Do Dental Implants Hurt? Possibly, But Not When You Think!

Apr 20, 2023
women holding her cheek where she is in pain
Despite their increasing popularity, many people still wonder, "Do dental implants hurt?" The short answer is most people experience some discomfort during the procedure, which, fortunately, is short-lived and easily managed. Read to learn more.

Dental implants are a popular solution for those who have lost teeth due to decay, injury or other reasons and are designed to look and feel like natural teeth.

They provide many benefits, including improved chewing ability, esthetics and speech; because of these factors, their popularity has exploded over the last decade. Some estimates suggest that by 2026, approximately 26% of the population may have at least one dental implant.

Despite their increasing popularity, one question many people ask is, "Do dental implants hurt?"

The short answer is that most patients experience discomfort at some stage of the procedure, but any pain is usually short-lived and manageable with over-the-counter medication. Typically discomfort subsides within a few days after the procedure.

To find out more, it's a good idea to look at what you can expect during and after a dental implant procedure. So let's start with the surgery itself.

Implant placement

Tooth implant surgery is the part of the procedure that most people are concerned about as it involves anchoring the titanium implant post down into the jawbone.

This is done by making a small incision through the gum and into the bone tissue beneath, where the implant is gently inserted into the jawbone.

So does implant surgery hurt?

In a word, no! And this surprises most people.

The insertion is carried out under local anesthesia to minimize discomfort, and in many cases, patients opt for conscious sedation to help them relax during treatment. Surgery typically takes between 20 minutes and 1 hour per implant depending upon the method of placement used.

Either way, the process is quick, and for those under conscious sedation, most don't even realize the procedure has occurred. Patients typically feel a little pressure as the implant is placed but shouldn't feel any pain during the surgery.

But what about after surgery? Do dental implants hurt, then?

Because a dental implant requires minor surgery, it (like most minor surgical procedures) may cause discomfort. However, any pain will differ from person to person depending upon several factors.

Let's take a closer look at what determines levels of discomfort:

Firstly, individual pain threshold

One primary factor determining pain is the individual's pain threshold. Some people have higher pain tolerance, while others are most sensitive. If you have a lower pain threshold, you may experience more discomfort for the first few days after dental implant surgery.

The complexity of the procedure

Another contributing factor affecting the discomfort level is the procedure's complexity. So, for example, a patient with straightforward implant placement is likely to feel less discomfort than in a process where several or more tooth implants are placed.

The type of procedure

The final factor that can influence the levels of discomfort patients face is the type of procedure itself.

For example, a computer-guided implant placement (where the surgeon drills a small pilot hole through the gum and into the jaw) will likely result in less discomfort than a conventional implant placement where the gum is cut and peeled back to expose the jawbone underneath.


Because the former requires no gum cutting and the latter does. Less cutting typically equates to less discomfort and speedier healing times.     

Managing discomfort after a dental implant procedure

As mentioned earlier, it's typical for patients to experience some discomfort after the event. Still, the good news is that there are many ways to manage pain after dental implant surgery. They include:

  1. Taking pain medication – Over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Aspirin can help to manage any discomfort you experience.
  2. Applying a cold compress – Applying a cold compress to the area can help bring out and reduce swelling.
  3. Rest – taking it easy for 3 -5 days after dental implant surgery is essential. Also, keeping the head elevated at 30-45 degrees can help heal and lessen pain. So where possible, support the head using a cushion or pillow.
  4. Follow your dentist's instructions – Your dentist will provide specific instructions for managing tooth implant pain, so it's essential to follow them. Instructions may include what to eat or drink, how to keep the implant site clean and infection-free, and when to take medication. Either way, following instructions can help you to heal quicker and experience less pain.

In conclusion

It's worth noting that most people report that any pain associated with dental implant surgery occurs after surgery and not during the event.  

Most discomfort is manageable and typically subsides within a few days. Moreover, many people can return to normal activities within a week of undergoing the procedure.

Talk to your local implant surgeon if you are considering dental implants but are concerned about dental implant pain. They can help you better understand what to expect and will develop a plan to help manage discomfort during and after the procedure.

Want to know more?

Book a free consultation with the team at Chesterfield Dentistry Today. Dr. Akinwande and her team are here to help you get the life-changing smile you deserve.


Photo attribution: image by jcomp on Freepik