Do Dental Implants Hurt? What You Need to Know

Should you expect dental implants to hurt? Keep reading to learn if dental implants are going to be painful!

If you find yourself dealing with missing teeth and have decided to fix them, chances are you’ve probably come across two solutions—dental implants or dentures. Dental implants are recognized by most dentists as a permanent solution to missing teeth due to gum disease, cavities, accidents and other reasons. Dental implants are very stable and can give you back your ability to chew, speak and smile. Dentures are less expensive, but they can cause their own set of additional problems—including pain and slippage.

If you’re interested in dental implants, you’re probably also wondering whether or not the procedure is painful, and if you’ll experience a high level of discomfort from them after surgery. Keep reading if you’re interested in knowing a little more about:

  • What exactly dental implants are
  • The dental implant process
  • If dental implants hurt
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What Are Dental Implants?

dental implant diagram showing two implants

Everything you need to know about dental implants are (and what they’re not)

Dental implants are designed to take the place of your natural teeth that you have lost. They look like and function just like teeth, and also need the same level of proper care. The dental implant actually consists of two separate parts—the titanium screw that is placed into your jaw, the abutment (what attaches the crown to the implant) /crown that is attached to the implant. Dental implants are considered a permanent solution to your missing teeth, and are the preferred way for many people to get their ability to chew, speak and smile normally back. 

If you have missing teeth, it’s important to do something about it. Besides being a permanent solution, dental implants also provide other benefits, including:

  • Preventing additional bone loss. With no root or tooth to encourage stimulation, the bone of your jaw gradually starts to disappear. Getting dental implants can help you keep your bone mass since they fuse with your bone, unlike dentures that sit on top of your bone and gums.  
  • Restoring your bite. Eating and chewing can be a big problem with missing teeth or dentures that slip around in your mouth. You can eat the foods you love again with dental implants and not have to worry about being unable to properly chew your food.
  • Supporting your adjacent teeth. Leaving a gap where your tooth was can also have an effect on the surrounding teeth. If there is a space, the adjacent teeth can start to lean in and shift, creating misalignment. You can avoid additional issues with your smile by getting permanent dental implants.
  • Giving you back your confidence. Don’t put up with uncomfortable dentures that can slide around, even with adhesive. No one wants to have their dentures come out while they’re in public. Implants will not only give you your confident smile back, you’ll probably even forget you have them. Now you won’t have to worry about your teeth and can get back to living confidently.

If dental implants sound like something you might want to do, your first step is to schedule a time to talk to your dentist. He, she or they will be able to determine if you’re a good candidate for the surgery. To get dental implants, your dentist will need to ensure:

  • You have sufficient bone density in your jaw to support the titanium screws
  • You have healthy gums and oral tissues
  • You don’t have a condition that would prevent proper bone fusion with the implant and healing
  • Ideally you do not smoke, or can at least reduce the amount you smoke

Once it’s been determined that you are a good candidate for the procedure — and depending on how many teeth need to be replaced — your dentist will schedule you for the surgery. 

The Dental Implant Process

dentist sitting down with patient and holding a screen
The dental implant procedure has a few steps, but it will be worth it in the long run.

How will your dental implants be installed?

Although your dental implant procedure will be unique to your needs, the dental implant process is basically the same no matter if you’re getting one tooth replaced or your whole jaw. First, your dentist will place in the titanium screws that are designed to replace the tooth root. If you’re getting one tooth done, or multiple teeth that are not adjacent, this screw will be inserted in each gap. If you’re getting a bridge done, multiple teeth, or a whole jaw, your dentist will insert anywhere from two to six implant screws to stabilize the crowns. 

If you’re getting multiple teeth replaced, it isn’t feasible to place in an implant screw for every missing tooth, which is why your dentist will determine the amount appropriate for you to get the results you need. After the implant has had time to fuse to the bone and healed, typically 3-6 months, you’ll need to return to place the abutment on the implant. After that has had a chance to heal as well, your final step will be to place your new crown on top of the abutment. This is when your dental implants are complete, and you can use them as you would normal teeth.

It’s important to care for your implants just like your natural teeth, which means brushing twice a day, flossing and making sure to visit your dentist for check-ups and cleanings every six months. 

Do Dental Implants Hurt?

older man laying in the grass smiling with a young child

Should you expect the dental implant surgery to be painful?

Now that you know a little more about dental implants and how they’re placed in your mouth, you might be concerned about how painful the procedure is. After all, your mouth is very sensitive, and the dentist placing the implants. As with any surgery, you are likely to experience some minor discomfort and swelling after the procedure. This can last anywhere from 2 days to 7 days. It all depends on how many implants you’re getting, and how your body responds to them. You can expect swelling around your gums where the implants were placed, but you can also experience discomfort in the cheeks, or chin

Your dentist will provide you with information on how to keep the swelling down, and possibly give you medication for the discomfort. Most people do very well with dental implant surgery, experiencing only minor discomfort and swelling that dissipates over time. However, if you find that the discomfort persists for more than one week, it’s time to let your dentist know. Going in to have them evaluate why you’re experiencing discomfort is the best way to ensure everything is healing and there is no infection. 

As with any surgery, there is the likelihood of discomfort and swelling with dental implants. Your dentist will prepare you for this, but make sure to give them a call if the discomfort has lasted more than one week. 

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