How Much Discomfort Should You Expect From A Dental Implant Procedure?

How Much Discomfort Should You Expect From A Dental Implant Procedure?

Myths sometimes develop around new and sometimes misunderstood treatments. Our Chelmsford dentists answer this genuine question….

It is probably only in relatively recent years that people have even started to become aware of dental implants. For some this will have been because celebrities have had the treatment, while others may have heard some of the ‘horror stories’ in the media of procedures that have gone wrong when patients have travelled abroad hoping for cheaper versions of this increasingly popular tooth replacement.

Even though implants are now more widely known, there are still some misconceptions surrounding the treatment; one of which is the degree of pain or discomfort you are likely to experience during the actual procedure. In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we attempt to put the record straight.

Invasive dentistry

Having a dental implant placed does involve invasive dentistry. This is a term that is used for a variety of treatments that involve actually changing the structure of a tooth. For example, even a small filling would be described as ‘invasive’ while a teeth whitening treatment would be a ‘non-invasive’ one. Just because this procedure is described as ‘invasive’ doesn’t mean that you should expect to be in a lot of pain.

‘Drilling’ into the bone

Again, the use of language can help determine how painful we believe something is going to be. While patients are usually used to some invasiveness during treatments such as drilling into a tooth in order to fill it, the fact that placing a dental implant involves inserting it into the jawbone can be enough for some people to look horrified even just talking about it. This probably isn’t surprising as having anything done to the jawbone is something that we are not used to and patients may anticipate something far worse than it really is.

The reality is that this is the most essential part of the procedure as it allows the implant to fuse together with the bone in a process known as ‘osseointegration’. Without this, a dental implant would not exist and patients would be left with a choice of dentures or a bridge to replace a missing tooth.

The ‘pain’ factor

Let us get to the crux of the matter now. If it is necessary to drill a hole into the jaw so that a dental implant can be placed into it, just how painful is this really?

The truth is that this part of the procedure should not cause any degree of pain or discomfort that would cause you any real distress. Naturally, it is an invasive treatment and a certain level of discomfort might be felt but not to the degree that it could be described as pain. Most people’s experience of this part of the procedure is that some grinding and vibrations might be felt as the drill does its work, but by using x-rays and scans to determine the exact location to place the hole, any issues with nerves in the jawbone should be avoided. Like a filling or other invasive procedure then, some degree of discomfort might be felt but at a relatively low level. In the case of dental pain, it is often the anticipation of what ‘might’ happen rather than any genuine discomfort.

As you would expect, we use a powerful anaesthetic for this procedure in order to numb the pain that would otherwise be felt. The procedure will not start until we are satisfied that the area the procedure is to be carried out in is fully numb.

Post procedural discomfort

As we have stated, this is a minor surgical procedure and, as with many others, some residual discomfort might be felt once the local anaesthetic has worn off. In most cases this will be temporary and relatively mild and taking your regular pain killing medication should ensure that it is manageable.

The following are some of the potential temporary discomforts you might feel, although most people find this short period more than acceptable in return for strong and replacement teeth that can last for twenty years or more.

Location discomfort – Some residual discomfort in the treated area is likely in the immediate period following the procedure. This will wear off quite quickly and we recommend suitable painkillers to help you through this brief period.

Bruising – Some patients may experience a little bruising or swelling following the procedure. Again, this will quickly subside and is temporary.

Jaw stiffness – A dental implant placement is a lengthier procedure than many of you may be used to. This can mean that you are required to open your mouth wide for longer than you are used to. Any discomfort like this should be mild and again, only last for a short time.

It may seem like we have only covered the challenges of implant placement in this blog but the vast majority of patients at our Chelmsford dentist who have had them have been delighted with them. Although some discomfort and inconvenience might be required for a short period of time after the treatment, within a few months you will have an extremely strong and stable replacement tooth. It is a small sacrifice to make to avoid problems related to unstable dentures that can include movement in the mouth (sometimes embarrassingly so), difficulty chewing certain foods and even speech problems.

We do understand that implant placement may still seem a mystery to some patients or even something to avoid altogether. If you lose a tooth though, we do recommend that you discuss this option with one of our Chelmsford dentists so that we can explain in more detail what to expect. This will allow you to ask any questions so that you can make an informed decision on the next steps to replace the lost tooth.

For more information about the teeth implants we provide, or to book an initial consultation with us, please call Blue Sky Dental on 01245 211070.

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