Is a Dental Implant Painful?

A concerned woman in a dental chair talking to a dentist.

The gold standard for restoring missing teeth is the dental implant. If you want a prosthetic tooth that looks and functions like a natural tooth, an implant is the best option. While dental implants may be the ideal solution for replacing missing teeth, they do require oral surgery and an investment. While many people worry about pain, implants can be less painful than you would think. If you are considering dental implants but wonder, “Does a tooth implant hurt?” here is what you need to know about this procedure.

What Is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants include a post and an abutment that is attached to a dental restoration. Most tooth implant posts are made from titanium and inserted into the jawbone through oral surgery – some implants may be inserted in the zygoma, or cheekbone, if the jawbone is not viable. The post looks like a screw, and it is made to bond with the bone to become permanently attached. The abutment can be attached to a dental crown, bridge or denture to restore missing teeth.

Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. There must be enough bone to support an implant. If a patient has lost much of their bone density in their jaw or is unhealthy, implants may not be a good solution for tooth replacement. However, there are many advances in implant dentistry that have opened up the opportunity for more people to receive dental implants. Bone grafting and zygomatic implants can make implants possible for those with jaw bone loss.

Does a Tooth Implant Hurt During Surgery?

To perform dental implant surgery, the patient is usually sedated, and anesthesia is used to numb the area. Patients should feel no pain during the implant surgery, but once the anesthesia wears off, it is normal to have some discomfort. Most patients report that recovery from implant surgery is similar to a tooth extraction recovery. There is some discomfort, but it is easily controlled with pain medication. The gum tissue and bone are likely to be sore from the surgery, but it is rarely an intense pain.

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Is a Dental Implant Painful After Surgery?

There is some discomfort that can be expected after surgery. The anesthesia will dissipate 3-4 hours after the implant surgery, and it is common for the jaw and mouth to be sore. The mouth is healing, and it will continue to heal for a few months after the surgery. However, for most patients, any discomfort from the surgery is minimal after the first few days. If patients follow the post-procedure recommendations, most people have very little pain or discomfort after their tooth implant surgery.

Dental Implants Pain Expectations

In most cases, there should not be any pain associated with a dental implant by about 72 hours after surgery. The initial soreness should go away as the surgical site heals. After two weeks, there should not be any lingering oral pain from your dental implant surgery. If there is pain, it can be signs of an infection or complications. You should contact your dentist or doctor if you have any of the following symptoms two weeks or longer after surgery:

  • Pain at the surgical site
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Fever

Once the dental implants heal, they should not hurt. If there is pain, it is a sign of a problem. Infections can occur right after surgery or years down the road. To reduce the risk of infection, follow your post-op instructions exactly. Avoid smoking and alcohol as advised by your doctor and perform oral hygiene as directed to minimize the chance of infection. One of the biggest risks to dental implants is infection, which you want to avoid at all costs to protect your investment and health.

Long-Term Dental Implant Comfort

The good news is that dental implants are generally less painful than natural teeth in the long term. Tooth implants do not have nerves like a natural tooth – you should not have toothaches or sensitivity like you may have felt with your natural tooth. However, this is one of the reasons it is vital to see your dentist regularly for checkups. You may not have pain – implants do not have nerves, so you may not know you have a broken or damaged implant. But dental implants can need repair or restorations, just like natural teeth.
Happy mature man with a perfect smile.
Is a dental implant painful? For most people, there is not much pain with implants. There is some discomfort initially after surgery, but the soreness goes away in a few days. Implant pain is the exception, not the rule, and usually a sign of a complication. If you follow your dentist’s recommendations for caring for your dental implants, you can greatly reduce any chance of infection or pain after your surgery. In the long run, dental implants can offer many benefits and less discomfort than most dental restorations.