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Does A Tooth Implant Hurt? Advice On What to Expect

One of the most frequently asked questions by dental implant candidates is, “does a tooth implant hurt?”

One of the best things about dental implants is one of the main reasons people are often hesitant about undergoing the procedure – anchorage by surgery. Because implants are placed into the jawbone, it allows them to support various prosthetics while restoring normal chewing and biting function. 

However, there are negative connotations whenever the word surgery is associated with something. 

By knowing what’s involved in the procedure, dental implant candidates can understand what kind of or level of discomfort to expect. 

Breaking implants down into two parts – surgery and recovery – will help us answer the question “does a tooth implant hurt”


Firstly, dental implant surgery

Much of the planning for dental implants is done in the background by a team of dental professionals to make surgery shorter, more accurate and more comfortable for patients. 

To place dental implants, the dentist may need to cut into the gums. Naturally, this sounds painful, but the clinician will have numbed the mouth with local anaesthesia before starting.

pain surgery tooth implant sydneyOnce you are good to go, a small incision will be made into the gums to expose the jawbone. You shouldn’t feel a thing since the mouth will be numb from the anaesthetic. Sometimes, however, it’s not necessary to cut the gum and instead, a pilot hole is drilled through the gum and directly into the bone to accommodate the implant.

While drilling sounds uncomfortable, there are no nerves to trigger any pain in the jawbone. The only discomfort you’re likely to encounter is a feeling of slight pressure. Once the hole has been made, the dentist can then screw the dental implant into place. The entire process from start to finish should take no more than an hour and the surgical procedure should be comfortable.

Once the dentist is happy with the placement, if the gums have been cut they may need closing with sutures. In this case, the dentist may already have given you some pain medication, so you have sufficient pain relief once the effects of the anaesthesia start to wear off. From this point on, the dental implants healing process begins. 


What to expect when healing?

Your gums are likely to feel tender once the numbness wears off, and you may have some facial swelling or bruising. That said, any dental implant pain or discomfort can typically be managed with over the counter painkillers such as Ibuprofen, and swelling can be reduced with a cold compress. It is essential to follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your dentist. These may include:

  • Avoiding overly hot food or drinks in the first 48 hours
  • Not drinking through a straw for 24 hours following surgery 
  • Sticking to liquids (soup, broth, smoothies) for 24-48 hours
  • Rinsing your mouth 3 to 4 times daily with salt water starting the day after surgery
  • No smoking for at least 3 days after surgery

While recovery and healing will be different for everyone, patients should feel no pain during the surgery, and relatively little, after. If you are experiencing worsening dental implant pain, especially several days later, then seek advice from your dentist. Most patients agree that dental implant pain should be minimal and is significantly less than that of having a tooth pulled. 


For how long does a tooth implant hurt following surgery?

If everything heals as it should, any pain after having dental implants should be temporary. Discomfort typically lasts for 3 to 5 days after the procedure, but you may only need to take pain medication for a couple of days. 

If you have undergone surgery for a single dental implant, you may even be able to resume normal activities the following day. 

Any stiffness in the jaw, swelling or bruising may take between 7 and 10 days to disappear after dental implants surgery. 



Causes of throbbing pain after the dental implant procedure

While it’s rare, some patients may experience a throbbing pain for some time after the dental implant procedure. If this is the case, then you should contact your dentist. You may feel an increase in pain once the anaesthesia wears offs, but typically, this should ease with time and painkillers.

If the pain does persist, you may have developed a complication after the implant procedure. In this case, i’s essential that a dentist or surgeon reviews such cases immediately. 


Improperly fitted implant

For dental implants to be successful, they need to integrate with the bone in a process called osseointegration. Pain or discomfort during the healing process can signify that osseointegration isn’t taking place correctly. This being the case, your dentist may have to remove the implant and possibly reattach it at a later date. 


Incision line opening

Incision line opening is one of the most common complications following dental implant surgery. It takes place when the tissue surrounding the implant post opens after surgery. You may feel irritation or pain if the incision opens. Treatment is likely to involve rinsing your mouth with a chlorhexidine rinse a few times a day or taking antibiotics to prevent infection. If the pain doesn’t ease, further medical care may be necessary. 



Infection occurs when bacteria enter the implant site. As a result, the wound may reopen or not heal at all. 


Dental implant pain months or years following surgery

discomfort teeth implant treatment sydneyDental implants have a high success rate most of the time, but there is still a chance of developing complications further down the line.

If you feel pain when you tap on your implant, it could signify implant failure. There are several reasons for implant failure, with one of the most common being poor oral care.

You may be more at risk of implant failure if you smoke or have uncontrolled diabetes. 


Does a tooth implant hurt? – The takeaway

During the surgical process, you should feel little or no discomfort. However, you should be prepared for temporary pain after getting dental implants. Typically, this can be managed with painkillers and should subside in a few days. Lingering or worsening pain could point to a complication, so it’s advisable to contact your dentist immediately. 


Are you considering dental implants?

If you’d like to know if dental implants are the right treatment for you, why not schedule a consultation with the friendly, experienced team at No Gaps Dental by calling us on (02) 8806 0227



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.





Symbeo Health – The Role of Drilling in Dental Implant Surgery

Medical News Today – How To Make and Use A Cold Compress

NCBI Resources – Dental Implants Complications

NCB Resources – Dental Implants Introduction

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