During the actual tooth implant procedure, you should not feel any pain because your mouth will be locally anesthetized, or you may even be sedated. However, some factors can lead to postoperative pain in a minority of patients, so it’s important to understand what a normal amount of discomfort is and when you need to contact your dentist because of potential complications. In most cases, tooth implant pain lasts for under two weeks after the surgery. Certain patients, however, may have medical conditions or other factors that cause their dental implant recovery to take longer.
How long do dental implants hurt after the procedure?
After you leave the dentist’s office on the day of your surgery, you can expect to experience some minor discomfort and tenderness of the tissue in your mouth. In most cases, your dentist will recommend that you take over-the-counter Ibuprofen to mitigate the pain, as it is typically quite tolerable without the need for prescription drugs.
In addition to mild pain killers, you will need to avoid hard foods for at least several days or about a week after receiving your implants.
Mild swelling of the cheeks, chin, or under the eyes also occurs in some patients and can be minimized with the use of ice packs. Most of the swelling and discomfort generally goes away after the first couple of days and is totally gone after no more than two weeks. If you DO experience pain for longer than two weeks, then you should contact your dentist right away to make sure there are no complications.
What can lead to dental implant complications and failure?
Although dental implants have a high success rate of about 95%, in approximately 5% of cases they fail either a short time after the surgery or even years later. Let’s look at some of the factors that can cause both early and late dental implant failure in a small number of patients.
Remember that if you experience any of the below symptoms after the initial dental implant recovery period, they may be a sign of complications.
Symptoms of dental implant failure or complications:
- Inflammation or recession of the gums
- Sudden increased swelling of the mouth tissue
- Difficulty chewing and biting
- Extreme pain or severe discomfort after the initial recovery period
- An implant or replaced tooth coming loose
Possible Causes of Early-Stage Dental Implant Complications
Early-stage complications are those that occur within the first three or four months after the surgery. Keep in mind that dental implants do take at least several months to finish grafting to the bone, but you should not feel any dental implant pain after the first two weeks of recovery. Any sudden resurgence of pain in the first few months after the procedure can signify complications.
An infection at the site of the implants is one of the more common early-stage complications that can cause tooth implant pain. In order to prevent an infection, it’s important to follow all your dentist’s instructions for post-operative care.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of infection, including smoking, autoimmune disease, and bad oral hygiene. In order to decrease your chances of developing complications due to infection, you should avoid smoking and always maintain a high level of oral hygiene.
Lack of Bone Support
In some cases, a patient may not have enough bone structure to support a dental implant. This prevents the implant from grafting to the jawbone, leading to a failed implant procedure. This can also occur if a dental surgeon attempts to complete the entire dental implant process in one sitting, installing both the implants and the permanent crown, and the patient doesn’t have enough bone density to support the load all at once.
Most dental implants are made of titanium alloy, which can cause an allergic reaction in some people. The allergic reaction usually causes a tingling or burning sensation at the site of the implants. If you are aware that you are allergic to titanium, then it’s important you discuss this with your dentist beforehand so they can install an implant made of a different substance.
Risk Factors for Long-Term Dental Implant Failure
Late dental implant failure can occur years later, even after an initial successful implant. Risk factors for late failure can come from the patient and their habits, procedural issues, or medical conditions. Many of these risks can be avoided, increasing the likelihood of long-lasting implant success.
This is one of the most avoidable risk factors for long-term dental implant failure. Smokers who have dental implants are much more likely to experience complications over the years. If you are a smoker, you should discuss your habits with your dentist before receiving dental implants and consider quitting for both your dental and overall health.
Bad Oral Hygiene
In order to ensure the success of your dental implants, it’s very important to always maintain good oral hygiene. This means brushing and flossing at least twice a day, using mouthwash to kill bacteria, and attending regular check-ups with your dentist. This will go a long way towards keeping your teeth, gums, and implants healthy.
Grinding of the teeth, especially when it occurs at night time when the person is asleep, can put excessive pressure on dental implants and damage them. It’s usually caused by things like stress or misaligned teeth. If you know that you have a habit of grinding your teeth, then talk with your dentist about ways to treat it to prevent damage to your dental implants.
These are a few examples of complications that can cause pain after a tooth implant procedure. It’s important to remember that 95% of patients receive dental implants successfully and don’t experience any pain beyond minor discomfort in the first few days after their surgery. You can be confident in your dental surgeon to do everything possible using the best modern technology to ensure a successful, pain-free procedure, so you’ll be smiling again in no time.