Dental Implants Pain: What’s Common & When to Get Help

Dental implants are a popular and effective solution for people who have lost one or more teeth due to injury, decay, or other reasons. According to a twenty-year analysis of implant treatment in an Australian public dental clinic, the overall known implant survival rate was 87.67%. Yet for many, concerns about dental implants pain can be a barrier to getting the treatment they need. So, are dental implants really painful? In this blog, we will unveil the truth behind the pain associated with dental implants, so you can have a better insight into what to expect during and after the procedure. We’ll also shed light on the common causes of the pain, how long they should hurt and when to seek professional help if the pain is persistent or worsening. 

Symptoms After Dental Implants Surgery

A dental implant is a small, screw-like metal post that is surgically placed into the jawbone to replace the root of a missing tooth. Once the implant has been placed, a dental crown or bridge is attached to it, creating a natural-looking and functional replacement tooth. 

During the procedure, your dentist will administer local anaesthetic to numb the area around the implant site, ensuring that you do not feel any pain or discomfort. However, you may experience some post-surgery symptoms that are normal as your body begins to heal and adjust to the new implant. These symptoms may include:

1. Bleeding at the Surgery Site

It is normal to experience some minor bleeding in the first few hours after the surgery. Your dentist will provide you with gauze to bite down on to help control the bleeding. If bleeding persists, contact your dentist immediately.

 2. Swelling Around the Gums and the Face

You may also experience swelling around the implant site and your face for a few days after the surgery. Over-the-counter pain medications as prescribed by your dentist can help relieve the pain and reduce swelling. You may also apply ice packs to the area to reduce swelling.

3. Minor Bruising

Some patients may experience bruising around the implant site or on the face, but this is usually mild and should resolve within a few days.

4. Jaw Pain

Jaw pain is a common symptom after dental implant surgery. The jaw may feel sore or tender, especially around the implant site. The discomfort can vary from mild to severe and may persist for several days or even weeks after the surgery. 

Following your dentist’s post-operative instructions can help manage the pain and ensure a smooth recovery process. However, if you experience any unusual or persistent symptoms, it is important to contact your dentist immediately.

Common Causes of Dental Implants Pain

While some discomfort is normal after dental implant surgery, persistent or worsening pain weeks or months after the procedure can be a cause of concern. Understanding the causes of pain can help you take better care of your implants, promote a speedy recovery, and enable you to decide when to seek help. In this section, we’ll discuss some common causes of pain from dental implants, and what you can do to manage and prevent it. 

Infection at the Implant Site

The most common cause of dental implants pain is an infection at the implant site. When bacteria accumulates on and around the implant, it can lead to inflammation of the gums and bone. This inflammation is called peri-implantitis, and if left untreated, can progress to an infection. Factors that can contribute to infection include poor oral hygiene, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and a compromised immune system. In some cases, the infection may occur during the surgery if the implant is not properly sterilised or due to the contamination of the surgical site.

If caught timely, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help control the infection, and may also recommend rinsing your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. However, if the condition worsens, your dentist may need to surgically remove the implant to fully treat the infection. 

A Loose Implant

After dental implant surgery, a loose implant can cause pain for a variety of reasons, including improper placement, lack of osseointegration (fusion of the implant with the surrounding bone), or external trauma to the implant site. 

The appropriate treatment depends on the cause of the issue. If the implant was improperly placed, your dentist will need to replace it. If there is a lack of bone integration, your dentist may need to remove the implant and allow it to heal before placing a new one. In some cases, a bone graft may be necessary to promote proper bone growth and healing. If external trauma is the cause, the implant may need to be removed and replaced, or additional support may be necessary to stabilise it.

Implant Failure

Sometimes, the body may reject the implant if it is seen as a foreign object by the immune system, leading to pain, inflammation, and discomfort around the implant site. If you experience symptoms of implant rejection, such as persistent pain or swelling, you should contact your dentist immediately. In most cases, the implant will need to be removed, and you may need to explore alternative options for tooth replacement.

Nerve Damage

Although rare, nerve damage during the surgery can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the mouth, lips, or chin. Most of the time, the symptoms disappear as the nerve heals. However, in some cases, the pain can become permanent. When this happens, the only option is to remove the implant causing the pain.

Bad Bite

When the implant is not properly aligned with the other teeth, it can cause the patient to bite down on the implant with more force than necessary, leading to pain and discomfort. A bad bite can also cause the implant to become loose over time, further exacerbating the pain. The treatment depends on the severity of the problem and your dentist may be able to determine the best course of action for your individual needs.

How Long Should a Dental Implant Hurt?

Immediately after the dental implant surgery, the area around the implant will typically be numb due to the local anaesthetic used during the procedure. As the anaesthesia wears off, you may begin to feel some discomfort or pain. The intensity and duration of the pain can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the procedure, the quality of the bone and soft tissue, your health condition and the aftercare practices.

While you may feel some level of pain or sensitivity for the first few days after the surgery, this can be managed with pain medication, ice packs, and rest. After a week or so, the pain should start to subside, and you can resume your normal activities gradually. However, some patients may experience intermittent pain, sensitivity, or discomfort for several weeks or months as the implant fuses with the bone and the surrounding tissues heal.

If the pain persists or worsens over time, it could be a sign of a complication, such as infection, implant failure, or nerve damage. In such cases, it’s important to contact your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible to diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

Overall, the healing process for dental implants can take several months, and it is critical to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions and attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and early detection of any potential complications.

When Should You Get Help from a Dentist?

If you are experiencing persistent or worsening pain, sensitivity, or discomfort several weeks or months after the surgery, it’s important to seek help from your dentist without any delays. Other signs that you should see a dental professional include:

  • Swelling or inflammation around the implant site
  • Bleeding or discharge from the implant site
  • The implant feels loose or unstable
  • Persistent bad taste or odour in the mouth
  • Difficulty biting, chewing, or speaking

These symptoms could indicate a complication, such as infection, implant failure, or nerve damage, and prompt attention is necessary to diagnose and treat the underlying cause. In some cases, early intervention can prevent further damage and ensure the long-term success of the implant.

Get Started on Your Dental Implant Journey Today!

At Bellevue Hill Dental, our caring dentists can provide you with personalised guidance and support to help you decide whether dental implants are the right choice for you. We use state-of-the-art technology and techniques to ensure that your implant procedure is as comfortable and stress-free as possible. If you experience any pain or discomfort after your dental implant surgery, we’re right there to provide you with prompt and effective care. So why wait? Book a consultation with Bellevue Hill Dental and take the first step towards a brighter, healthier smile.

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