Dental implants are artificial teeth that allow you to have the look and performance of natural teeth. Because a titanium post is fused to your jawbone to provide a base for the crown, this is a serious surgical procedure that takes time. From start to finish, the entire process takes from 5 to 8 months--longer if bone grafts are needed. During this time, you still need to drink and eat food. What can you safely eat and what should you avoid? Here's the truth about dental implants and eating.
Your dentist uses this time to perform an exam of your teeth and jawbone. They will take x-rays, make impressions of your gums and teeth and probably do a CT scan of your mouth. Fortunately, none of these procedures require you to watch what you are putting in your mouth to chew. Any food restrictions you naturally have if you are missing teeth stay the same.
With regards to eating and drinking, post-surgery is probably the most challenging. Immediately after the surgery to place a steel post in your jaw, you are limited in what and how you eat and drink. You may be tempted to use a straw to drink a milkshake or beverage, but doing so can cause bleeding. Stick to spoons.
To protect the surgical area, your dentist wants you to eat only soft food and drink lots of water. Because chewing will be difficult for the next week or so, stick to food that is soft and but still provides you with good nutrition:
- Pudding and yogurt
- Cream soups, especially with beans and lentils
- Soft fruits like banana, berries, peaches and pears
- Scrambled eggs and egg salad
- Pasta, rice and mashed potatoes
- Soft white fish like trout and sole
- Fruit and protein smoothies
- Jell-O and popsicles
Expect to follow this soft diet for up to two weeks. Over time you can gradually add foods that are more firm.
What To Avoid After Surgery
To prevent food from interfering with natural blood clotting at the surgical sight, don't eat crunchy or chewy food like crackers, pretzels, meat and nuts. Some food seems okay to eat but may get stuck in the surgical sight and or will just hurt your mouth like as tiny seeds, cracked pepper, really hot food, soda, spicy food or acidic food with orange and tomato.
After Crowns Are Placed
Once the crowns are placed and your mouth has healed from surgery, you have a lot more freedom when it comes to eating. In fact, you can eat nearly everything you did prior to surgery with a few exceptions. Just like natural teeth, crowns are susceptible to cracking if you bite down on extremely hard foods. Avoid chewing ice and hard candy. Be careful when you eat olives, nuts, popcorn, cherry pie, and other foods that may contain a pit or shell.
While you're thinking about keeping your teeth healthy and strong, consider stopping smoking if you haven't already done so. Smoking has been proven to weaken the structure of bones throughout your body, and your jawbone is no exception. If you smoke, your implant has a higher risk of failing because the supporting bone is unable to accept and keep the steel post. Smoking also increases your chances of getting an infection and causes your body to take longer to heal.
Knowing what to expect about food during the process of getting teeth implants is important. Your diet influences how quickly you heal, how well your new crown performs as well as how long the crown lasts. Make sure you follow your dentist's recommendations for eating and drinking.