Dental implants are a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. Once placed in the jaw, an implant can support one or more prosthetic teeth that can look, feel and function like natural teeth.
Placing a dental implant usually involves a number of surgical procedures, which means there can be risks. You won't normally feel pain during the procedure, and your dentist can advise you about pain relief during the recovery period.
What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a metal post shaped like a screw. This is used to replace the root of a missing tooth in your jaw. The jaw bone grows around the implant over time, holding it securely in place while also helping to support your jaw.
When an implant is first placed, your dentist will cover the top with a temporary crown while your gum heals and the implant fuses with your jaw. This is later replaced with a fixed crown or bridge designed to blend in with your natural teeth, or the implant can support a removable denture if you prefer.
If you want to replace all of your upper or lower teeth, your dentist might offer full arch implants. These can replace a whole row of teeth with 4 to 6 implants and may be an option if your jaw's too small to support standard implants.
Does the implant procedure hurt?
As with most dental treatments, you'll be given sedation to numb pain and discomfort during the dental implant procedure.
This is normally a local anaesthetic injected into the gum, but your dentist could discuss other sedation options if you have dental anxiety.
Will there be pain after the implant is placed?
It's normal to have some pain and swelling after oral surgery. This can be managed by taking over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication recommended by your dentist.
If you have persistent pain that won't go away, this could be a sign of a nerve injury or other complication from the procedure. You should make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.
How long does it take to recover from dental implants?
Depending on the type of implants you have, the dental implant procedure can sometimes take many appointments over six months or more, if you need to wait for the implant to bond with your jaw.
Recovery from each stage of the implant treatment will normally last a few days to a week. You can improve your chance of a full recovery and a successful treatment by:
- eating soft foods for a few days while your gum heals
- getting plenty of rest and avoiding exertion
- brushing and flossing your teeth (and implant) as normal
- having regular check-ups with your dentist
What are the alternatives to implants?
Dental implants are the most complex and expensive option for replacing teeth, but they're also the only option that supports the jaw and helps to prevent bone loss. As implants are secured in the jaw, you also won't have to avoid certain foods, which may be advised if you have dentures or a bridge.
Book an implant consultation in Brisbane CBD
If you want to know more about implants to help you decide if they're the right choice for you, arrange an implant consultation at Face Value Dental. We'll explain what the procedure involves, what implants cost and what the alternatives are, so you can make an informed decision.
Healthdirect. Dental implant [Online] 2019 [Accessed July 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-implant
Journal of the American Dental Association. Persistent pain after dental implant placement [Online] 2014 [Accessed July 2019] Available from: https://jada.ada.org/article/S0002-8177(14)60300-7/abstract