If you are considering having dental implants placed, you have likely wondered at some point if it will hurt. Due to the unfortunate fact that many people associate the dentist’s office with pain, many people also make the automatic assumption that any dental procedure will be excessively painful. Luckily, this is not the truth. While some dental procedures, including dental implants, can cause discomfort, most cases are far from being excruciating.
This is primarily due to the fact that modern dentistry has developed both dental sedation and anesthetics to make dental procedures far more comfortable and relaxing than they have ever been in the past. Not only that, but skilled dentists also have advanced techniques that can effectively treat patients while minimizing the recovery time after. This is especially the case when it comes to dental implants.
Still, chances are that you will want to know exactly what to expect in terms of pain before making the decision to get dental implants. While everyone’s experience can vary, here are what most patients report after having dental implants:
During the Procedure
Many people assume the implant procedure will be the worst part. However, during your dental implant procedure, your dentist will use both dental anesthetics and sedation. The dental anesthetics will keep the treatment area entirely numb, while the dental sedation will make you sleepy or even unconscious. People who use lighter levels of sedation and are partially awake may feel pressure, while people who use deeper sedation will be asleep during the procedure.
It is also important to note two things. First, placing a dental implant is less painful than having a tooth extracted. Therefore, if you have had a tooth extraction before you can expect implant surgery to be less painful. Second, the implant will be placed into bone that does not contain nerves. This ultimately means that there is no way for the body to produce painful sensations.
After the Procedure
After your implants have been placed, your mouth will likely remain numb for an hour or so until the anesthetics wear off. To prevent postoperative discomfort when the anesthetics wear off, it is important to take your over the counter pain medications before the anesthetic completely wears off. In the days following your procedure, the best way to manage your pain is to relax, use ice, and eat cool, soft foods. Generally speaking, the most discomfort is felt within the first few days and then it begins to subside after the first week. Usually by week two, there is no more discomfort.
However, it is important to note that following your dentist’s postoperative instructions is an essential part of managing any postoperative pain. These instructions will provide you with in-depth information about the best recovery practices. People who do not follow these instructions are at an increased risk for developing postoperative complications, while people who adhere to these instructions generally have better treatment outcomes, as well as less postoperative discomfort.
Dr. Gerard J. Lemongello Jr. graduated from the University of Florida College of Dentistry and has been in private practice since 1987. His focus is on cosmetic and comprehensive restorative rehabilitative dentistry. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry, and is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.