Dental implants are a restorative dental measure and an effective tooth replacement system. People who choose dental implants over dentures and a dental bridge can treat their implants just like their natural teeth, and with proper care, implants can last for the rest of their life. However, patients often express concerns about dental implant pain because the surgery is somewhat invasive.
While it’s natural to be concerned about how to manage dental implant pain, it really may not be as difficult as you might imagine. Your dentist can help you manage any discomfort you may experience.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are small, titanium screws that serve as new root systems for crowns. After the surrounding bone and tissue heal over the implant in a process known as osseointegration, dental implants allow patients to eat and speak as they normally would.
Why Are Dental Implants Important?
Dental implants replace missing teeth. Aside from the practical difficulties involved with a missing tooth such as speech alterations and shifting of nearby teeth, missing teeth can also negatively affect confidence and self-esteem. Missing teeth can alter your bite and cause long-term pain in the jaw. Missing teeth can also lead to bone loss in the jaw. In other words, while dental implants may be momentarily uncomfortable, they are far better than the alternative of living with a missing tooth.
Understanding the Procedure
There are several steps involved in dental implant surgery. Several phases of the process may be simple or more complex, depending on the health of your gumline and bone structure. As a result, each patient will likely experience a different level of discomfort.
Your dentist will first consult with you and plan out the steps necessary to complete the procedure. If you require bone grafting to strengthen the implant site, this will increase the time from start to finish for the implant procedure. Pain from bone grafting is usually minimal; the most important step is to make sure you take your antibiotics to prevent infection. Teeth may need to be extracted before the implant procedure as well, and this can be managed with ice and OTC pain relievers.
The procedure begins with tiny titanium screws, which are implanted into the jawbone. You should not experience any significant pain or discomfort during the procedure because your dentist will administer anaesthetic to the surgical areas. If you experience any pain, alert your dentist immediately so they can adjust the anaesthetic dosage.
After the implants, you should experience some aching and swelling for 10-14 days. However, this can be managed with ice, pain relievers, and avoiding hard or harsh foods which can irritate the gums and surgical site. Once you return to have your permanent abutments and crowns placed, you should not experience any more discomfort or sensitivity. In rare cases, people may experience pain from their dental implants, and patients should report this to their dentist immediately.
Extended Dental Implant Pain for 3 Months or More
Most dental implant procedures are successful, and patients can treat their implants like they would their natural teeth. However, there can be complications that arise from any surgery, and extended dental implant pain can indicate a more serious problem.
Infection in and around the implant site can be an indication of extended dental implant pain. Even in the most sterile of dental or medical environments, an infection can result from surgery. Factors such as gum disease, smoking, or autoimmune conditions can contribute to an infection. Additionally, if the surgical site is not kept clean according to your dentist’s instructions, you may develop a dental implant infection.
Other potential reasons for extended pain include overloading, where hard foods lead to excessive chewing, which can bend the implant metals. Other people may experience an allergic reaction to the titanium alloy of the implant, which includes nickel. Others may experience galvanic toxicity, which includes the feeling of electricity zapping the implant sites when they are near metals such as aluminum.
Pain for One Year or More
While extremely rare, if you are experiencing dental implant pain for a year or longer after implants, there might be some other potential causes.
If you have continued to use tobacco products, this can irritate the gums and cause chronic infections in the implant sites. Poor oral hygiene, teeth grinding, and infection resulting from a variety of factors can contribute to continued pain.
If you continue to struggle with pain or discomfort after your dental implant surgery, or if you suddenly experience pain, contact your dentist immediately to assess the problem and relieve your discomfort.
While it’s natural to have some apprehension about dental surgeries, dental implants provide many long-term oral health benefits and have a success rate of 95%. The short-term discomfort they cause is outweighed by the utility, practicality, and confidence-boosting rewards that dental implants offer.
If you are interested in booking a dental implant consultation, contact Beyond Infinity Dental today on (02) 8806 3799 or fill out our online contact form.