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Common Dental Issues & Solutions

Can Dental Implants Cause Headaches?

By 14 November 2023No Comments

Dental implants are one of the most popular dental treatments in Australia. This is because they offer numerous benefits, including cosmetic improvements, less pain and discomfort in the jaw, and a general increase in quality of life.

Despite the high success rate of dental implant procedures, headaches can be a side effect of the treatment. But that shouldn’t deter you from getting dental implants in Perth if you feel the benefits are worth it.

Can Dental Implants Cause Headaches?

Based on a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, a very small percentage (0.74%) of dental implant patients experienced nerve-related pain after their procedure. This pain, commonly known as post-traumatic trigeminal neuropathy (PTTN) pain, can manifest as sensations like pins and needles or burning.

Dental implants, by themselves, are not a direct cause of headaches. If you happen to have a headache after dental implants procedure, it is probable that one of the following factors may be responsible.

The Rarity of This Complication

In the study, only 5 out of 675 patients who had dental implant procedures between 2015 and 2020 (or approximately 0.74%) experienced neuropathic-like symptoms after the implant loading (i.e., after the placement of the crown or bridge). These symptoms were not directly caused by nerve damage during the surgical procedure but seemed to be triggered by the implant loading.

Causes of Headaches After Dental Implant Surgery

As mentioned above, dental implants themselves do not cause headaches. If you experience a headache after receiving dental implants, then one of the following is likely the cause of the issue:

Implant Loading

As the study suggests, the onset of pain during the dental implant procedure for some patients was after the implant loading (placement of the crown or bridge). This could indicate that the pressure or changes brought about by the loading process might irritate the surrounding tissues or nerves, leading to headaches.

Trigeminal Nerve Irritation

The trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensations in the face and mouth. Any disturbance or irritation to this nerve, even post-surgery, could lead to various symptoms, including headaches.

Inflammatory Response

The body’s natural response to any foreign object, including dental implants, is inflammation. This inflammation, especially if prolonged, can potentially lead to headaches.

Secondary Infections

While rare, any secondary infections or complications arising after the dental implant surgery but not directly because of the surgical procedure could lead to headaches.

Implant Misalignment

Placing an implant is a delicate job that requires accuracy and precise measurements. If your dental implant is incorrectly placed and ends up being misaligned, you could experience headaches.

This is because having misaligned teeth or implants can lead to an uneven bite. Having an uneven bite places more strain on your face and jaw muscles, leading to increased head pain.

Muscle Strain or Temporomandibular Joint Issues

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) problems can arise if an uneven bite persists for too long. Your TMJ acts as a sliding mechanism between your jaw and your skull bone. An uneven bite means that the TMJ may end up sliding imperfectly, which could lead to severe headaches.

This is predominantly a jaw issue that stems from your bite. An improper implant placement surgery could end up causing long-term TMJ issues.

How Do You Get Rid of a Dental Headache?

We have all experienced some sort of dental headache in the past, even if it stemmed from something small like tooth pain or a light gum infection. These kinds of headaches are the most painful out there! Here is how to gain some relief from a dental headache:

  • Avoid grinding your teeth whenever possible: Although most teeth grinding occurs while we sleep, it is helpful to be conscious during the day. Tooth grinding is one of the major causes of head pain around the world and only exacerbates dental headaches, especially after receiving an implant.
  • Get plenty of rest: People who have received dental implants suggest resting as much as possible post-surgery, especially if you suffer from headaches. According to this study, lack of proper sleep will also cause headaches to increase in severity.
  • Alternate between hot and cold sensations: Placing an ice pack on your temples and alternating that with a heating pad can help relax the muscles in that area. Try alternating between hot and cold while gently massaging your temples for maximum effectiveness.

When to Seek Medical Attention

The duration of any given implant headache is difficult to predict. Some people experience headaches for the first few hours after surgery, while some people suffer for a few days.

If your dental headache persists for more than ten days after your dental implant procedure, the symptoms are severe, constant, or recurring, then please contact Belmont Dental Surgery to get to the root cause of the issue.

Is It Common to Experience Headaches After Dental Implant Surgery?

Less than a quarter of patients experience headaches after dental implant surgery, and most people experience no side effects at all. As with any other surgical procedure, getting dental implants comes with its risks.

Headaches are more common when teeth in the upper jaw are replaced because the implant site may be quite close to, or even extend into, the sinus cavity. This can result in headaches and a range of sinus issues, including a shift in airflow, as well as sinus infections.

FAQs

1. What Other Problems Can Dental Implants Cause?

Alongside headaches, dental implants could cause a few other issues, including:

  • Damage to nearby and adjacent teeth
  • Sinus problems
  • Bleeding gums or gum recession
  • Allergic reactions to the titanium implant
  • Bad breath
  • Fevers

2. How Long Do Headaches Last After a Dental Implant?

Headaches triggered by dental implants vary from patient to patient. A common and non-severe dental headache might last for a day or two at the most. This is just as your gums, nerves, and jaw can adjust to surgery.

However, if you experience nerve damage, TMJ issues, or infection due to the implant, your headaches may feel more severe and last for an extended period of time.

3. What Are the Symptoms of Failed Implants?

Although it’s extremely uncommon, dental implant failure can occur. This happens when the implant fails to fuse (Osseointegrate) with the surrounding bone. These are the signs to look out for if you suspect that your implants have failed:

  • Severe and constant pain or discomfort
  • Gum recession around the implant (look for inflammation and an abnormally long implant crown)
  • Difficulty chewing and biting food
  • Loose implant, too much movement or shifting
  • Swollen gums

4. What Does a Dental Headache Feel Like?

The problem with identifying a dental headache is understanding if the pain is related to your teeth or another issue. Dental headaches, however, are particularly painful and bring about unique symptoms.

If you feel like your headache is producing pain behind your eyes or around your jaw, then it is likely that you’re experiencing a dental headache. The pain will be throbbing, and usually only on one side of your face – the side where the jaw is affected, or the implant is installed. Dental headaches can be confused with light migraines, so it’s a good idea to consult your dentist and rule out any dental issues.

Visit Belmont Dental Surgery for a Perfect Implant Experience!

As we’ve seen above, the most common reason for experiencing headaches after dental implant surgery is if there is a complication as a result of the procedure. This is why it’s incredibly important to receive your implant treatment from a team of expertly trained and experienced dentists.

The team at Belmont Dental Surgery aims to provide high-quality implant, general and cosmetic dentistry for every individual patient. We carry out various implant procedures along with a full range of general dental care and treatments, including:

  • Kids dentistry
  • Dental fillings
  • Fissure sealant
  • Implant-supported (implant-retained) dentures
  • Bone grafting
  • Teeth whitening
  • Composite and porcelain veneers
  • Dental crowns
  • Wisdom teeth removal

Reach us on our Contact page or call us at (08) 9277 3837

Dr. Kent Tan - Author Bio

Dr. Kent Tan is an elite dentist based in Perth, with an impressive educational background including a degree from the University of Queensland and a Diploma in Implant Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. His expertise, particularly in dental implants, is honed through extensive training, including a Master Clinician Programme in Los Angeles. Renowned for his exceptional skills and compassionate care, Dr. Tan performs up to 1000 dental implants annually, reflecting his commitment to excellence in oral health.