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Dental Implant Procedure: Is it Painful?

The procedure done to replace tooth roots with screw-like metal posts and replacing missing or damaged teeth with artificial ones is called dental implant surgery. Nowadays, dental implant surgery is seen as a welcome alternative to bridgework or dentures.

How dental implant surgery will be done will depend on two key factors: the condition of the patient’s jawbone as well as the type of implant that will be used. One major upside of dental implants is it provides robust support for the new teeth.

The dental implant process will also require that the bone will heal tightly around the implant. Since bone healing will take time, the process will likely take several months. Most people who have received dental implants report very minimal discomfort during the procedure. In addition, most notice the procedure is also less painful than a tooth extraction.

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Candidates

Placed surgically in the jawbone, dental implants will serve as roots for the missing teeth. Since titanium in the implants will fuse with the jawbone, the implants won’t cause bone damage, make noise, or slip.

You are a good candidate for dental implants if:

  • You have one (or more) missing teeth
  • You have enough bone to secure the implants
  • You are able to have a bone graft when needed
  • You have a jawbone that has grown fully
  • You don’t have any conditions that affect bone healing
  • You have healthy oral tissues
  • You don’t smoke
  • You are willing to commit to the process for months
  • You don’t like wearing (or you are unable to wear) dentures

 

Risks

Just like any surgery, dental implants also have some health risks. It is reassuring to know however that problems are rare and if they ever occur, they are usually minor and can be treated easily. Some of the risks include:

  • Infection of the site of the implant
  • Damage or injury to the surrounding structures (i.e. blood vessels, other teeth, etc.)
  • Nerve damage which results to tingling, pain, or numbness in the natural teeth, lips, chin, and gums.

 

Preparation

The planning process may involve several specialists including oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontist, and in some cases ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists.

Since dental implants will often require more than one procedure, a thorough evaluation process will be conducted. In line with this, the preparation process will typically involve the following:

Thorough dental exam. Dental X-rays and 3D images might be taken. Models of the teeth and jaw might also be made.

Medical history review. Your dentist might ask about any current and previous medical conditions you have as well as medications you’re currently taking. You might also be asked about over-the-counter medicines and supplements you are taking. If you have orthopaedic implants or a certain heart condition, antibiotics might be prescribed first prior to the surgery to help ensure infection is prevented.

Treatment plan. Tailored to the patient’s unique situation, the plan will take into account important factors like the number of teeth that needs replacement as well as the condition of both the remaining teeth and the jawbone.

Dr. Gerald Tan
drgeraldtan@gmail.com