Are Dental Implants Painful?

A woman holding the side of her face from dental pain

Dental Implants provide an ideal alternative to dentures, bridges, and root canals. Yet unlike these dental treatments, dental implants are placed surgically. Due to the nature of surgical procedures, it’s common for patients to ask, “Are dental implants painful?”

The answer to this question can be explained in 2 parts: the procedure, and the healing period.

Are Dental Implant Procedures Painful?

If you are receiving single dental implants, you will have the area numbed with a local anesthetic. Because of the anesthetic, you won’t feel any pain during the gum incision or the drilling of the implant into the jawbone. Fortunately, the jawbone has no nerves to send pain signals. The most you will experience is feelings of pressure, and perhaps some tingling.

If you are having a full mouth dental implant procedure, you will sleep soundly under general anesthesia. You will neither feel pain nor be aware of the surgery. Near the end of your surgery, you will also be given a local anesthetic that will keep your mouth numb as you wake up and rest.

Is the Healing Period Painful?

As the anesthesia wears off, you will experience some tenderness the first couple of days. Any sensation of pain, however, is usually very manageable. Your surgeon will recommend you take an over the counter pain reliever, but some patients report not needing their medication. Most dental implant patients describe their post-operative pain as less than that of a tooth extraction.

If after 72 hours you are experiencing significant pain, you should seek medical attention or schedule an appointment with your dental facility for a follow-up.

You may hear of a “6-month healing period” for your implants, but this should not be understood as a period of healing from surgical pain. It could be better described as an “Osseointegration period” which is the time needed for your implants to naturally fuse with your jawbone. The food and hygiene guidelines given during this period are not primarily to prevent pain, but rather to allow the implants to fuse with your jawbone undisturbed. These 6 months should not be painful.