Pain Management in Implant Dentistry

You may have heard of the dental wand, but this is for you if you haven’t seen it, a conversation on how a dental wand works. Followed by more specific notes on the elements of dental implant pain management that some people might find helpful.

It often surprises people that there is less pain than other dental treatments because the dental implant replaces the root of the tooth, where the nerves used to be.

Video length: 2 minutes and 50 seconds

It is quite common for patients who are considering, or about to undergo dental implant surgery to be in the dark when it comes to predicting how much pain to expect.

We hope this will help you understand the implications from

a) the surgery itself
b) during the recuperation period immediately post-surgery (ie the next week or two)

And although at Winning Smiles, we always encourage new implant patients to have a chat with patients who have had the whole ‘implant experience’, most patients won’t actually take us up on that offer – even though our previous implant patients are usually very happy to talk about it! We have our dental implant reviews that might help.

So I thought it might be useful to pen a broad classification of what pain and trouble you might expect from our implant procedures here at Winning Smiles. All implant surgery is not the same, so I have divided it up a bit (with a note on sinus surgery/bone grafts at the end)

1) Simple implant surgery ie 1-2 implants, no ridge splitting, no sinus work, no grafting

No need for sedation unless you are a nervous patient

Pain during surgery: none

Recuperation period: 2 days, mild soreness around gums, most patients will go back to work the next day without the need to take even an aspirin.

2) ‘Middle of the road’ cases ie 3-4 implants or 2 implants with ‘extras’ like sinus surgery/sinus ‘tap up’/simple bone grafting/ridge expansion

Sedation recommended

Pain during surgery: none! (No, really!)

Recuperation: 3-10  days. Mild to moderate soreness around gums, mild swelling. Individual patients respond very differently in these cases.

For some patients, it is very easy and they get only minor post-op soreness. At the other end of the spectrum, a few patients will have to take painkillers for a few days and may bruise (in fair-skinned patients the bruising can be quite noticeable).

3) Complex cases ie a whole upper jaw/lower jaw, 4-16 implants, ‘block’ bone grafts, etc

Sedation strongly recommended

Pain during surgery: none

Recuperation: 7-14 days. Moderate soreness around gums, moderate swelling, painkillers for the first week. Bruising can be quite widespread in fair-skinned patients (ladies – buy concealer before you come!)

4) Sinus surgery:

Pain-less during surgery, little pain afterwards with mild swelling. Bruising on fair-skinned patients.

5) ‘Block’ bone grafts – where we take bone from the chin or lower jaw and screw it into place somewhere else (often upper front area)

Again, we would expect very little pain during the surgery but considerable soreness/bruising and some swelling for 1-2 weeks afterwards.

Similar to the ‘complex’ cases above, it’s not something we enjoy doing with patients, but in some cases, the only way forward – and they do work very well.

This is a lot of detail, but we find people would rather know these things upfront, rather than find out after the event.

Free Consultation

Without seeing things for ourselves, we can’t tell people what their options are.

And so with that in mind, we are happy to offer free consultations, as this is a big decision for most people. We are careful to take budget, comfort and appearance into account when explaining all the available choices and there is never any pressure to proceed, and certainly not on the day.

We set out to be a friendly practice and try to provide everybody with what’s right for them, at an affordable cost. We hope our dentist reviews give that impression.

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