Are Dental Implants Painful?
Posted on: October 27, 2021
4 minute read
One of the first questions most people ask about dental implant surgery is, “Will it hurt?” Dental implants have many benefits to help replace missing teeth. Still, the prospect of pain can make some people avoid seeking treatment to restore their smile. Before making your final decision, it is essential to know:
- The risks and benefits of treatment
- What to expect during and after the procedure
- Strategies used to cope with dental anxiety
- Sedation options
- How to properly maintain dental implants
Why Choose Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a small titanium screw that connects to a single crown, bridge or denture via abutments. Implants mimic the function of tooth roots that help to stimulate the jaw bone when you chew food. This helps to keep the jaw bone healthy and stops it from shrinking away.
Whether you need to replace one, several, or all your teeth, dental implants may be a replacement solution. There are a number of reasons why dental implants are considered the gold standard of teeth replacement(1):
- Preserve the jaw bone
- Look and feel natural
- Improve chewing ability
- Make speaking easier
- Make oral hygiene simple
- Create comfortable restorations
- Willingness to openly smile
Like any surgical procedure, dental implant surgery involves general and surgical risks, and treatment success often relies upon adequate post-operative care. Before any procedure takes place, your medical history, bone density and treatment suitability is assessed by your dentist. They will explain all the benefits and risks in detail to help you make a fully informed decision about treatment.
Dental implants have been used to replace missing teeth since the 1960’s, and over a 20 year period, the success rate of dental implant surgery has been very high, at 96% for the lower jaw and slightly lower for the upper jaw (91%) where the bone tends to be softer.
Pain During Implant Surgery
At Perth Dental Implant Centre, your comfort during the procedure is our first priority. While Dr Norcross typically performs dental implant surgery under a local anaesthetic to numb pain, we also offer sleep dentistry to ease patients into a calming, sleep-like state.
Sleep dentistry involves either intravenous (IV) sedation or general anaesthesia. This is where you remain semi-conscious during treatment with IV sedation, but you’ll have little, if any recollection of the procedure.
If you are particularly nervous about treatment, Dr Norcross can perform surgery for eligible patients under general anaesthesia in day hospital. This is where you will be unconscious, under the care of our qualified GP anaesthetist for the duration of the procedure where your vital signs are closely monitored throughout.
Pain After Dental Implant Surgery
Pain can be experienced very differently for everyone and can depend on factors including:
- the number of implants being placed;
- the method in which implants are placed (freehand or digitally guided);
- the number of teeth being extracted;
- whether a bone graft is involved;
- and one’s individual pain threshold.
We use the latest implant technology and placement techniques to help make the procedure go as smoothly as possible. It’s expected that some degree of pain and inflammation after dental implant surgery is experienced, as it’s part of the body’s normal response(2). Within 3-5 days, pain should reach its maximum intensity and one week after surgery, symptoms should subside. During this first week you will be provided with pain relief to help manage any symptoms while you heal.
Although it is rare, infections can occur. Infections often require cleansing and antibiotics to allow healing to occur. To help your mouth to heal, we recommend you:
- Follow your post-op instructions closely.
- Do not resume your regular diet immediately. Soft foods and liquids are safer than hard foods that can damage the implant. Make sure you consume adequate protein following surgery.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Closely follow oral hygiene instructions to keep the site as clean as possible.
- Take your medications as directed.
- Do not smoke or use other tobacco products.
Most dental implants heal after about two weeks, but it takes between 3 to 6 months for the implant to bond with the jaw bone completely. If you still have pain after two weeks, please call us immediately.
Maintaining Dental Implants
When you maintain your dental implants and replacement teeth, you’re allowing yourself the best chance of long-term success. You can help your dental implants to last as long as they’re intended to, by:
- Brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use a gentle and circular motion and avoid a horizontal, back-and-forth brushing stroke.
- Using a non-abrasive toothpaste for brushing.
- Flossing and use appropriate interdental cleaning aids daily. Once you have implants, flossing becomes more critical than ever. A primary reason for implant failure is gum disease due to inadequate flossing.
- Avoiding foods that can damage replacement teeth. You can eat a healthy diet once you have implants, but some foods can cause problems. Avoiding foods such as hard candy and ice help protect your replacement teeth.
- Wearing a mouth guard if you clench or grind your teeth.
- Avoiding smoking and tobacco products. This is especially true for the first six months so that the implants can heal completely.
- Visiting Perth Dental Implant Centre every six months for a check-up and professional teeth cleaning. Keeping these appointments help ensure that you do not develop gum inflammation that could damage the implants.
It’s normal to feel nervous about getting dental implants. Do not let fear stop you from openly smiling again. Ask us how we can help you.
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.