16 Apr Are Dental Implants Painful?
Dental implants are effectively titanium screws that go into the jaw bone to replace a missing tooth root. Most people who dread the dentist hate the thought of drilling inside their mouth — the sound, the sensation, it’s a bit much. So surely having a titanium screw put into your mouth would be the worst, most painful thing for people with dental phobias? Fortunately, no.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect prior, during, and after a dental implant procedure. For those who are worried about pain and discomfort, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Prior to the implant procedure
Before an implant can be inserted, the original tooth must first be removed.
Tooth extractions are notorious. There’s even a phrase in the English language, “as much fun as having teeth pulled”, which uses the unpleasantness as a metaphor. But much of this bad reputation stems from older, less gentle methods of tooth extraction.
Today, tooth extractions are fairly quick, easy, and largely painless experiences. They’re conducted under local anesthetic, sometimes with conscious sedation if necessary. Removing the tooth is generally very quick, and any discomfort afterwards is usually successfully treated with over the counter pain medication.
Once the tooth is out it will take a few days before the site has fully healed, but after that there is no more discomfort and you can go back to your day to day life.
During the implant procedure
Dental implants are surgical procedures and are performed under either local or general anesthetic. This is mostly determined by how many implants you’re expecting to have placed. One or two implants can be inserted using local, but more than that will require general.
Local anesthetic can also be combined with conscious sedation, much like a tooth extraction. The pain management and recovery times are actually largely the same as well, about a week.
After the implant procedure
After the implant is in place, there will be a period of several weeks or months while waiting for bone to grow around the implant to anchor it in place. This process should go almost completely unnoticed by the patient.
Once the implant has set in place, the gum over the implant site is opened and the restoration is attached. Cutting open the gum will result in some post-operative discomfort. So too will having the restoration in place, as your mouth will be used to there not being anything in the gap.
After a few days, the implant and the tenderness will have died down, and you’ll be able to enjoy your implant in peace and comfort.