What Can I Eat After Major Dental Work?

Most visits to the dentist don’t require special aftercare instructions except don’t chew anything until the anesthetic has worn off and you no longer feel numb. However, if you’ve just had a tooth extracted or a major dental procedure like a root canal or dental implant, you should plan to eat a little differently while your mouth heals.

Eating the right foods after major dental work can help you heal faster and prevent causing any pain post-surgery. In this blog post, we will share some ideas for foods that promote healing and that you can easily eat.

What You Should Eat

A healthy diet is always good for your overall health and healing. During the recovery process, your best options include:

  • Soft Foods: Anything that doesn’t require chewing is obviously the easiest to eat after dental procedures. Stick to soft foods that are easy to swallow and do not require excessive chewing.
  • Cold Foods: After dental surgeries, it’s not uncommon to experience swelling and pain around the affected area. Eating cold food can help soothe and reduce inflammation. Cold foods like ice cream, popsicles, smoothies, and slushies are a great way to alleviate any pain and discomfort caused by the dental procedure.
  • Nutritional Foods: Foods containing vitamins C and K, Iron, and Zinc can enhance the body’s healing process, thus promoting quick recovery. You can include fruits like oranges, berries, and watermelons rich in vitamin C. Iron can be found in foods like egg yolks, red meat, and spinach while Zinc can be found in oysters, crab, and turkey.
  • High Protein Foods: Proteins, which are found in meat, poultry, fish, beans, and lentils, help regenerate tissue, forming the foundation for new tissues and helping the wound to heal. It’s important to consume enough protein throughout the recovery process to improve the pace of the healing process without compromising on your nutritional intake.


Ideas For What You Can Enjoy

Soups and Broths: Soups are a great option as they are soft and can be prepared with various ingredients to meet your taste and nutritional requirements. Broths are particularly beneficial in aiding healing, as they contain essential minerals and vitamins that promote tissue growth.

Mashed Potatoes: Mashed potatoes are also an excellent option, as they are easy to chew and swallow and also provide energy in the healing process. Softened with milk or butter, mashed potatoes can be flavored using herbs, spices, and other additions to suit your taste buds.

Smoothies: Smoothies are a fantastic option for maintaining a balanced diet. They provide essential vitamins and minerals to help with healing. They are easy to consume, making them a handy meal replacement for patients who cannot tolerate solids.

Yogurt and Cottage Cheese: These dairy items are not only soft foods, but they are also high in protein and calcium, both of which are essential for healing. Additionally, yogurt contains probiotics that support gut health and multiple vitamins that boost the immune system. These benefits make yogurt and cottage cheese perfect additions to your post-extraction diet.

Eggs: While they’re usually eaten for breakfast, scrambled eggs are an excellent option at any time of day. They are easy to prepare, high in protein, and very soft. They can be seasoned in a variety of ways to enhance the taste. Besides scrambled eggs, consider other ways they can be prepared, such as poached, fried, and hardboiled, either plain or as egg salad.

Pasta: There’s probably at least as many ways to make pasta as there are types of pasta. Slightly overcooked pasta is extremely soft and easy to prepare as well as offering endless opportunities for variety. You can enjoy a comforting classic like macaroni and cheese or noodles with butter or something that feels heatier like a flavorful pesto. Consder adding some additional items, like meatballs which can often be broken down with little actual chewing.

Porridges: Soft foods like oatmeal and grits can be flavored to accommodate a variety of taste buds or cravings. There are a variety of sweet and savory additions like adding a little diced, canned peaches and cream to oatmeal or adding butter and cheese to grits. Polenta and risotto are also great for filling and satisfying meals.

Fruits and Vegetables: While you are to avoid crunchy foods like crisp cucumber and celery, look around the produce section to find options like very ripe melons, bananas, and avocados. Many other fruits and vegetables can be prepared in a way that softens them like glazed carrots or mashed sweet peas.

Sweets: While you don’t want to overindugle, eating sweets in moderation can make recovery more enjoyable. There’s a lot to choose like ice cream, pudding, cheesecake, and jello.

What You Should Avoid During the Healing Process

While some foods are easier to eat after dental work surgery, it’s equally important to avoid certain foods and other things that might hamper the healing process. You should avoid:

Straws: The act of sucking through a straw can dislodge a blood clot and lead to a painful condition called a dry socket, which besides being terribly painful can also lead to infection.

Acidic Foods: Foods that are naturally acidic such as tomatoes and citrus fruits and juices can cause gum irritation, which can be incredibly unpleasant on tissue that is healing.

Spicy Foods: You should also cut back on spicy foods as they can be irritating.

Crunchy and Hard Foods: It makes sense to steer clear of the opposite of soft! Avoid crunchy and hard foods like chips, popcorn, crackers, seeds, and nuts, as they can get caught up or dislodge any of the healing tissues or even cause damage to your stitches.

Hot Foods: When eating foods that are commonly served hot, wait until it’s cooled to lukewarm. Food and beverages that are served overly hot could disrupt the healing process.

Follow Your Dentist’s Aftercare Instructions

Keep in mind that every patient’s healing process is different. Please remember to always consult your dentist on post-extraction care, and strictly follow instructions, including how long to stick to soft foods and how long to avoid things like straws. Knowing what to eat after significant dental work can significantly improve your recovery process, whether you’ve had a root canal, an extraction, or dental implant surgery. With this guide, you are now equipped with the necessary information to make healthy choices, thus speeding up your recovery time with ease. Proper nutrition will help promote a faster and easier healing, allowing you to return to your normal diet quickly.

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