How Long After Dental Implants Can I Eat Normally?

Jun 16, 2023 | Dental Implants

How Long After Dental Implants Can I Eat Normally

One of the main reasons people opt for dental implants over the traditional denture option for tooth replacement is the ability to eat whatever you want without fearing a denture falling out. While this is true once your dental implants have a strong and solid foundation, it is necessary to restrict your diet during the healing process for the implants to bond with the bone and create a secure foundation. But how long do you have to follow a restricted diet? This answer depends on how you heal. In general, most people can return to normal eating within a few months.

Here we look closer at dental implants, the healing process, what diet restrictions are necessary during healing, and when you can resume eating your favorite foods.

Key Takeaways

  • Dental implants require a healing process called osseointegration, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months.
  • During the initial healing phase, following a soft and bland diet is necessary to promote proper healing.
  • Factors like overall health, oral hygiene, smoking, bone quality, surgical technique, and post-surgical care can influence the speed of recovery.
  • As the healing progresses, you can gradually transition to a normal diet under your dentist’s guidance, starting with softer textures and gradually incorporating more challenging foods.
  • The timeline for reintroducing solid foods and specific food restrictions may vary depending on your individual healing process and the instructions from your dentist.

Understanding dental implants and the healing process

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are surgically placed into the jawbone to support replacement teeth or dental prostheses. The healing process requires several stages that you must be familiar with in order to help ensure implant success. During implant surgery, the surgeon exposes the jawbone and drills a small hole where the implant is placed. Once in position, the gum tissue is stitched, and the healing process begins.

At this point, a crucial phase of recovery begins. Osseointegration is the process where the jawbone fuses with the implant, creating a secure foundation for your artificial tooth or teeth. Because everyone heals at a different rate, this process can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months. During this time, good oral hygiene and avoiding pressure on the implants is essential.

Once the osseointegration is complete, the abutment and artificial tooth are connected, and you are able to resume normal function and eating.

Immediate post-surgery diet restrictions

After undergoing dental implant surgery, it’s essential to follow specific diet restrictions provided by your surgeon to promote proper healing and minimize complications. During the initial healing phase, it is recommended to stick to a soft and bland diet.

When can you eat?

During the initial 24-48 hours after your implant surgery, you should only eat cold liquids and very soft foods. This can include cold soups and broths, mashed potatoes, bananas, applesauce, avocados, scrambled eggs, protein shakes, yogurt, and ice cream. While it may be tempting to eat ice cream for every meal, it is important that you find a variety of foods that provide you with a balanced diet of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Foods to avoid

During your recovery, it is important that you avoid certain foods that can irritate your gums and implant site, as well as negatively affect the osseointegration process. Foods to avoid include:


    • Hot and spicy foods
    • Hard fruits and vegetables
    • Popcorn and other crunchy snacks, such as nuts, seeds, and chips
    • Sticky or chewy foods
    • Alcohol

Importance of following the dentist’s instructions

Following your oral surgeon’s instructions is essential as it helps to promote optimal healing of the implant site. By following these instructions, you can minimize the risk of complications and ensure successful osseointegration, where the implant fuses with the jawbone. This helps establish a strong and stable foundation for the artificial tooth, giving you the ability to eat whatever you want once the implants have healed.

Transitioning to a normal diet

Transitioning to a normal diet after dental implant surgery requires a gradual and cautious approach to ensure the continued healing and success of the implant. As the healing progresses, your dentist will provide specific instructions on when and how to reintroduce regular foods. Initially, a soft diet is recommended, gradually incorporating foods that require more chewing over time.

Avoid hard or sticky foods that can put excessive pressure on the implant or cause damage. By gradually transitioning to a normal diet under the guidance of your dentist, you can support the long-term stability and functionality of the dental implant while enjoying a wider variety of foods.

Factors that influence the speed of recovery

As we mentioned above, everyone heals differently and how soon you are able to transition to additional foods will depend on how your body heals and when your surgeon believes the implants have a solid foundation. Factors that can affect your healing process can include:


    • Overall health
    • Quality oral hygiene
    • Smoking
    • Bone quality and quantity
    • Surgical technique used by the surgeon
      How well you follow post-surgical care

What to eat during the transition

As you move into the transition period and are able to start incorporating additional foods, it is important to start slow. Start with softer textures like cooked vegetables and tender meats, then progress to foods with slightly more resistance, such as lightly toasted bread or softer fruits.

Maintaining oral hygiene during the healing phase

Maintaining proper oral hygiene during the healing phase after dental implant surgery is crucial for the successful recovery and long-term success of the implant. Here are some guidelines to follow:


    • Gentle Brushing: Start brushing your teeth the day after the surgery, being cautious around the surgical area. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently brush the remaining teeth, tongue, and the implant site. Avoid brushing directly on the surgical site until it has healed and your dentist gives you the green light to do so.
    • Rinsing with Mouthwash: Your dentist may recommend an antimicrobial mouthwash to help reduce the risk of infection. Rinse your mouth with the prescribed mouthwash as directed, typically after meals or as instructed by your dentist.
    • Saltwater Rinse: After the first 24 hours, your dentist may advise rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. Mix about half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and gently swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds to a minute. This can help soothe the surgical area and promote healing.
    • Avoid Irritation: Be cautious not to disturb the surgical area while maintaining oral hygiene. Avoid excessive spitting, using a straw, or vigorous rinsing, as these actions can dislodge the blood clot or interfere with the healing process.
    • Watch Your Diet: Stick to the recommended post-surgery diet restrictions to prevent food particles from getting trapped around the surgical site. Proper nutrition is crucial for healing, so maintain a balanced diet that supports your overall health.
    • Attend Follow-up Appointments: Regularly visit your dentist for follow-up appointments as scheduled. This allows your dentist to monitor your healing progress, address any concerns, and provide further guidance on oral hygiene practices during the healing phase.

Remember, every patient’s healing process may vary, and your dentist will provide specific instructions tailored to your situation.

Frequently asked questions

When can I eat solid food after implant?

The timeline for when you can eat solid foods after a dental implant procedure varies depending on several factors, including your individual healing process and the specific instructions provided by your dentist. As your healing progresses and your dentist assesses the stability of the implant, they will provide guidance on gradually reintroducing solid foods. Typically, this transition occurs within a few weeks to a couple of months after the surgery.

How long do you have to eat soft food after dental implants?

How long a soft food diet is required after dental surgery will depend on how you and your dental implants are progressing through the osseointegration process. A soft food diet is essential during this process in order to ensure your implants have a strong foundation. How your body heals will determine this timeline and it can run anywhere from a few weeks to six months.

Can I eat pizza after a dental implant?

Once the osseointegration process completes and your new crown is attached, your surgeon will give the green light to go back to normal eating. When it comes to pizza, however, it may take time. While pizza may seem like a relatively soft food, it can be very acidic and irritate the gums. In addition, pizza crust can be tough to chew and pose a challenge for new implants.

Can I eat French fries after dental implant surgery?

Eating French fries after dental implant surgery is generally not recommended during the initial healing phase. French fries are often crunchy and can exert excessive pressure on the implant site, potentially causing discomfort, irritation, or even damage to the healing tissues.

Gradual transition after dental implants

While you choose dental implants as a missing tooth or teeth replacement because of their secure foundation and the ability to continue eating your favorite foods without the fear of your teeth falling out, it is important that your implants have a solid foundation in order to last for years. During this healing time, diet restriction is essential. While it may seem like forever, you will be back to eating your favorite foods in no time.

Helping you achieve a beautiful smile

At New Leaf Rohnert Park, we understand how excited you are to have your new implants and a beautiful new smile, and our goal is to ensure your new implants stay beautiful for years to come. After your implant procedure, your surgeon will provide you with post-op instructions, including guidance on a soft diet that is implant friendly. Your surgeon will follow your progress closely and let you know as soon as you can get back to your favorite foods.

To learn more about dental implants and what to expect, contact us today at (707) 586-1549 to schedule an appointment.

Eddie Kuo, DDS

Eddie Kuo, DDS

Owner @ New Leaf Rohnert Park

Professional Degrees

University of California at Davis – BS in Biological Sciences with emphasis in Neurology, Physiology, Behaviors

University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, Doctorate of Dental Surgery

State University of New York at Buffalo – General Practice Residency at Erie County Medical Center

Front Office Staff On Phone Taking Appointment

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