Are Dental Implants Painful?
Don’t let rumours deter you from having this excellent tooth replacement treatment
It is well established that anxiety surrounding dental visits is very common, second only to a fear of flying. It is perhaps no surprise then that when our Bedford patients are asked if they would consider dental implants to replace a missing tooth, the thought of the procedure is one of their main areas of concern.
For anyone who doesn’t know about this treatment, the key part of the procedure is the placing of a screw-like object into the bone in the jaw. This then integrates with the bone over time, providing, in effect, a replacement tooth root onto which a crown is then attached. This offers a great deal more strength and stability than any other tooth replacement method. In most cases, it is the thought of having a hole drilled into the jawbone which is the main deterrence for a lot of people.
One of the most important things that we have discovered at The Dental Centre Bedford is that patients tend to be less worried about this procedure once they understand more about what happens and why. In any treatment, it would be unnerving for a dentist to start work on a problem without explaining what they were about to do. For example, most people don’t ‘enjoy’ having a tooth drilled when having a filling. If they are told that it is only a small filling that is needed, for example, the patient knows that the experience won’t last long and helps them to persevere through it.
The same applies with placing an implant. If the patient knows what to expect, it can help them to process what is happening as each step takes place. We will explain all of this before you make a decision to have this treatment, and our friendly team will also be able to answer any questions that you might have.
Does it hurt?
Let us come now to the fundamental question of whether it is painful or not when you have an implant placed. There is no getting away from the fact that this procedure is invasive and also typically lasts for longer than many other procedures.
You will be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area where the procedure will take place. A small incision will then be made into the gum to allow the dentist to access the bone. The precise location of the hole that is to be made will be determined using 3D scans to ensure not only accurate placement but also to avoid any nerves within the bone structure. A small hole will then be drilled. You should not feel any significant discomfort during this, but you may feel the vibration of the drill and also the sound it makes. Once this hole has been drilled, one of the most perhaps anxiety inducing parts of the treatment is over.
The next step is to place the implant into the hole. This is usually done by gently screwing it into place. Again, this might feel a little strange but should not be too uncomfortable. Once this has been placed, the gum will be sealed again and your new implant will then need to fuse with the bone.
During this step of the treatment, you will need to take special care to keep it clean and also stick to a diet that won’t cause any damage. You will be given full information on how to do this by our Bedford implant team. This period, where the fusing, also known as osseointegration, takes place, usually lasts around three months. After this, the new artificial root will be ready to have the crown attached to it. This is a straightforward procedure which should cause little discomfort.
The thought of drilling into the bone may deter some patients but, as you can see, it is a relatively small part of the treatment and once completed, won’t need to be repeated for that tooth. You will, of course, need to look after the implant over the long term, but this requires no more than should be expected with a natural tooth; i.e. brushing it, flossing around the implant and maintaining regular visits to see the dentist and hygienist.
Throughout the whole process, from your initial consultation through to treatment and aftercare, we will always be here for you should you need any advice about your new implant or if you have any concerns about it. For the vast majority of patients who have this procedure, it results in an extremely strong replacement tooth that can last for twenty years or more if taken care of correctly. If you would like to find out more about this treatment, or to arrange your initial consultation with us, please call The Dental Centre Bedford on 01234 819868.