If you are missing teeth or need to have a tooth removed, a dental implant can be an ideal replacement. Dental implants are metal posts that replace the roots of your natural teeth. The posts are implanted into the bone and topped off with a crown. Dental implants look and feel like natural teeth.
Since getting a dental implant requires surgery, many people wonder if the process will be painful. Here's what you can expect during and after dental implant surgery.
Pain During Dental Implant Surgery
For the most part, dental implant surgery isn't painful. The procedure does require a dentist to drill into the bone in your mouth and cut through the gum tissue. But you'll be given a local anesthetic before the process starts. The area the dentist works in will be completely numb.
If you prefer, you can ask to be sedated before surgery starts or to be put under general anesthesia. With either option, you'll be "out of it" during the surgery. You won't feel anything and won't really be conscious of what's going on.
Pain Following Dental Implant Surgery
You might experience some discomfort in the area around the new implant as the local anesthetic wears off and in the days after your surgery. Often, the initial discomfort is due to the anesthetic itself. As you regain sensation in the area, you might notice a tingly feeling, similar to pins and needles.
Any discomfort you feel in the gums after your implant surgery can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Your dentist might prescribe a pain reliever to you if an over-the-counter option isn't effective. Usually, the discomfort fades away after a few days.
What you eat or drink following your surgery can also affect the amount of discomfort or pain you feel. Your dentist will most likely recommend you stick to a soft food diet during the first few days after the implant surgery. It's also a good idea to avoid hot foods during that time.
Persistent Pain With a Dental Implant
In rare cases, pain can develop or persist for an extended period after dental implant surgery. If you have pain that persists for more than two weeks or pain that develops a few weeks after your surgery, it's best to see your dentist for a follow-up. Persistent pain can be a sign that something is wrong with the implant.
For example, if the incision opens up after the surgery, you might need to have your dentist close it again. They might also give you a special mouth rinse to use to minimize the chance of infection.
Prolonged pain can also be a sign that the implant doesn't fit in your jaw correctly or hasn't fused to the bone properly. In that case, your dentist might need to remove the implant and start the procedure over later.
Pain might also develop months after your surgery. Although it's rare, pain that occurs months later can be a sign that the implant has failed. Implant failure can be caused by several factors, such as untreated gum disease or a poor oral care routine.
If you're considering implant surgery, talk to your dentist about how to manage discomfort following the procedure and what you can do to keep your mouth as healthy as possible afterward.