People do not like going to the dentist for a variety of reasons. One popular fear many share is being afraid that a dental procedure may be painful. This is especially true for those considering dental implants. While some degree of pain should be expected with any complex medical procedure, technology in the medical field has improved. Dental technology has also enjoyed improvements for both patients and dentists. While all patients react differently, these technologies have helped reduce the amount of pain.
How Much Pain Should Be Expected with Dental Implants?
Most patients that have dental implant surgery describe discomfort rather than pain – comparable to tooth extraction. Local anesthesia is used for dental implants. Once the anesthesia wears off, the mouth can feel a bit sore and can be treated with over-the-counter analgesics. Patients who have undergone dental implant procedures describe the pain as less than what is experienced when getting a tooth pulled.
What Does the Discomfort Feel Like?
There may be preparatory procedures required before dental implant surgery:
- Sinus lift – This is the most painful of the preparatory procedures. This entails raising the sinus membrane to make room for a bone graft to support the implants. The sinus lift surgery takes about an hour (sometimes more), and you may be sedated, or local anesthetics are used.
- Bone graft – This is done to replace missing bone in the gums, and only local anesthesia is used. The dentist may prescribe painkillers or over-the-counter pain medication.
- Teeth extraction – It may be necessary to have teeth pulled before you get the actual implants if they are badly damaged.
None of these procedures are required for all dental implants. In fact, some patients may not need any of these procedures done.
How Do Patients Treat the Pain?
Use ice to reduce swelling and rinse the areas of the implant site with warm salt water to alleviate any pain. If your dentist recommends over-the-counter or prescription medication, always follow the recommended dosage. This helps everything heal quickly. Get plenty of rest, and do not overexert yourself while recovering from the surgery.
The Verdict: Are Dental Implants Painful?
It is hard to answer the question definitively, as patients react differently. Some will experience little to no pain, while others will experience some level of pain. Most patients report slight pain and/or discomfort for a few days. If your dentist recommends using dental implants to help your situation, yhey would be the best person to warn you of what to expect before and after the surgery. Follow the dentist's advice – that way, there will be no surprises.