If you've ever undergone minor dental surgery such as wisdom tooth removal, tooth extraction, or a periodontal procedure, you'll have a good idea what your dental implant surgery will feel like. It won't feel like anything much during the procedure (the site will be anesthetized), with some mild discomfort afterward—which is manageable with over-the-counter pain relief. You'll also know that you'll want to eat a soft food diet for a few days following your surgery. When it comes to dental implants, these soft foods should not be dairy-based.
It may seem counterintuitive to temporarily avoid dairy products after your dental implant surgery. Ice cream, pudding, milkshakes, yogurt; surely these are sensible things to consume when your jaw and gums are sensitive after minor oral surgery? Dairy products contain proteins and calcium, and it may seem like this is something your body needs while you recover. It's your body's response to certain proteins found in dairy products that's actually causing the problem.
The consumption of dairy products can trigger a light inflammatory response in the soft tissues they pass over while being consumed—which in this case means your oral mucosa, which is the soft lining of your mouth. This response is typically so minor as to be imperceptible, unless you happen to be recovering from the installation of a dental implant.
Even though your implant is embedded in your jaw (which will then provide the implant with enough bite force to perform just like a natural tooth), your oral mucosa must still heal around the implant for the procedure to be a success. The soft tissues of your mouth lend some physical support to the implant and its prosthetic tooth, helping to stabilize it. Your gum tissues must also remain healthy so that the base of the implant's tooth is disguised, making it look entirely natural. The inflammatory response triggered by dairy products may jeopardize your healing process.
There's no need to be alarmed if you're a fan of dairy products. Your break from them won't be a long one, and may only be advised for a number of days. Your dentist can give you more precise information, as the recommended abstinence from dairy will be a little different for each patient. Remember that this only applies to dairy products too, and dairy substitutes (derived from soy, oat, and various nuts) should not trigger the same reaction.
Yes, you'll need to take a break from dairy products after your dental implant surgery—but it will only be a short one. While you might miss your favorite foods, a short break is far preferable to the failure of your new dental implant.
Contact a dentist for more information on dental implants.