Are Dental Implants Painful?
Tooth loss is one of the most common issues we encounter in our adult patients at Rainier Ave Dental in Seattle. In fact, research shows that almost 200 million patients are missing at least one tooth, and some are completely edentulous- which means they are missing all of their natural teeth.
Missing teeth can cause a lot of complications both functionally and aesthetically. When you are missing teeth, you struggle to eat- this means you may not be getting the nutrition you need which can lead to a variety of health issues. In addition, your remaining teeth will begin to shift to fill in the gap, which creates a misalignment. Your jawbone begins to deteriorate without the stimulation from tooth roots- which leads to premature aging and additional tooth loss.
However, the good news is, you don’t have to live with your tooth loss. We do have solutions. For many years, the only options were dentures or bridges. In the 1960s, researchers invented dental implants.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are a tooth replacement solution designed to mimic your natural teeth. In fact, patients who have gotten dental implants say that they look, feel, and function just like natural teeth.
Dental implants typically consist of three parts:
Implant: the screw that is inserted into the jawbone
Abutment: the connector that attaches the crown to the jawbone
Crown: the prosthetic tooth that is visible above the gum line
Mini implants are slightly smaller because the implant and the abutment are one piece, and the crown is separate. These are ideal for patients who may not qualify for traditional dental implants. However, it is important to note that they are not ideal for all tooth loss.
One of the best things about this tooth replacement procedure is that it can be used to replace a single tooth, or it can be used as a supporting structure to replace an entire arch.
If you are missing one or more teeth, Drs. Sang and Jiyon Kim will work with you to understand your needs and goals and help you understand your options. We want you to be satisfied with your decision.
Is the Dental Implant Procedure Painful?
When you have dental implant surgery, we provide you with local anesthesia to numb the area and keep you comfortable. If you mentioned during your consultation that you struggle with dental anxiety, we will include sedation in your treatment plan- so you won’t feel a thing and most patients don’t even remember the procedure.
The procedure for getting dental implants is fairly lengthy. You must commit a minimum of several months from start to finish and, depending on your current condition, you may require a year or more.
The first step is like any other dental procedure: the consultation visit. During this time, we will evaluate your oral health and determine how many teeth you are missing versus how many healthy teeth you have remaining. We will also discuss your goals for treatment. This will help us build a treatment plan that will work for you.
If you mentioned during your consultation that you struggle with dental anxiety, we will include sedation in your treatment plan- so you won’t feel a thing and most patients don’t even remember the procedure.
For some patients, the procedure is fairly straightforward, and we can place the implants right away. For others, additional extractions and/or bone graft surgery are required. If you do require extractions but no bone grafting, we may be able to place the implants at the same time. However, if you require bone grafting, you will need to heal between these procedures before the implants can be placed.
When we do insert the implants, we start by making an incision in the gum and drilling a small hole in the bone. The implant will be placed in the bone and the surgical site sutured and you will need a few months to heal. During this time, osseointegration will occur which means the bone heals around and fuses to the implant, securing it in place.
Once healing has taken place, the site will be opened, and the abutment will be placed. A healing cap will be placed on top to keep the gums from healing over it. In a few weeks, your permanent crown will be placed, and you will have a smile you can be proud of.
How Painful is the Recovery Period?
If the dental implant surgery was successful and everything is healing as it should, the pain, swelling, and bruising should be temporary. For most patients, the discomfort only lasts for about a week, and they only need pain medication for the first 2 days. The swelling and bruising may last up to 10 days. However, many patients return to their normal activities within 1 to 2 days.
If you experience significant pain following your dental implant surgery or it is not subsiding as expected, you may be experiencing complications. If you are still having discomfort after two weeks, it is critical that you let the team at Rainier Ave Dental know so that we can determine the cause.
If you have pain months or years following dental implant surgery, you may be experiencing dental implant failure. This tooth replacement procedure has a 95%+ success rate, but there are things that could cause failure, including:
Improper oral hygiene habits, allowing bacteria to collect
Should You Go for Dental Implants?
Missing teeth cause a variety of oral and overall health complications and may also impact your mental health. Therefore, if you are missing teeth, it’s a good idea to explore dental implants as a potential solution. In fact, if you don’t address it early, you could potentially become edentulous and lose all of your teeth.
Conclusion: The Benefits are Worth the Pain
While there is some minor pain and discomfort, as well as swelling and bruising, involved with dental implant surgery, the lifelong benefits are worth it. Some of the benefits that come with dental implants are:
Preserves jawbone density: tooth roots stimulate your jawbone to keep it healthy. If you are missing teeth, you don’t have that stimulation. Since you’re not using your jawbone, you will lose it- and eventually more teeth. Dental implants act as artificial tooth roots, stimulating the jawbone, and keeping it healthy.
Maintains youthful appearance: when you have jawbone loss, your facial structure changes and your face begins to sag. This makes you look much older than you are- but dental implants maintain your facial structure, keeping you looking younger for longer.
Prevents additional tooth loss: another problem with jawbone deterioration is that it can cause remaining teeth to fall out. Dental implants preserve the jawbone, so you don’t have to worry bout other teeth falling out.
Promotes oral hygiene: if you are unhappy with the condition of your teeth, you may not want to bother taking care of them. However, dental implants improve your smile, making you more likely to exercise proper oral hygiene habits and improving your confidence.
Schedule Your Consultation Today with Rainier Avenue Dental
If you are missing one or more teeth, we encourage you to schedule a consultation today to determine your eligibility for dental implants. This tooth replacement solution is one of the most popular because it looks, feels, and functions the most like natural teeth. In fact, once you have dental implants, unless you tell people, they won’t know.
We are located on Rainier Avenue in Seattle. Our office hours are Monday 9 to 5, Wednesday 8 to 5, and Friday by appointment only. If you have a dental emergency, contact us immediately and we will get you in the office as soon as possible.