Among the most frequent questions asked of oral surgeons when patients are considering dental implants for the first time is how much pain will be involved in the process. Patients often wonder if implant placement is more painful than tooth extraction – a procedure they have typically already experienced. While there is no cut-and-dried answer, since every person perceives pain differently and procedures are very individualized, most patients report feeling less discomfort during implant surgery than in tooth extraction procedures.

Dental Implants: Discomfort During Procedures

Of course, dental implant procedures are surgery, and all surgical procedures do involve some amount of pain and discomfort. However, since anesthesia is administered during implant procedures, most patients experience minimal discomfort during simple implant placement. Patients who are having bone grafts or other supplemental procedures done may experience a bit more discomfort than the average simple implant patient, and some surgical techniques lead to more discomfort than others.

However, these are factors that oral surgeons take into account as they plan anesthesia to provide the greatest possible level of comfort for their patients. Anesthesia may be local or general, according to the specific needs of each patient, and a variety of sedation methods, ranging from oral sedatives to IV sedation, are often used in patients who are particularly sensitive to pain or tend to be nervous or anxious during dental procedures.

Post-Procedure Discomfort

Pain and discomfort after the placement of dental implants is generally comparable to the after effects of other common dental procedures. Since incisions are made in the gums during the procedure, there may be minor bleeding at the implant site immediately following the procedure and some pain or discomfort is common as the effects of anesthesia wear off, typically with a two to four hours after surgery. Some patients experience minor bruising in the gums and/or face, especially those who have had bone grafts, as well as some swelling in those areas. Most often, basic pain medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or codeine are sufficient to alleviate post-procedure discomfort.

Of course, no two patients or procedures are exactly alike, so each person’s experience will be, to some extent, unique. However, many patients who have dental implants placed are pleasantly surprised to find that the procedure is much more comfortable than they expected, causing them no more discomfort –and quite often less – than other dental procedures they have experienced over the years, such a fillings, root canals, bridge placement or tooth extractions.

Schedule your consultation to learn more about the dental implant process and recovery. Contact our office in Washington, DC at (202) 386-7100.