How Do Dental Implants Affect Eating and Nutrition?

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Humans need healthy food to live a productive life. Our teeth are one of the basic body parts that are involved in our nutritional process. As unhealthy eating habits negatively impact our health, poor oral hygiene can also affect our eating and nutrition. Therefore, it is important to keep our oral conditions in check and get dental implants if we lose teeth.

Dental implants are quite common but people still get doubtful regarding food consumption after getting implants. The thought of saying goodbye to our favorite food items can be scary. However, dental implants are not as scary as people think. And we assure you will not have to abandon your favorite foods after getting implants.

In this article, we have discussed what dental implants are and how they might affect our eating and nutrition.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are similar to screws in shape. They can be considered as artificial roots of teeth. They serve as a sturdy support for the replaced teeth. Once placed in the jawbone, they become bonded with the natural bone. In this way, they become a base for artificial teeth or crowns.

Dental implants have been performed for decades. Due to their bonding with the natural bone, they feel and function just like natural teeth. If an experienced dentist performs the procedure, the surgery will go safely and smoothly.

Dental Implants and Eating

After getting the implants, we need to eat softer food items during the recovery period. This allows the mouth and jaw to heal properly before we go back to our regular eating routine. So, during the recovery period, we need to steer clear of the food items that are either stick or hard to chew. As soon as we properly recover, we can eat anything that we feel like eating. So, say hello to that juicy steak!

As compared to dental implants, eating with dentures is quite difficult. Most of the food items tend to get stuck in the appliance and cause irritation, especially the hard to chew ones. Moreover, in upper dentures, a plate covers the roof of our mouth blocking the taste buds. So, the entire experience of eating is affected by dentures. On the other hand, implants are properly fitted in the jaws and they bond well with the bone. As a result, the entire eating process is just like eating with natural teeth.

Complications after a Dental Implant

Just like any dentistry procedure, there are complications and risks associated with dental implants, as well. However, most of these problems occur when the patient does not follow instructions provided by the dentist after the treatment. Try to follow the eating protocols as suggested by the dentist and there will be no complications.

Some common complications associated with dental implants are mentioned below:

  • When patients do not eat soft food during the recovery period, it intensifies the pain and discomfort.
  • Some hard to chew food can lead to excessive bleeding.
  • A dry socket can be caused by drinking through a straw. So, sip from the cup or glass directly to prevent this issue as it prolongs the healing process.
  • An infection may also develop at the site of the implant if hard to chew food is consumed regularly.
  • During the procedure, an injury can damage the surrounding teeth or blood vessels.
  • Nerve damage can also happen to result in numbness, pain, and tingling sensations.
  • In some cases when implants are placed in the upper jaw, sinus problems can occur.

Some of these risks can be managed by properly following the dentist’s recommendations. However, in some severe cases, immediate expert attention may be required to treat the problem.

Aftercare Tips for Dental Implants

Below we have mentioned some aftercare tips for dental implants related to eating and drinking habits during the recovery period.

●    Maintaining Good Oral Health

Our oral health is an important element of our overall health. Whatever food we eat, travels through our mouth. So, if our mouth is unclean and unhygienic, the food becomes tainted, too.

Oral hygiene is important throughout our lives but it becomes inevitable after dental implants. Keeping a healthy and hygienic oral cavity will make the implants last longer than usual.

One of the best ways to do it is by following the soft-diet plan given by the dentist during the recovery period. It will not put too much pressure on the implants and the cleaning process is also easy.

●    Brushing after Every Meal

Make it your mantra that you have to brush your teeth after every meal that you take. Brush and floss are your best friends after getting dental implants. They help in keeping the implants working for a long time without any inconvenience. Brushing after every meal helps scrape off any plaque or food particles that may have remained. This way, these deposits don’t become hard and can be taken off with gentle brushing.

Consuming a soft and liquid diet during the recovery period also helps in brushing. It is better to not put too much pressure on implants in the beginning. Moreover, keep a soft toothbrush to clean the teeth as a hard and bristly toothbrush can cause pain and swelling.

●    Adjusting the Diet

Dental Implants
Dental Implants

After dental implants, we have to adjust our diet to the new situation before resuming our regular diet. During the recovery period, we should make sure to not eat anything that is hard or crunchy. Try to consume soft and liquid items.

Once the recovery period is over, we can start eating more regular food items. However, there is no need to rush it and the transition should be as smooth as possible. Gradually, move from a soft and liquid diet to semi-solid food items. From there we can easily shift to eating solid food again.

Although implants feel and function like natural teeth, it is better to be careful with hard food no matter what.

However, if something does not feel normal, you should consult your dentist immediately.

Some food items that we should consume during the recovery period and for some time following this period are mentioned below.

During the recovery period:

  1. Water
  2. Coconut water
  3. Protein and meal replacement shakes
  4. Milk
  5. Broth
  6. Tea
  7. Fruit juices
  8. Coffee
  9. Frozen yogurt
  10. Milkshakes and smoothies
  11. Custard
  12. Ice cream
  13. Yogurt-based drinks
  14. Vegetable or cream soup

Following the recovery period:

  1. Mashed potatoes
  2. Soft tofu
  3. Pureed stews
  4. Eggs
  5. Cheese
  6. Hummus
  7. Quinoa
  8. Oatmeal
  9. Soft bread

In a nutshell, dental implants do not negatively affect our diet. They feel and function like natural teeth and if the procedure is carried out by an expert professional, it is one of the safest dentistry treatments.

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