When it comes to tooth restoration options, dental implants have the most benefits compared to other options. Not only do implants last for decades, but they are also the strongest and most natural-looking solution for replacing missing teeth. The strength comes from the titanium screws implanted within the jawbone, which fuse with the bone to provide unparalleled durability and resistance to biting and chewing forces.
Because the idea of implanted screws sounds intimidating to many people, one of the first questions we typically receive from prospective implant patients is how painful the procedure will be. If you’re thinking about getting dental implants to replace a missing tooth, here’s a brief overview of what you can expect:
What happens during the dental implant procedure?
During the dental implant procedure, the dentist will make an incision in the gums and drill into the jawbone to make room for the titanium screw. After the screw is implanted, the dentist will attach an abutment piece that connects the screw to a temporary implant crown. Once the surgery site has healed and the screw has fully fused with the bone over the course of a few months, the dentist will attach the permanent, color-matched porcelain crown to the abutment.
Is dental implant surgery painful?
While the dental implant procedure is considered major oral surgery, dentists employ either general or local anesthesia, and sometimes sedation as well, which means you probably won’t feel any pain. Plus, there are no nerves in the jawbone, so after the incision is made in the gums, you will feel pressure as the screw is implanted but no pain. Your dentist might also give you pain medication to take before the procedure so it will be working by the time the anesthesia wears off.
Will there be pain after the dental implant procedure?
Most patients feel discomfort in the dental implant site, face, and jaw for about 10 days following the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications are usually sufficient for reducing the discomfort. In some cases—for example, when multiple implants are placed at once—the dentist will prescribe a stronger painkiller. Within two weeks, most patients have no further pain as the implant continues to heal, but if you still have pain and swelling by the 14th day after surgery, you might have an infection and you’ll need to return to the dentist immediately.
How can I reduce pain and discomfort following dental implant surgery?
There are several ways dental implant patients can reduce discomfort and maximize the healing process after surgery. It’s important to strictly follow the dentist’s postoperative instructions, including taking antibiotics if prescribed. Be sure to also maintain your regular oral hygiene even if you have to be gentle around the implant site. Other ways to reduce discomfort and aid the healing process after dental implant surgery:
- Use cold compresses to help control pain and swelling
- Stick to a liquid diet for 24-48 hours after surgery
- Regularly rinse with warm saltwater to help kill germs and promote healing
- Avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods for 10 days after surgery
- Avoid using straws for 24 hours following surgery
- Attend all follow-up appointments with your dentist
Dental implants in by Dr. Kwok of San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry
Recovery and healing after dental implant surgery varies from person to person, and everyone has a different pain threshold. Still, getting dental implants is relatively manageable in terms of pain and discomfort both during and after surgery, and dental implants are a worthy investment in your long-term oral health.
For more information about dental implants or to schedule a consultation, call San Diego Periodontics & Implant Dentistry at (619) 543-0905.
Related: Types of Dental Implants