Dental implants are a wonderful alternative to other tooth replacement options, such as traditional dentures. You’d be forgiven for wondering does a tooth implant hurt? After all, it is a surgical procedure. You’re not alone—many people are anxious about dental implant pain before the procedure, but afterwards are puzzled why they were so worried.
Why Get Dental Implants?
A dental implant is a permanent artificial tooth root that is secured in your jaw, with an artificial tooth (crown) attached. It looks and acts like a natural tooth and if you are missing teeth, dental implants offer an effective solution for improving your smile.
What is the procedure for dental implants?
In very simplified terms, the dental implant procedure is typically a two-stage treatment that involves:
1. The insertion of the dental implant into the jawbone during a surgical procedure
2. The attachment of the artificial tooth (crown), typically at least 3 months’ after surgery
So, does a tooth implant hurt during surgery?
In a word, no! the surgical process is carried out under a local anaesthetic, so your mouth will be numbed, which means you won’t feel any pain. A small incision is made in the gum, above the part of the jawbone where the implant is being placed. Next, a hole is made in the bone and the implant inserted. You may feel some pressure when the implant is placed in your jawbone, but no pain. Once the implant is in place, the gum is stitched closed, covering the implant and allowing the area to heal.
If you are anxious about the surgery, other forms of sedation, such as nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or conscious sedation (twilight sedation) are available and are administered alongside local anaesthesia. Nitrous oxide and twilight sedation put patients into a deep state of relaxation so many patients feel as though they have been asleep throughout the procedure and have no recollection of it at all.
How long does a tooth implant hurt after surgery?
Following the surgical procedure to place dental implants it’s entirely normal for you to experience a little discomfort as your body adjusts and recovers. Pain is usually controlled well with over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. Once any swelling begins to subside, typically after 3 days, any discomfort should start to ease quickly.
Dental implant pain can be kept to a minimum by following the instructions issued by your dentist and by adhering to these tips to help speed your recovery.
It’s normal to experience some swelling after your implant surgery, but you can minimise swelling by following these three tips:
- Apply ice for the first 24 hours after your surgery. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and apply it to the outside of your cheek near where the dental implant was placed. Ice will help reduce inflammation and prevent excess fluid from pooling in your mouth.
- Avoid straws and smoking. These activities can cause excess pressure in your mouth and can increase bleeding.
- Reduce salt intake. High salt levels in your diet can lead to more swelling, so try to avoid salty foods when you’re recovering from surgery.
Salt is a natural disinfectant and also has anti-inflammatory properties. A saltwater rinse is a good way of helping to loosen any debris that may get stuck in your teeth, as well as reducing inflammation and encouraging healing around sites where the dental implants have been placed. It is especially helpful if you cannot clean your teeth and is preferable to mouthwashes that contain alcohol that can irritate the wound sites.
Stick to a liquid or pureed food only diet for a day or two
Even if you are not experiencing dental implant pain, your jaw may be stiff and chewing difficult. So, limit your intake to liquids and soft foods, such as yoghurts, mashed potatoes, ice cream, etc. Also, avoid hot food too as this can irritate the incision sites.
Take pain killers as prescribed
You will be given pain medication to take as necessary in the days following your surgery. Taken as instructed they should keep any discomfort to a minimum. However, if you are experiencing severe or unusual dental implant pain, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for advice.
Attaching the artificial tooth (crown) to the implant
This is the second and final part of the dental implant procedure. Once dental implants have been inserted into the jawbone, during the healing process they begin to fuse together.
It is a natural and normal process called osseointegration and is what makes dental implants such a successful procedure as it provides the same strength and stability as a natural tooth root does.
Osseointegration typically takes around 3 months, but it may be longer for some people.
To complete the implant process, you will need to have the crown attached. This takes about an hour and involves the dentist opening up your gum to expose the implant.
The implant and crown are joined together with an abutment to finalise the dental implant procedure.
During this part of the dental implants process, local anaesthetic is usually administered so you should not experience any pain or discomfort.
Does a Tooth Implant Hurt? The Takeaway
The process of getting implants can seem daunting, but it’s a lot simpler than most people think. And the good news is that getting a dental implant doesn’t have to be painful. It’s true that it will take time, and you’ll have some adjustments to make afterward, but with the right help and preparation, your surgery and recovery should be relatively smooth and seamless.
It’s worth thinking about the potential long-term benefits of tooth implants and what you have to gain, but make sure you’re prepared. Come and talk to the team at Infinity Dental Care on (02) 9159 6237 if you’ve any questions about dental implants and schedule an appointment today.
Web MD: Sedation Dentistry – Can You Really Relax In The Dentist’s Chair?
Medical News Today: How To Reduce Facial Swelling
Colgate: How Salt Water Mouth Rinses Benefit Oral Health