Dental implant pain: discover what can make your implants hurt less

Pain can drive patients away from convenient lifelong solutions such as dental implants. The best way to stop worrying is to become thoroughly informed.

Are you a good candidate for dental implants?

Take our 30-second survey to find out.

AM I CANDIDATE?

The guide below may help you overcome any anguish to do with dental implant pain. Discover what kind of discomfort is a part of the process.

Creative Commons

How much does it hurt to get dental implants?

Dental implant procedure pain is commonly compared to a tooth extraction. You can bear it. But what is worth noting, implants can hurt not only on the day of the surgery.

You may feel discomfort much earlier, during preliminary stages. Patients even claim those can be more uncomfortable than the implant placement itself.

Preliminary procedures

There are cases when patients need to prepare for surgery. This could have different causes, whether there is bone to be augmented, sinuses to be lifted, or teeth to be removed. You might not need any of these. It is at the discretion of your dentist to decide.

Bone grafting is usually done under a local injection. This procedure increases the volume of the jawbone. You might receive a painkiller and anti-inflammatory medicine prescription after you leave the office.

Dr. Richard Hattaway

A biological membrane is often used for larger bone grafts to prevent the patient's body from reabsorbing the material before it can fulfill its purpose.

Sinus lifting has been reported to be particularly unpleasant. The surgery lasts over an hour. You are definitely going to receive local anesthesia and may even be sedated. After a few hours you will start to feel some pain in your upper jawbone, on your face, and maybe even in your nose.

Dr. Matthew Stewart

Sinus lifting is most commonly needed for implants further in the back.

Some teeth might have to be extracted prior to implantation. This can be due to the fact that they are so damaged, they need to be replaced. The most common reason, though, is when the patient is having a full arch replaced. In that case, the remaining dentition is pulled.

Placement surgery

The surgery itself is minimal in discomfort, as you will be under anesthesia. You may start to feel some pain 2-4 hours after you leave the office while it wears off. Since there is such careful planning involved, nerves in the bone are almost always undisturbed. There might be some pain in the gums instead.

You are likely to wear a healing cap for 2 weeks. That might cause minor irritation to your gums but should not be very painful.

Loading of restoration

The abutment and crown may have to be placed a few months later, after a period of healing. The procedure can be mild. A local injection should numb pinching pressure you might otherwise feel in the gums. You will likely not need to use any painkillers afterward.

How can I ease the pain of dental implants?

The most important thing is to adhere to your dentist’s post-op instructions closely and conduct excellent dental implant aftercare. There are a couple of other things you can do to decrease any pain associated with implant placement.

Go with an experienced dentist

Choosing the right specialist to perform the job is key. Make sure to go with someone who has placed many implants before with a high success rate. Such experts usually have hundreds of before and after pictures as well as great reviews online.

It may be tempting to go with someone who charges a lot less than their competitors, but this could put you on a path of complications. Those are not only painful and inconvenient but can be very expensive to fix as well.

Take the appropriate medications

In addition to taking any drugs your dentist prescribed according to instructions they gave you, you may also be taking medications for other conditions. Make sure to disclose anything to your dentist prior to the procedure.

This is very important because some drugs (such as anxiety or heartburn medications) can have a negative impact on healing. Some may even lead to implant failure.It's also very important to keep chronic conditions well-controlled, especially diabetes, as this helps allow for favorable healing.

Brush and floss your teeth

Keeping up oral hygiene during the healing period is vital. Your gums need a clean environment without any contamination to recover. What’s more, issues like gum disease or tooth decay can be detrimental not only to implant success, but your overall health during this period.

Brush and floss after every meal and use non-alcoholic mouthwash to disinfect your mouth. It is recommended to do this at least 3 times a day for a week after your surgery. After that, visit your dentist for regular cleanings 1-2 times per year.

Take advantage of home remedies for pain

You can numb discomfort during the first days after the procedure by using ice packs. Place them on your face close to the area of the implant, 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off.

Bite down on a moistened tea bag if you feel the taste of blood in your mouth. The tannic acid helps constrict vessels.

Use a warm (but not hot) saltwater solution to rinse your mouth after every meal. You might want to avoid the implant site when brushing due to irritation in the gums. This solution can help remove food debris and prevent it from breaking down on your teeth and soft tissues.

Stick to an appropriate diet

Hard and sticky snacks are out of the question for a few weeks after the procedure. Eat soft foods or even blend whatever you feel may be uncomfortable to chew. Still, keep your diet full of vitamins and nutrients which help your body heal quickly and efficiently.

Don’t drink or eat anything hot the day you get back home. Avoid using straws for a few days, as the sucking motion could rip blood clots away from the implant site.

Refrain from smoking and alcohol

Smoking is just about the worst thing you could do when it comes to your dental implant. Cigarettes slow down healing and make your mouth vulnerable to infections. It is imperative that you quit smoking for at least 2 months after your implant surgery.

Alcohol can likewise impede healing. The first 72 hours are when you should not touch it at all. After that, try not to binge drink at least, and adhere to official recommendations as to units per day.

Get enough rest

The body regenerates best when sleeping. Make sure to get your 8 hours every night. Moreover, stay away from strenuous activity for at least a week. Exercising can wait.

Most patients return to work the next day after having an implant placed, but procedures like sinus lifting and bone grafting may require more downtime. Your dentist will let you know how much time off you should organize.

How long does pain last after dental implant placement?

Some pain during implant recovery is to be expected. Placement is an invasive procedure and soreness is the body’s natural response. Most commonly it lasts 3 days after the surgery and is quite mild. You should not need to take painkillers past a few days.

The problems start when the pain doesn’t go away with healing.

TimeDescription
A couple hours after the procedureAs the anesthesia wears off, you will feel less and less numb. Slight throbbing pain might appear in the area, as well as irritation of the gums.
Week 1Pain or pressure at this stage is still likely, especially on impact (when you’re chewing or clenching your teeth). It is common for patients to continue taking OTC painkillers during this period. The pain commonly disappears 72 hours after the surgery.
Week 2You should not feel any pain after about 2 weeks. If you do, this could be a sign of infection. Contact your dentist immediately.
3-4 months after the procedureIf you are still experiencing pain a couple weeks after surgery, this could be a sign of infection, nerve damage, or an otherwise failed implant. Reach out to your dentist as soon as possible.


It’s important to keep an open line of communication with the doctor after the implant is placed. You will probably have 1 or 2 check-up visits scheduled, so make sure to disclose any worrying symptoms at that time.

If severe pain is associated with looseness, both soon after the surgery and years later, you might have to get your implant removed.

FAQ

Are you put to sleep for dental implants?

Placing dental implants usually does not require putting you to sleep. Most commonly, the patient is given a local injection and IV or oral conscious sedation. The latter two will make you drowsy but aware of your surroundings. You might not remember the procedure.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, have a low tolerance for pain, or if you are having many teeth removed and multiple implants inserted, you may have to go under general anesthesia.

Is it normal to have throbbing pain after a tooth implant?

Throbbing pain or pressure is common for a few days after the surgery. It might appear as the anesthetic starts to wear off. If your doctor prescribed any painkillers, take them with adherence to his or her instructions. Otherwise, settle for OTC products, ideally non-NSAID, like paracetamol.

If you’ve had your implant for a while and suddenly start to feel throbbing pain, contact your dentist immediately.

Why do my dental implants hurt?

Some pain is part of the recovery period. The first few days up to 2 weeks might be uncomfortable. Take prescribed medications or OTC products to manage the soreness.

Let your doctor know if pain continues beyond this period. You are likely to have a check-up 1-2 weeks after the procedure. This is a good time to disclose any discomfort you are feeling.

What affects pain intensity after implant placement?

Your adherence to post-op instructions and the number of implants placed impact pain intensity most. An inappropriate diet, smoking, or strenuous activity can increase pain and slow down healing.

Your mouth recovers more slowly from lower arch implant placement, but this does not necessarily mean more pain. Either way, the more implants, the more invasive the procedure, the more soreness you might feel.

RECOMMENDED
  • Find the best dental implant dentist near you
  • Top-rated dentist with raving patient reviews
  • Flexible financing that makes implants affordable
  • Fast, free and easy way to find a trusted dentist