Dental implant pain is probably one of the first things you’ll be aware of once the effects of your anaesthetic have worn off, and your mouth is no longer feeling numb. It’s only natural for there to be a dull ache where the implant is sitting and for it to feel tender and sore around the implant site.
The dental implant process involves cutting your gums and drilling a hole into your jaw bone into which a small titanium rod is screwed into place. Sounds scary, but thanks to anaesthetic and conscious sedation techniques, trust us when we say that most patients feel NO PAIN whatsoever during surgery. In the main, dental implant pain after surgery is more common.
That said, post op surgery pain can usually be managed with over the counter medications such as ibuprofen and usually subsides in a few days. But what if you’re experiencing a new type of pain several weeks, months or even years later …..
Dental implant pain – Why, how, and where
Let’s dive right in and discuss some of the reasons that your tooth implant could be causing you pain.
1. Infection – One of the most common dental implant problems that causes pain is gum infection or peri-implantitis. This is caused by the presence of bacteria, which in a small minority of cases may have occurred during surgery, but more often than not is caused by poor dental hygiene. Yep, you haven’t been brushing and flossing properly! Besides pain, other symptoms can be swelling, inflammation, or bleeding around the site of the implant.
If you suspect you may have an infection then you should visit your dentist right away. Ignoring your symptoms won’t make them disappear and there’s a danger that the bone around the implant may weaken and lose its grip, causing the implant to fail. If caught early enough there’s a good chance that your tooth implant can be saved by taking a course of antibiotics and improving your oral hygiene. If this fails, then we may have to remove the implant, treat the site, and replace the implant at a later date.
2. Instability – If your implant feels loose then the cause could be a loss of bone surrounding the implant. This may indicate that your implant is failing or that it never fused properly with the surrounding bone in the first place. This could have happened because you started to smoke again, or it may be due to an inexperienced dentist placing it incorrectly, or into bone that wasn’t deep enough to support it. Whatever the reason, you’ve probably been feeling some pain from it. Unfortunately, in most instances a loose dental implant has to be removed.
3. Bad bite – If your tooth implant hasn’t been aligned correctly into your jawbone, then you may experience pain in the bone that’s around it. Consequently when you bite down, the excess force may push the implant further into the bone, causing discomfort. This occurs when you’re chewing or afterwards. Don’t worry, often we can rectify this problem simply by changing the dental crown which sits on top of the implant. Replacing it with a crown that fits better into your bite, should rid you of dental implant pain.
4. Nerve damage – Another of the dental implant problems that causes pain is damage to the nerves. Although this in incredibly rare, it can happen if your dentist catches the nerve located in the lower jawbone. Symptoms include a tingling or numbness which usually affects the lower part of the chin or lips and one side of the tongue. In most cases these symptoms disappear as the nerve heals but other times the pain can be permanent. If this is the case, then there’s no option but to remove the offending implant.
Although we’ve covered a grim subject, don’t let the thought of dental implant pain put you off getting a dental implant. Over 90% of all implant restorations are successful. Thanks to advanced high-tech procedures such as CT scans, computer aided planning, and surgical guides, post operative complications and incidents of dental implant pain have been greatly reduced.
If you’re considering dental implants but have a few concerns about the tooth implant procedure, or what to expect after, then please get in touch with Smile Gallery on (03) 8595 2632 . We’d love to help fix your smile.