When people are looking to replace missing teeth with dental implants they are often worried about whether the procedure might hurt and if there is any discomfort, how much will there be? These are valid concerns and so this blog post is designed to take a look at these in more detail and answer these important questions.
As with many dental treatments it is often the thought of the treatment itself that is more painful than the reality; with modern equipment, techniques and materials dental pain has been significantly reduced in recent years.
The diagnostic stages for dental implants will almost certainly be totally comfortable as the procedure is minimally invasive. It simply involves using a soft wax to record the relationship between your top and bottom teeth and you should experience no pain whatsoever.
Having the dental implants placed
The actual placement of the dental implants will always be done under anesthetic, normally a local injection is required, although if you are especially nervous we can also offer dental sedation.
It’s important to remember that fear of the dentist can often be overcome by carefully explaining exactly what will be happening and why – no nasty surprises is what I tell my patients and then ensuring a comfortable and painless experience. Calmness- a pleasant non-threatening ambience and even background music all help.
Happy air sedation or R.A. Sedation for dental implants
Happy air which uses a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide carefully mixed or dosed to suit each individual will successfully overcome mild to moderate dental anxiety in about 95% of cases, our patients use a small, soft, sterile nose piece to breathe the air and nitrous oxide mix.
This starts before any treatment begins and with the mouth closed. Once relaxed and with a warm feeling of well-being, the mouth is opened when we ask. You are aware of what is happening, can speak to us if you wish but most people are just too calm and relaxed to be bothered. The happy air mix is breathed throughout the entire treatment and at the end; the mix is changed to 100% oxygen for 2-3 minutes. At the time you are sufficiently recovered and alert to return to the patient lounge.
We will make sure you are OK before you leave and this will only take a few more minutes.
We advice people not to drive for at least 30 minutes but returning to work is not a problem.
IV (Intravenous) sedation for implants
This involves a small injection and soft cannula inserted in the vein in the back of the hand or on the front of the arm at the bend of the elbow just like having a blood sample taken at the doctor. This will overcome most people’s moderate to severe anxiety and also help many phobics.
Intravenous Conscious Sedation (aka “IV sedation”) is also often called ‘sleep dentistry’ or ‘twilight dentistry’ although this is slightly confusing as you will not actually be asleep, rather you will be in your own twilight world where nothing at all matters – a very nice place to be!
You’ll also be able to understand and respond to requests from your dentist. Although most people report that they have little or no memory of what happened afterwards.
We recommend that you do not go back to work, drive or operate equipment after IV sedation plus you ought to have a chaperon to ensure that you return home safely afterwards.
Pain after having dental implants
Immediate post operative pain
Once the initial anesthetic has worn off it is likely that you will feel sore for a few days after having the implants placed. This is normally considered mild pain which can be controlled with over the counter pain reliever. If you experience more serious pain then you should always go back to your dentist and seek further advice from them.
This is one of the main reasons we recommend that you don’n go overseas for treatment, if you experience post operative dental implant pain and your dentist is thousands of miles away over seas, what do you do? Seeing an experienced UK dental implant dentist will ensure that this does not happen.
Pain after uncovering of the implant
In some cases the dental implant will be placed in the normal way but will be underneath your gum and totally unseen whilst it integrates with the bone around it, ready to accept the new crown on top in a few months time.
If this is how your dental implant dentist chooses to work then you may have to go back to the practice to have the implant uncovered. This is a relatively minor procedure but may necessitate some more surgery and stitches which could result in mild pain afterwards.
If dental implants were a truly painful procedure then no patient would ever go ahead! The reality is that with the techniques used above the whole process can be relatively comfortable with only mild pain as the norm.
Evolve Dentistry is a dental practice in Portishead on the outskirts of Bristol offering dental implants as a a way to replace missing teeth for the people of Bristol, Portishead and Cleveland.
Further reading on dental sedation
Indicator of Sedation Need (IOSN) – Questionnaire for Patients
Advice on how this should be used can be found in the SAAD Digest.
‘A Conscious Decision’
A joint report by the CMO & CDO on General Anaesthesia and Sedation.