Learning Center

Are Dental Implants Painful?

Dental implants are an excellent and permanent alternative to bridges, dentures, and root canals.  Today’s technology, combined with the skilled hands of an experienced dentist, have made dental implants more attainable for those looking for a healthy, beautiful smile.  As with any procedure, many patients ask if the process is painful during their initial consultation.  The answer to this question can be answered in the perspective of the initial procedure and the consequent healing process. 

Is the Dental Implant Procedure Painful?

In the case of a single dental implant, our dentists use a local anesthetic to numb the area where you will be receiving your implant.  This process is the very same as you’d receive when you would get a filling.   Great care is taken to ensure the proper amount of anesthesia is administered so you feel absolutely no pain during your dental implant procedure. At the most you will feel a bit of pressure and maybe tingling during the incision and drilling of the implant into the jawbone.  Thankfully, the jawbone has no nerve receptors to send signals of pain to your brain.  This entire procedure of the incision, drilling, and placement should take no more than an hour.

If you are undergoing a full (top and/or bottom) dental implant placement, generally our dentists will put you under general anesthesia.  Since you will be fully sedated, you will feel absolutely no pain or discomfort during the surgery.  Before you wake, you’ll be administered a local anesthetic to ensure you come out of anesthesia with no pain.

Is the Recovery Period After a Dental Implant Procedure Painful?

You will most likely experience some feelings of tenderness over the next couple days after your procedure as the local anesthetic wears off.  Most of our patients find that any mild sensations of pain during this time are very manageable and we recommend a mild over the counter pain reliever such as Tylenol as needed.   However, many patients report that no additional pain relievers are needed post-surgery.  To compare with other procedures, many patients compare the post-procedure pain as being less than that of a normal tooth extraction. 

As a general rule, in the very rare occasion of experiencing significant pain after the 72-hour mark, you should seek immediate medical attention or schedule a next day appointment with your dentist for a follow-up.

General Guidelines for the Healing Process

Your aftercare following your dental implant procedure is fairly straight forward.   Some of these guidelines include:

  • Avoiding straws for 24 hours following surgery
  • Expect minor swelling for up to 2-3 days post-surgery
  • The day after your surgery, rinse with salt water 3-4 times daily
  • Use over the counter pain medication as needed
  • Avoid smoking or vaping for at least 3 days after surgery
  • Integrate a liquid diet for 24-48 hours
  • Avoid hot food in the first 48 hours

Is There a 6-Month Healing Process Following a Dental Implant Procedure?

Many patients get confused when they hear a “6-month healing period” after their dental implant procedure.  This is not a period where you will experience any pain or discomfort, but rather, the “Osseointegration period” which is the time it takes for your new dental implant to naturally fuse with your jawbone.  The guidelines your dentist will provide during this period are to help with the fusing process, not to prevent any mouth pain as no pain should be felt during this 6-month period.

There’s No Need to be Afraid of Pain Following your Dental Implant Procedure

Dental implants are a life-changing and confidence boosting procedure to permanently improve your dental health.  While recovery is different for everyone, most patients report little to no pain following their surgery and would recommend the procedure to friends and family in need of a dental implant.  Contact Vestal Dental Associates today for a consultation with one of our experienced dental implant dentists.