When undergoing any type of invasive surgical procedure, a common area of concern is how much pain or discomfort will be experienced. Dental implants are no exception to this rule considering that the procedure often involves tooth extraction, cutting & stitching gum tissue, drilling a hole in the jawbone and implanting a titanium screw into the jawbone.
Since the dental implant surgery is performed with general or local anesthesia, the dental implant procedure itself is not painful. Once the surgery is complete and the anesthesia wears off, however, some pain and discomfort is expected for up to 10 days afterward. The pain and discomfort experienced is due to swelling and tenderness around the implant site which will naturally go away with time.
How Can I Reduce Post Implant Discomfort
In general, most dentists will provide their patients with a prescription painkiller and a set of detailed instructions to minimize the discomfort. Aside from following these instructions carefully and taking the prescribed painkillers, here are some additional tips to help you cope with the pain and discomfort felt after dental implant surgery:
- Apply an ice pack or bag of ice to the area that you feel discomfort. This will reduce swelling. Be careful not to hold it there too long or you can get frostbite.
- Stay away from solid, hard and sticky foods until the pain is completely gone. During the recovery phase you should be putting minimal pressure on the implant site.
- Avoid taking part in any activities that can potentially cause a blow to the implant site such as any physical sports.
- Use a warm water and salt mixture to thoroughly wash your mouth several times a day. This will help the area heal quicker and prevent infections.
- Use a soft bristle tooth brush and take extra care of your oral hygiene during this time.
By following these tips you should be able to significantly reduce the pain and discomfort associated with implants.
Possible Complications With Dental Implants
In rare cases, the dental implant surgery may not go as smoothly as expected. In these circumstances you will likely feel additional discomfort, irritation or even infection. Some of the most common complications that can occur include:
- A loose implant caused by excessive external forces or low bone density. Most people experiencing this will have to completely redo the procedure, if possible.
- Post surgical bone or gum infection which can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by your dentist.
- Rejection of the implant by your body, which can either be solved by placing a different type of implant or looking for a new solution altogether.
- Nerve or tissue damage due to having the implant site drilled improperly. In most cases the procedure will need to be redone if possible.
A general rule of thumb is that all swelling should be gone within 5 days after surgery and all pain within 10 days after surgery. If this is not the case, you should contact your dental surgeon right away in case there was a complication with the procedure so that it can be resolved asap.