During a dental implant procedure, your dentist will open your gum and drill into your jaw to fix an implant post into the bone. This post ultimately holds the false tooth you'll use to replace a missing or impaired natural tooth. Some patients may worry about pain management during the procedure – drilling into the bone feels like a big deal – but your dentist should ensure that the procedure is painless and should give you advice on how to manage any pain you have after the operation.
Pain Management During Implant Surgery
According to the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry, you'll typically be given a local anaesthetic before your dentist starts to insert the implant post. This should completely numb the area of your mouth in which the dentist will work. Although it may feel weird to have someone drilling into your jaw, you should be fully anaesthetised and shouldn't feel any pain during the procedure.
Pain Management After Implant Surgery
Once you've had the post inserted and your anaesthetic wears off, your jaw, mouth and face may feel sore and swollen; you may also have some bruising. According to the Dental Care Network, it can take up to five days for the worst pain to disappear and up to 15 days for all swelling to completely go down.
There is no fixed level of pain after implant surgery. According to the Australian Society of Implant Dentistry most people only need to use mild over-the-counter painkillers to manage pain in the recovery period. Your dentist should recommend the best medication to take. For example, you may be advised to use paracetamol or a mix of paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Tip: It may be worth taking your first dose of painkillers just before your anaesthetic wears off. This may take the edge off the pain, making it more manageable in the first few hours after surgery.
Other Pain Management Tips
- Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to avoid infection after your procedure; you may also be told to use a salt/water mouthwash regularly for the first few days after the implant has been inserted. This mouthwash also helps avoid infection on the implant site and promotes healing. It may also reduce swelling, making your mouth less painful.
- It's important to eat carefully directly after surgery. Chewing may make your mouth and jaw more sore, and hard foods may hurt the wound area. Ask your dentist for advice on when you can start eating again and what you should eat to keep pain levels down and to protect the implant site.
- If your mouth or face feel particularly swollen, you may find that it helps to wrap an ice pack in a towel or cloth and to hold it against your face for five or ten minutes at a time.