This short article will discuss the impacts of dental implants on your mouth and the pain associated with every step of the process, including surgery & recovery, to answer the million-dollar question: do dental implants hurt?
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a permanent, realistic-looking option to solve missing teeth and maintain your jaw and mouth health. Since the implant will bond with your jaw bone and can function and appear like a natural tooth, they have several advantages:
Help protect your jawbone from deterioration
Your teeth provide pressure and protection for your jawbone, stimulating your bone and tissue to keep them strong.
They function just like your natural teeth
This allows you to continue your oral hygiene routine, such as flossing, and keep your mouth healthy.
Correct the natural shape of your face
Your teeth affect the length of your face and your jawbone structure.
Are Dental Implants Painful?
In short, the answer varies from person to person. Everyone has their individual and unique pain tolerance. Overall, the surgery should not cause you a significant amount of pain. However, there is a recovery process, and discomfort may be involved like any surgery.
Luckily, there are over-the-counter and home remedies available to you. In addition, your dentist or periodontist will advise you on the proper aftercare following the procedure and notify you of any next steps.
Getting dental implants is a step-by-step process that involves more than one office visit. Other articles only discuss the pain associated with the insertion of the dental implant post and post-operative. This article will discuss every step of the procedure and the pain most commonly associated with each step.
Step 1: Consultation
There should be no pain associated with the initial consultation. The dentist or periodontist will assess your teeth, mouth, and health history to determine if dental implants are a good option for you. A 3D x-ray of your mouth and jaw is often taken to see if the jaw is healthy enough to install the implant.
(OPTIONAL STEP) Tooth extraction
You may opt to get dental implants to cosmetically correct already missing teeth in many cases. However, in some cases where the tooth is too weak, causing pain, or other health problems, the dentist may have to remove your tooth (or teeth) first. Pain associated with this is managed with OTC pain medications and should subside quickly.
(OPTIONAL STEP) Bone grafting
If your dental professional determines that your jaw is not strong enough, too thin, or is too soft, a bone graft may be required to install the implant. The bone may be taken from another part of your body or artificially made and then inserted underneath your gums on your jaw.
Some swelling, bruising, and discomfort may occur, although most people do not experience pain, as the procedure is done under a local anesthetic. Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics to prevent infection and recommend OTC pain medications, such as Advil. Ice can also help with swelling.
Step 2: Installing your dental implant post
Once your jaw is prepared for your procedure, a dentist will provide you with a local anesthetic to numb the area where the surgery is performed. During this period, you should feel no pain. However, if you are not numbed enough for some reason, it is important to bring it up.
You may feel slight pressure as the procedure is done since a hole will be drilled into your jaw to screw in the metal implant post. As a reminder, you will still have a gap with no tooth after this process- the post will serve as your new tooth’s “root.”
Following surgery, your mouth should still be numb for some time. Your dentist might recommend taking an OTC pain medication before the local anesthetic wears off to offset the pain. If everything heals as it should, it will only be temporary.
Pain associated with installing the dental implant post may last anywhere from a few days to 1 week, but you may only need to take medications for 1 or 2 days. The swelling, bruising, or stiffness associated with the procedure can last a little over one week but is generally just uncomfortable and can be helped with ice or gargling with warm saltwater. In addition, avoiding hard, spicy, hot/cold foods for a few days will ensure no further pain.
(OPTIONAL STEP) Placing the abutment
An abutment is the piece where the crown will attach to the dental implant post. It sticks up above the gum line, and since your dentist or periodontist will want to wait 3-6 months for the implant to fuse with your jaw, some patients opt to have this done as a separate procedure so it is not visible. However, it can also be done during the dental implant post-surgery to save a step.
The procedure is quick, done under local anesthetic, and the abutment is attached to the implant. Your gum will be cut into to expose the implant and then closed around the abutment, not over it. Healing can take around two weeks and should not be painful as long as proper aftercare is followed, although initial discomfort and gum bruising can be expected.
Step 3: Installing your crown
Once everything is healed and your dental implant is securely fused to your jaw through the healing process, the dental prosthesis can be screwed or cemented onto the post (abutment). Your dentist will likely take molds of your mouth to create the most realistic-looking crown for your teeth. This is the final step of the process and should not cause you any pain.
Getting dental implants is a multi-step journey towards restoring your smile and jaw health. They come with many benefits and are often a cost-effective way to maintain your mouth and take preventative measures.
Pain associated with dental implants is often mild to moderate and can be managed with OTC medications and home remedies such as ice packs or warm salt water rinses. Your dentist or periodontist will tell you exactly what to do after your surgery based on your specific needs.
Depending on how many dental implants are needed, you may experience more or less pain than expected, but you got this! You will be numbed throughout all of the dental surgery procedures, and post-op, it is essential to take care of yourself.
If you experience intense pain or significant bleeding following your surgery, it’s important to reach out to your dental professional as soon as possible to remedy the problem.
If you’re in the Northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton area and are looking to get a dental implant, Dr. Charles Dennis & his team are ready to assist you at Abington Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry with your smile makeover.
For those looking for a full-mouth restoration or cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Dennis is happy to offer All-on-4® dental implants, which allow you to get a complete set of teeth replaced with only four titanium screws to anchor the set of upper or lower teeth.
Call the office today at (570) 587-4031 to schedule a consultation!