Following the correct steps after undergoing dental implant surgery can help you maximize your healing and minimize any potential issues.
After the surgery, your surgeon will give you antibiotics and pain medicine. You also will get instructions to follow. These will include:
- Don’t spit, suck on straws or smoke. This can dislodge blood clots and slow healing.
- Eat only soft food to avoid injuring your gums.
- Don’t try to clean the implant area for the next few days, but clean the rest of your mouth normally. Your dentist may give you an antibacterial rinse to help keep the area clean.
You will return to the surgeon 7 to 10 days later to have your stitches removed.
After the implant is placed in your jaw, you will have to wait several months for the bone to bond with the implant. This usually takes 3 or 4 months in the lower jaw and 5 or 6 months in the upper jaw. During this time, the head of the implant usually remains hidden under your gum.
After the implants have attached with the surrounding bone (a process called osseointegration), you are ready for the second step. After giving you local anesthesia, your surgeon will make a small cut in the gum. This exposes the implant. The surgeon will remove a protective screw from the implant and replace it with a metal healing cap (collar). The healing cap looks like a small metal cylinder that sits above your gums in the area where your tooth would be. It maintains the space so that the gum heals correctly around the implant. Read more at Colgate
Why No Straws?
Newly formed blood clots need some tender loving care immediately after surgery. Regardless if you have just received a single dental implant or an entire arch; straws, smoking or sucking motions can really interfere. Enjoying delicious smoothies, soups and softer foods is ideal following surgery. However, use a spoon and be sure to avoid straws until healing progresses.
Homemade Nutritious Smoothies
Fresh fruits and veggies offer a host of vitamins and minerals. Raw or uncooked fruits and veggies provide fresh enzymes and more nutritional value for your body to utilize during healing. Some great ingredients to blend up and enjoy by spoon include:
- Fresh or frozen blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, raspberries, grapes
- Spinach, cucumber, carrot, lemon, ginger and dill
- Kiwi, apple, parsley
- Pumpkin, honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, banana
- Oranges, banana, honey, cinnamon
Use honey or molasses to sweeten instead of sugar for a more nutritional option. Try blending the above combinations with non-fat milk, almond milk or rice milk for a creamier texture. Raid the winter greenhouse or your garden to add some beet tops, carrot greens or Swiss Chard for extra vitamins and minerals. Some patients prepare broths and soups ahead of time and freeze them to make preparing the first few meals post-surgery nutritious and easy.
Alternatively, you can throw your spaghetti and favourite foods through your blender or food processer and enjoy a “supper pudding” of sorts. Don’t let the appearance or texture of your foods cause you too much grief. This is a temporary process and once your dental implants have integrated with your jaw bone, you will be able to adjust your diet and resume eating your favorite foods in their natural state.
Diet Following Implant Placement
After surgery, especially after general anesthesia or IV sedation, liquids should be taken frequently. Drink plenty of cool fluids, but avoid carbonated beverages or very hot foods or drinks.
A soft, non-chewing diet is recommended for 10 days to 2 weeks after surgery to allow the gum tissue to heal. Chop food in small pieces or use a blender to puree. Eat any nourishing food that can be taken with comfort. Patients who maintain a good diet of soft foods, generally feel better, have less discomfort and heal faster. Avoid foods that may cause trauma to the gums, such as chips, popcorn, nuts or shells. Over the next several days you may progress to more solid foods.
Recommended food and drinks:
- Juice, water, milk, coffee, tea.
- Cooked cereals, such as oatmeal or cream of wheat, yogurt.
- Scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, apple sauce.
- Home cooked broth, bouillon, soups.
- Ground beef, baked or broiled fish, broiled or stewed chicken (finely chopped).
- Macaroni and cheese, soft bread, baked or mashed potatoes.
- Jell-O, puddings, pound cake, milkshakes, ice cream.
Your Smile Headquarters
Whether a single dental implant, implant bridge or full upper and lower implant arches are required to restore your smile, Harrell Dental Implant Center can help. Make an appointment with us today for your free dental consultation. Dr. Robert Harrell will assess your needs, answer any questions you might have and show you your best course of treatment.
Call 704-206-1330 or use the contact form on this page to schedule your appointment. During your visit a complimentary digital smile preview (an $85 value) will be created to show how you will appear when your implants are in place.