What Can I Eat After Dental Surgery?

A common question we hear at Dental Associates of Lodi is,

"What soft foods can I eat after oral surgery procedures?"

The best foods to eat after a dental surgery (like wisdom teeth extraction or dental implants) need to have two characteristics: they should have a high nutrient value and be easy to eat to promote recovery. Some examples include:

Cool soft/liquid food

  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshake
  • Jello
  • Pudding

High nutrient value

  • Puréed butternut squash, apple, pumpkin, banana
  • Mashed potatoes, cauliflower, carrots
  • Omelette
  • Cheese

What are the things I should avoid after wisdom teeth extraction or dental implants?

There are no major food limitations after dental surgery, but the most important thing to remember is: don’t drink any fluid with a straw. Drinking liquid with a straw can cause a dry socket, which is a delayed healing process after a dental surgery. Dry socket is not an infection, but patients can experience immense pain 24 to 48 hours after dental surgery.

How long after dental implants can I eat normally?

Eat foods that are soft for the first 24 hours after surgery or follow the specific directions provided by Dr. Liao. Avoid hot foods and drinks for several hours after surgery and do not drink from a straw for at least 24 hours. These precautions will give your mouth a better chance to heal properly.

Why is it so important to focus on protein intake after dental implant surgery?

Protein is essential during the healing process. Not only is protein necessary to build and repair tissues affected by dental implant surgery, but it also helps the body fight infection. As you recover from dental implant surgery, Dr. Liao recommends that you eat more protein than you might normally consume so that you can boost your body’s healing abilities.

How do I add protein to a soft-food diet?

When most people think of protein-rich foods, they think of meat and nuts first. Obviously, neither of these foods will be very appealing to someone who has just undergone dental implant surgery! However, there are some easy steps you can take to keep your protein intake high while you focus on soft foods:

  • Try adding protein powder or peanut butter to smoothies.
  • Enjoy some protein-packed eggs or beans.
  • Load up on soft dairy products like yogurt that are rich in protein.
  • In the weeks following your dental implant surgery, you’ll also be able to incorporate meat back into your diet—just be sure to start with softer meats like ground beef, chicken, or fish, and always follow the specific recommendations that were provided to you following your procedure.

What if I don’t have an appetite after dental surgery?

It’s normal for patients who have recently undergone oral surgery to not have much of an appetite. You might also be nervous to eat because you’re concerned that it will be painful or damaging to your mouth. We absolutely understand this, but Dr. Liao can’t stress enough how important it is that you give your body the fuel it needs to heal while you recover.

Best practices for a faster recovery following oral surgery procedures.

  1. Take it easy. Rest at home, avoiding physical activity such as weight lifting, running or even jogging for the first 24 hours.
  2. Use ice. Apply ice packs to your face for 15 minutes on and then 15 minutes off to keep swelling down.
  3. Eat a soft or liquid diet.
  4. Take prescribed antibiotics.
  5. Use pain medication as needed.
  6. Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth 2 to 3 times daily.
  7. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  8. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. 
  9. Practice good oral hygiene.
  10. Eat foods rich in vitamin A and C.

Dr. Liao recommends fruit-and-yogurt smoothies because they contain the perfect combination of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to help your body heal after surgery—just don’t drink them with a straw! Add a handful of spinach for some extra nutrition or customize the recipe with your favorite fruits.

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup frozen mango, pineapple, or peaches
  • 1 banana, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup ice

Blend all of the ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a day in a covered container.

Do you have any additional questions about what to eat after dental surgery? Call us at 862-247-8030.