The thought of oral surgery often conjures up images of gory scenes and a painful recovery process but luckily it tends to be nowhere near as bad as people are expecting. The dental implant procedure does involve securing dental implants into your jaw, but it’s more comfortable than you think. But just how painful are dental implants?
The lowdown on pain from dental implants
When your dentist performs your dental implant procedure, you won’t feel a thing because anaesthetists will ensure your mouth and gums are numb before the operation commences. The procedure may be done under local or general anaesthesia depending on a few factors such as patient preference (when a choice is available) or the complexity of the surgical procedure.
Recovery is also fairly mild in most cases – patients who are also familiar with tooth extraction pain and discomfort have said the dental implant procedure is the milder of the two.
It often depends on where the dental implants are located – for example, if they’re in the upper jaw, there might be mild tenderness in areas around the cheeks and eye sockets during the initial recovery days.
How painful are dental implants during recovery?
Generally, the majority of discomfort or pain will be limited to the initial couple of days after you have the dental implants procedure. It can usually be managed with over the counter pain medication. Your dentist will discuss pain relief options during your consultation.
Most patients find that it’s that period when the anaesthetic wears off that hurts the most while recovering from getting dental implants. Pain relief is usually only needed for a couple of days but the overall tenderness in the mouth, neck and jaw may last up to a week and sometimes longer.
Don’t be afraid to ask the question ‘how painful are dental implants?’ while you’re talking to your dentist. They want you to be comfortable and confident with your dental implant procedure.
All patients will receive a thorough consultation and personalised information about how to minimise pain and any risk of complications related to their dental implants. It is important that this is followed carefully because infections after the dental implant procedure can be extremely painful (and dangerous).
How painful are dental implants? Does anything help provide relief?
There are some ways you can make yourself comfortable after surgery for dental implants. They include:
- Using prescription or over the counter pain relief – discuss options and concerns with your dentist and pharmacist
- Ice packs will help reduce swelling and help numb the area. You can wrap them in a soft cloth and hold them up to the painful area – ice should be used externally
- Avoiding certain foods during the healing phase. Hard or hot foods may cause irritation or damage to the dental implants incision site. Your dentist will give you information about what is ok and what should be avoided.
- Resting where possible. All surgical procedures can take their toll on the body so taking it easy for a couple of days will help you heal and reduce the risk of complications or accidentally damaging the surgical site.
- Following all instructions from your dentist carefully.
What if something goes wrong?
While some procedures carry more risk than others, even the most routine of dental surgery like a tooth extraction can still carry some risks. When it comes to dental implants, here are some of the things you need to look out for.
- Infection. This is usually preventable or manageable by following the aftercare instructions your dentist gives you. Most of the tips are not suggestions so try and stick to the plan as much as possible and contact the practice if you’re having any difficulties. Smoking, poor oral hygiene and some autoimmune conditions are the biggest risk factors for infection.
- Nerve, tooth or sinus damage. Your dentist will let you know if you’re at a greater risk of experiencing any of these and discuss options with you and help you understand how to know if any of this has occurred. The most important thing to do is discuss anything you’re unsure about with your dental team as soon as possible. They’re always happy to reassure you if what you’re experiencing is normal, and would rather do that dozens of times than have you worried about ringing when something is really wrong.
It’s crucial you look out for things like fever, nausea or vomiting, swelling getting worse or continued heavy bleeding more than a few hours after each procedure as these are usually significant signs that something isn’t right.
Is there anything else I should know?
For the most part, your dental implant procedure will be a distant memory seven to ten days after each procedure.
Issues can sometimes develop down the track too so make sure you are up to date with your dental exams.
The same things that can be risky for your natural teeth such as gum disease, teeth grinding and eating foods like hard candies or crunching on ice can also pose issues for dental implants.
Are you ready to embark on your dental implant journey?
Digital Dental Surgery Sydney and the Digital Dental Implant Institute team are passionate about making dental implant recovery comfortable for patients. Book a consultation with the team to discuss your options and concerns today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Are dental implants painful?
Early and late dental implant problems
Dental implant pain. What’s typical and when to get help