Are you thinking about getting a replacement for your missing tooth? How our smile looks is critical to how we feel about ourselves and can affect both our oral health and our self-confidence. When you lose a tooth there are several ways to replace it but the method that’s considered the best by most dentists is dental implants.
Unlike dentures and bridges, dental implants require a short surgery to fit them which is why we’re often asked do dental implants hurt? To answer this question, it helps to know exactly what implants are and what’s involved in the dental implant procedure so you have an understanding of the level of pain to expect.
What are dental implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root. It consists of three parts that include the implant post, the abutment, and the prosthetic tooth or dental crown. Once the implant has been surgically placed into the jawbone it’s left for several weeks to bond with the surrounding bone and become a permanent fixture in the mouth.
Once this process known as osseointegration has successfully taken place, the implant will be sufficiently strong to support a dental crown. Or, in the case of several missing teeth, to support a bridge or denture. The entire dental implant procedure can take up to 9 months to complete so if you’re looking for a quick fix to a missing tooth, this is probably not the best option for you.
So, getting back to the dental implant surgery, what can you expect?
Will implant surgery hurt and what should I expect from the dental implant procedure?
When speaking about the dental implant procedure, it’s best to split it up into two sections. The first part is the surgery and the second part is the recovery.
Dental implants are surgically placed by our dentist into the jaw and this involves cutting into the gums. Now we know you’re probably imagining this is going to hurt but before commencing the procedure your mouth will be numbed with local anaesthesia and, if you prefer, we can also provide dental sedation so you feel more relaxed during the surgery. Whatever you decide, you should feel no dental implant pain.
Here at Infinity Dental Care, we want the best for our patients which is why we provide digital implant surgery. This utilises a 3D computer simulation to evaluate the condition of the jawbone and to ascertain the position of the nerves. Armed with this information, our dentist can plan dental implants surgery that requires a minimal incision. Since the concept of digital implant surgery is to make the smallest incision possible, surgery is shorter, more accurate, and more comfortable with faster healing during the recovery period.
During the surgery, a surgical guide is fitted over the teeth to avoid accidental damage to the surrounding nerves or teeth. The guide also helps our dentist make small but accurate incisions to place the dental implants. The incisions are so small, that typically sutures are not necessary. This type of flapless surgery also lessens the amount of bleeding and swelling that patients experience after conventional implant surgery and usually takes around 10 to 20 minutes for one to two implants to be installed.
While the local anaesthetic is still in effect, patients will feel no dental implant pain. The dentist may give you some pain relief medication before starting the surgery so that when the anaesthetic starts to wear off, you have sufficient pain relief, just in case.
Do dental implants hurt during the recovery period?
You can expect to feel some tenderness after the effects of the anaesthetic wear off but it should be manageable. Usually, any discomfort can be eased with over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen. You must follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your implant dentist which may include some of the following points:
- Refrain from overly hot or cold drinks or food during the first 48 hours.
- Stick to a liquid diet for the first 48 hours. We recommend smoothies and soups.
- Avoid sucking through a straw as this could loosen the blood clot on the wound and lead to a condition known as dry socket. When this occurs, it exposes the nerves and sensitive bone area which can lead to extreme dental implant pain and in many cases, infection.
- The day after surgery start to rinse the mouth with salt water 2 or 3 times a day. This helps keep infection at bay and promotes healing.
- Expect some minor swelling for 2-3 days which can be alleviated with a cold compress placed on the outside of the face.
- Do not smoke as this can slow down healing and sometimes prevent it from happening, causing your dental implant to fail.
Healing and recovery will be different for everyone. Many patients who have had a straightforward implant have been known to return to work the next day whereas others who have had more complex surgery and several dental implants may take 2 or 3 weeks to fully recover.
The consensus is, however, that you should experience very little if any dental implant pain throughout the dental implant procedure and the recovery. If you are feeling pain. especially several days after, you should get medical help or schedule a follow-up with your dentist. With the latest technologies, dental implants are considered minor surgery and most patients regard any discomfort to be significantly less than with a tooth extraction.
Undergoing any type of surgery is scary. You may be worried about the needle, the gum incisions, or the sound of the drill but the bottom line is that you should feel no dental implant pain. Nor, on the other hand, should you experience too much discomfort during the recovery phase.
So hopefully, that has answered the question of “do dental implants hurt?”
Implants are a great way to restore aesthetics, form and function and it’s just like getting your real teeth back again. They’re even cared for in the same way with daily brushing and flossing and regular check-ups and cleans with the dentist. If you’re considering dental implants then why not schedule a consultation with the friendly experienced dental team at Infinity Dental Care. We do smiles beautifully. Call us now on (02) 9159 6237.
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner