For great results with dental implants, Washington DC patients must take good care of their mouths after surgery to promote proper healing of surgical sites and efficient implant osseointegration. An important part of that care is the avoidance of excessive pressure on newly placed implants. For that reason, patients often question whether their diets will be restricted after surgery and, if so, and how long it will be until they can eat and chew normally.

Why Being Gentle With Your Newly Placed Implants Matters

Osseointegration is the key to solid support for implant-anchored dental restorations. After a dental implant is placed into the jawbone, bone cells will begin to attach themselves to its surface as they would a natural tooth root, gradually fusing the implant to the natural bone.

Placing pressure on the implant during this phase can disturb that new bone growth, loosening the bond that is forming between the implant and the surrounding bone, causing implant failure.

The Day of Surgery

During the first 24 hours after the placement of dental implants, Washington DC patients can expect to experience some minor swelling, soreness and bleeding at surgical sites. It is particularly important during this period to eat only very soft foods to avoid disturbing the initial phase of healing, and avoid sticky foods, like peanut butter, or grainy ones such as rice. Drinking plenty of fluids is essential to the healing process, but avoid hot liquids and do not use straws.

Dental Implants Washington DC: The First Week

A diet of soft foods is recommended for most patients throughout the first five to seven days after placement of dental implants. Washington DC patients may be advised to observe those restrictions for up to two weeks under some circumstances. It is very important that patients do not skip meals, since good nutrition is vital for proper healing of gum and bone tissues, but do avoid chewing, even with soft foods, directly over the implant site to reduce risk of complications.

The Next Three to Six Months

Osseointegration is a process that occurs gradually over a period of three to six months in the average patient. Implants placed in the back of the mouth and ones in the upper jaw typically take longest to integrate. In some cases, where bone quality is not optimal or health issues slow healing, osseointegration can take as long as nine months to a year.

During this period, disturbing the implant as little as possible is helpful in ensuring optimal bonding between it and the jawbone. Avoiding hard, crunchy foods during this time is wise. Generally, if a food makes noise as you chew it, it should likely be avoided until your dental implant is securely integrated into your jawbone.

While there certainly is some inconvenience involved, taking care to treat your newly placed implants gently for a few months will certainly be worth the effort over the long term. Keep in mind that, unlike many other restoration options, doing without those crunchy foods is just a temporary situation with dental implants. Once osseointegration and restoration is complete, your new tooth or teeth will look, feel and function like natural ones, allowing you to eat whatever you like.

For more information about eating with dental implants, call our office at (202) 386-7100.