Tooth loss is a common dental problem among millions of people worldwide. Mainly, it arises from tooth decay, periodontitis, or physical injury. Dentures and bridges previously were the only options for remedying tooth loss, but dental implants are increasingly becoming popular.
Dental implants are metal posts that serve as tooth root replacements. They, therefore, allow for the fitting of replacement teeth. Before undergoing the procedure, the one question that lingers is: do dental implants hurt? Those who have experienced the procedure may also ask: why do my dental implants hurt? Read on to find out more about dental implants.
Dental Implant Procedure
The process of getting a dental implant involves several steps and specialists. Such specialists include:
- Oral and maxillofacial surgeons, who specialize in the conditions of the mouth and jaw;
- Periodontists, who are specialized with treating gums and bones supporting the teeth;
- Prosthodontists, dentists who specialize in the designing and fitting of artificial teeth.
Dental implants may involve more than one surgical procedure, and thorough evaluation before each process is essential. These processes involve:
- Comprehensive dental examination. This may involve a CT scan, taking of 3D images, and making models of the teeth and jaws.
- Review of your medical record. Before beginning the procedure, inform your doctor of any medical conditions you have or medication you could be taking. This helps the doctor to know the best course of action in case of any medical conditions.
- Treatment plan. The dentist comes up with a custom treatment plan for you, depending on the number of teeth to be replaced and the condition of the jawbone.
The actual tooth implant procedure involves the following general steps:
- Extraction of damaged teeth
- Jaw preparation for surgery. Where bone augmentation is necessary, bone grafting is done to give the implant a strong foundation to anchor.
- Dental implant insertion. The dentist makes an opening into the jawbone to place the post by screwing it into position.
- Implant integration. Once the implant is fitted into the jawbone, integration begins. The jawbone fuses with the surface of the implant. The process takes several months and helps provide a strong base for the artificial tooth to be fitted.
- Placing the abutment. The abutment is the point of attachment of the crown or the artificial tooth. This step involves the reopening of the gum to expose the implant, attaching the abutment, and closing the gum tissue around. For this step, a patient doesn’t feel any dental implant pain since it is done under local anesthesia.
- Placing the crown. This involves choosing your preferred artificial tooth. One may choose removable or fixed artificial teeth or a combination of the two where several implants are involved.
Dental Implant Process Timeline
The timelines for a dental implant procedure may vary from one patient to another. Here are the steps involved in a dental implant and the time they take:
- Consultation – This is the initial visit to the dentist, where you discuss the objectives, process, and an overview of the process.
- First surgery – Incisions are made in the gum to place the dental implant. This process is done in one session. It takes 4 to 6 months for the dental implant to fuse to the jawbone completely, provided no complications arise.
- Abutment Placement – The gum is reopened for the placement of the abutment. The healing process for this procedure takes about two weeks before the crown can be placed.
- Crown Placement – the placement of artificial teeth takes place after the abutment placement process and is done in one session.
The entire process of getting a dental implant may, therefore, take up to 8 months, depending on different factors.
What to Expect After a Dental Implant Procedure
The big question for most dental implant candidates is: do dental implants hurt? Or how bad do dental implants hurt? After the dental implant surgery, some pain or discomfort is expected. Normally, dental implants hurt after the surgery, but not long after. The pain and discomfort associated with dental implants may be experienced in the chin, cheeks, or even underneath the eyes.
Pain may also arise from the bruising of the gums and skin, and the implant site as well. Some individuals may also experience swelling of the gums and face after the procedure. Minor bleeding could also be experienced, and should therefore not be scary for dental implant candidates.
Risks Associated With Dental Implants
Dental implant procedures pose some health risks, just like any other surgery. Major complications are rare, but minor issues may occur and are treatable. Some of those issues include:
- Injury at the site of surgery
- Infection at the site of the implant
- Nerve damage may cause tooth implant pain, tingling in the teeth, and numbness of the lips, chin, or gums
- Sinus issues, especially when implants in the upper jaw protrude into any of the sinus cavities
Dental implant recovery depends on how good one looks after their dental hygiene. Habits like smoking may lead to dental implant failure. It is also important to avoid damaging habits such as teeth grinding and chewing on hard foods. Visit your dentist regularly for optimal recovery.