure the rice is well cooked and mushrooms are chopped nicely).
Snack: protein smoothie (vanilla almond milk, kale, pineapple chunks, ripe avocado, vanilla protein powder, ice).
Breakfast: soft scrambled eggs. Ripe avocado half. Chicory root “coffee” with milk.
Lunch: lentils soup.
Dinner: soft cooked white fish or salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, steam cooked broccoli.
Snack: spinach orange smoothie (orange, banana, organic spinach, coconut water, ice).
If you are running out of time, here are some time-saving options:
- Baby food
- Canned soups (chunky and creamy)
- Canned fruit or veg
- Cream of Wheat, Cream of Rice, etc.
- Fruit smoothies from juice shops
- Frozen yoghurt.
Enjoy your soft diet meals and have speedy recovery! Download Dental Implant Surgery Recovery Diet Plan.