Dental implants provide a fixed alternative to conventional dentures and bridges because they are anchored surgically into the jaw. Therefore and understandably, it’s common for patients to ask the question “are dental implants painful?”
In order to answer this, we really need to break it down into two parts – the surgical process and the healing stages.
One of the reasons that dental implants are considered the gold standard of missing teeth replacement is because unlike traditional bridges and dentures, a dental implant is placed directly into the jaw. This surgical process creates a stand-alone platform strong enough to support a dental crown.
Understandably, most people feel a little apprehensive before undergoing dental implant surgery, but should they be worried about any pain or discomfort?
In a word no!
Patients can expect to be under sedation during the implant surgery process. Typically, this involves either conscious sedation or, when patients undergo multiple implants, a general anesthetic. Either way, they shouldn’t feel any pain.
They may, however, feel a slight tingling sensation or pressure during the surgical process but certainly no pain. In fact, the vast majority of patients are surprised at how comfortable the procedure is and more importantly, how quickly it’s over.
In some cases, modern digital technology dictates that patients can spend as little as 15-20 minutes in surgery but typically, dental implant placement lasts around 1 hour. That said, because of the effects of the sedation, it’s highly unlikely that they will even be aware of it.
So that’s the surgery side of it…
Like all surgical processes, it’s likely for patients to experience some form of discomfort particularly in the first 24 hours after surgery. This may be in the form of tenderness or mild swelling at the implant site. As a result, a surgeon will usually recommend some form of pain relief. Typically this is in the form of common over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol, Panadol, or Ibuprofen and should be sufficient to keep you comfortable.
If after 72 hours you are experiencing significant discomfort or pain, it’s important to contact your implant dentist for a follow-up appointment. Usually, by the end of the first week, most patients feel back to normal.
You might have heard about a 5-6 month healing period associated with dental implants. This is often misunderstood as an extended period of healing from pain. In truth, this is a misnomer and is better described as an ‘osseointegration period’ – the term ‘osseointegration’ refers to the time needed for the bone in the jaw to naturally fuse with the implant in order to create stability.
During this period, patients should feel no discomfort or pain and should be living life as they normally would. The only caveat to this is that they should refrain from smoking and excessive alcohol intake during this time as these activities can impact the bone fusion process, causing a dental implant to fail.
In a word no!
You may feel some slight discomfort for up to 7 days after dental implant surgery but standard pain relief should allow you to remain comfortable during this part of the recovery period.
Some patients report needing no pain relief at all finding themselves back to normal within a day or so. However, this is the exception rather than the norm and is often reflected in the ease of their dental implant surgery.
Irrespective of surgical complexities, most patients are back to normal within 7 days allowing them to look forward to their fully restored and hassle-free smiles.
If you are considering dental implants as an option or you have some questions or concerns you need answering like ‘are dental implants painful?’ then we invite you to come and talk to the team at Chesterfield Dentistry.
We’re experts at putting patients at ease while giving you all the information needed to make a fully informed dental decision.
Book a consultation today and see just how we can help.