If you’re considering getting dental implants to replace missing teeth, you probably have some questions about the tooth implant procedure. It’s normal to wonder what to expect when it comes to the day of the surgery, whether dental implants hurt, as well as what the dental implant recovery process is like.
We’re here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about dental implants, so you can understand the procedure better before you go through with it.
Can I get a dental implant right after an extraction?
This varies on a case-by-case basis and it all depends on the health of your jawbone. If you need to have an unhealthy tooth extracted, but your jawbone is otherwise strong and healthy, then you can often get an implant put in right away. If your jawbone is lacking enough mass to support an implant, you might need a bone graft to create a solid foundation for the new artificial roots. In this case, you will need to wait a few months after the bone graft before you can receive an implant, so the graft has time to heal and strengthen.
What does the tooth implant procedure feel like?
On the day of your surgery, the dentist will either use local anesthesia to numb your mouth completely or put you to sleep using sedatives if you have extreme anxiety about the procedure. Either way, you won’t feel any kind of pain while you receive the tooth implants. If the surgery is performed using local anesthesia, you may feel a tiny prick from the needle used to administer the mouth-numbing agent. After that, all you will notice is some vibrations and perhaps a little pressure in your mouth.
Do dental implants hurt after the surgery?
As the anesthesia or sedative wears off, you will begin to feel a little soreness and discomfort in your mouth, especially during the first 24-48 hours afterward. However, most recipients of dental implants don’t describe any significant pain. The bones to which the implants are attached have very few pain-sensing nerves, so the discomfort mostly occurs in the more sensitive mouth tissue around the areas where the implants were placed.
What can I do to relieve tooth implant pain?
Your dentist will provide you with specific instructions to care for your mouth when you go home. An over-the-counter pain killer is often strong enough to ease discomfort, but your dentist may prescribe a stronger pain killer that you can use to relieve pain for the first 24-48 hours. You can also soothe the mouth tissue by rinsing it with a warm saltwater solution.
If you experience any swelling of the face, you can help it subside by holding an ice pack on it. You should also stick to soft foods for the first week or so.
How long is the dental implant recovery process?
The initial discomfort usually disappears after a week and in no longer than two weeks. If you still experience any pain after two weeks, contact us right away to have the implants checked out. Keep in mind that even after you stop feeling anything, there is still a healing process going on behind the scenes inside your mouth.
It can take months for the implants to fully fuse with your jawbone, with the exact amount of time it takes varying from person to person. During this time, you might be instructed to avoid certain foods that can cause extra stress to the implants while they heal fully.
Some examples of things that can affect recovery time:
- How many implants you receive (i.e. one implant or a whole row of teeth)
- Your bone mass and bone density
- The general speed at which your mouth and body heal
- How closely you follow your dentist’s instructions for postoperative care
- Allergies to implant materials or medications
- Autoimmune diseases or other medical conditions
Do dental implants hurt after they heal?
After the initial period of healing, you shouldn’t feel any dental implant pain. In the case that you do experience any painful symptoms months or even years after you receive your dental implants, it could mean that there are complications and you should see your implant dentist as soon as possible. Symptoms to watch for include swelling of the mouth tissue, recession of the gums, difficulty chewing, extreme pain, or loosening of an implant.
What complications can cause dental implant pain?
In a minority of patients, the mouth can reject the implants because of a lack of bone support, or other complications such as infections. Often, complications occur because of poor dental hygiene, not following the dentist’s care instructions, or, in some cases, a medical condition such as autoimmune disease.
Another risk factor that can lead to dental implant failure is smoking. Keep in mind that these complications occur in a very low percentage of patients, but it’s important to be aware of the possibility.
How can I prevent complications that cause tooth implant pain?
The number one thing to do after you receive new dental implants is to follow your dentist’s instructions for care. This especially means maintaining good oral hygiene, taking any prescribed antibiotics, and avoiding smoking right after your surgery. In the long-term, always brush your teeth twice a day, floss around your implants as you would your normal teeth and visit your dentist for cleanings every six months.
Also, consider quitting smoking if you’re a smoker. The better your overall health is, the less likely your dental implants are to experience complications or failure down the road.
How successful is dental implant surgery?
Dental implant surgery has a success rate of approximately 95% or higher. This means that 5% or less of the patients who receive dental implants experience complications in either the early stages of healing or later in life. This is a very high success rate for a dental surgery procedure.