Are dental implants painful? What is the procedure like?

Dental implant surgery is a complex and delicate procedure that involves the placement of an alternative tooth root into the jawbone to replace a lost tooth. It is a common dental procedure that can significantly improve your oral health, aesthetics, as well as self-esteem.

Nonetheless, like any surgical procedure, dental implant surgery can cause some degree of pain and discomfort during and after the procedure. So are dental implants painful? Let’s discover.

dental implant pain

This post from Sydney Dental will help you answer this question and provide you with what to be on the lookout for and when to seek medical help concerning dental implant pain.

1. What are the side effects associated with a dental implant? 

As effective and safe dental implants are as a tooth restoration option, there are some potential side effects that you should be aware of. Common side effects of dental implants are:

  • Pain and discomfort: As mentioned earlier, it is common to experience some pain and discomfort after a dental implant procedure. This usually lasts for a few days to a week and can be managed with pain relievers;
  • Swelling and bruising: Swelling and bruising around the implant site are also common after the surgery. Applying ice packs and keeping the head elevated can help reduce swelling;
  • Infection: In rare cases, an infection may develop around the implant site. Symptoms of an infection include fever, swelling, redness, and pus. If you experience these symptoms, contact your dentist immediately;
  • Nerve damage: The nerves in the jaw and mouth can be affected during the implant surgery, leading to numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or chin. This is usually temporary but can last for several weeks or months;
  • Implant failure: While rare, dental implants can fail due to a variety of factors, such as infection, inadequate bone support, or implant overload. If the implant fails, it may need to be removed and replaced;
  • Sinus problems: For dental implants in the upper jaw, there is a risk of sinus problems if the implant protrudes into the sinus cavity. This can cause sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
are dental implants painful
Fig 1. What are the side effects associated with a dental implant? 

However, these side effects are relatively uncommon, and most patients have a successful and uneventful recovery after a dental implant procedure. It is advisable that you discuss any concerns or questions with your dental care provider prior to undergoing the procedure.

2. How long does a patient have discomfort after dental implants?

You’ll probably still have some pain and soreness at the implant site after 3 to 7 days. But it should start to get less uncomfortable. After your operation, you may often go back to work or school in one to three days.

There ought to be a decrease in additional symptoms as well. Within 3 to 4 days at most, the bleeding should cease, and a week following surgery, the bruising and swelling should also start to go down.

3. What are the different types of dental implants?

are dental implants painful
Fig 2. What are the different types of dental implants? 

3.1. One single tooth implant vs multiple implants

One tooth or more teeth can be replaced using dental implants. These are your choices.

  • Implant for a single tooth. Your dentist will perform a single-tooth implant followed by the insertion of a single replacement tooth or crown if you just need one tooth replaced.
  • Implant with many teeth. Your doctor could perform a multiple-tooth implant using specially designed replacement teeth if you are missing a few teeth.
  • Implant across the mouth. Your doctor could do a full-mouth dental implant if you are toothless.

3.2. Fundamental Implant Types

Endosteal and subperiosteal implants are the two most popular kind of dental implants. The way they are fastened to your jawbone is the primary distinction.

are dental implants painful
Fig 3. The dental implant for one tooth
  • Implants endosteal. The most popular kind of dental implant is this one. It resembles a tiny screw, cylinder, or blade in form. It fits into your jawbone and accommodates one or more prosthetic teeth, often known as replacement teeth. If you already use bridges or dentures, your doctor could suggest an endosteal implant.
  • Implants subperiosteally. This kind of implant sits on top of your mandible. To hold it in place, a metal post is inserted under your gums and protrudes through them.

If you are unable to wear traditional dentures, your jawbone is not strong enough to support an endosteal implant, or you do not want to undergo bone augmentation surgery to increase the amount of bone in your jaw, you may have a subperiosteal implant.

4. What are the advantages of dental implants?

are dental implants painful
Fig 4. What are the advantages of dental implants?
  • Dental implants are long-lasting if they are properly maintained. They often don’t need to be changed after a certain period of time, unlike dentures.
  • Dental implants are fused into your jawbone, whereas dental bridges are supported by their neighboring teeth. This guards against stress or injury to your remaining teeth.
  • Because dental implants require the same oral hygiene as natural teeth, caring for them is typically rather simple. Brushing, flossing, and routine dental checkups are required for this.
  • Implants have the same appearance and functionality as natural teeth; they don’t make clicking sounds or cause problems while speaking or eating as dentures may.

5. How to manage pain from a dental implant? 

Managing pain from a dental implant involves taking steps to reduce discomfort and promote healing. Here are some tips to help manage pain after a dental implant procedure:

are dental implants painful
Fig 5. How to manage pain from a dental implant? 
  • Take pain relievers: Your dentist may prescribe pain relievers or recommend over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Take these medications as directed to help manage pain and reduce inflammation;
  • Apply ice packs: Applying ice packs to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Wrap the ice pack in a towel to avoid direct contact with the skin;
  • Rest and avoid strenuous activity: Resting and avoiding strenuous activity for a few days after the procedure can help reduce pain and promote healing;
  • Eat soft foods: Eating soft, easy-to-chew foods for the first few days after the procedure can help reduce discomfort and prevent damage to the implant site. Avoid hard or crunchy foods that can irritate the implant site;
  • Practice good oral hygiene: Keeping the implant site clean is important for preventing infection and promoting healing. Your dentist will provide instructions for oral hygiene after the procedure, such as how to brush and floss without disturbing the implant site;
  • Use saltwater rinses: Rinsing your mouth with saltwater can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Mix one teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water and swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out;
  • Take it easy: Avoid any activities that may put pressure on the implant site, such as smoking, drinking through a straw, or engaging in vigorous exercise.

If you have concerns about pain after a dental implant procedure, it is important to talk to your dentist. They can recommend other techniques for managing pain and promoting proper healing.

6. What’s the procedure of dental implant like?

6.1. Before the procedure

are dental implants painful
Fig 6. What’s the procedure of dental implant like?

Before the actual implant procedure, the dentist will typically numb the area around the implant site using local anesthesia. This is to ensure that the patient will have a painless and comfortable procedure.

Depending on the individual’s needs, the dentist may also prescribe pain medication to be taken before and after the procedure. Sedation may also be used for those who have anxieties over the surgery and would like to be put to sleep for the course of the procedure.

6.2. During the procedure

During the implant surgery, the dentist will make a small cut in the gum tissue to access the jawbone. They will then drill a small hole in the bone and insert the implant post. This process can cause some discomfort, but most patients find that it is manageable with the numbing medication.

6.3. After the procedure

After the implant has been placed, it will take several months for it to fuse with the surrounding bone in a process called osseointegration. During this time, patients may experience some discomfort or sensitivity in the area around the implant. However, this discomfort is usually mild and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication.

Once the implant has fully integrated with the surrounding bone, the dentist will place a dental crown on top of the implant to create a natural-looking replacement tooth. This process is typically quick and painless, and most patients experience little to no discomfort during the crown placement.

7. Conclusion.

are dental implants painful
Fig 7. Our team of doctors at Sydney Dental

Dental implant pain is a common side effect associated with dental implant treatment. Typically, it is usually manageable with proper pain relieving methods and rest.

With proper maintenance and follow-up visits, dental implants can be a permanent fix for your tooth loss, improving your long-term health and quality of life. Patients should pay close attention to any signs of complications or infections and promptly seek medical help if you experience any of these signs. Contact us now!



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