Bruxism is the formal name for teeth grinding, and it’s remarkably common. Sleep bruxism in particular is very prevalent, occurring in around 13% of adults. If you’re one of them, it may be a good idea to understand how it can affect other aspects of your oral health.
For example, dental implants are one of the most common tooth replacement options, favored for their durability and realistic feel. If you have bruxism, however, that could potentially interfere with the dental implant procedure. If you’re wondering how, here’s a little bit more information about why that might be.
How Can Bruxism Affect My Dental Implants?
Dental implants have an incredibly high rate of success; one study found that 95% of them will last at least 20 years, making them the most durable tooth replacement option that there is. However, it is possible for dental implants to fail, especially directly after the initial surgery.
Dental implants are secured to the jaw by a titanium post. Titanium is often used in implants due to its unique ability to fuse to the bone itself through a process known as osseointegration.
Your dental implant needs to remain relatively undisturbed in order to fuse to the bone properly. However, bruxism can put undue pressure on it, interfering with the process of osseointegration. In the worst cases, this can actually cause dental implant failure.
What Can Be Done About Bruxism?
There are two ways you can go about dealing with bruxism; your dentist can offer you treatment for the condition, or you can address the underlying risk factors that lead you to grind your teeth.
When you get dental implants, your dentist can give you a so-called night splint made from acrylic. This is an oral appliance that will fit comfortably over the upper or lower teeth, spreading out the pressure from bruxism. In this way, night splints can ease the tension your new dental implant is under.
Bruxism is also tied to certain lifestyle choices. Stress is the main one, but caffeine and smoking have also been connected to grinding teeth. If you want to protect your dental implants from the impacts of bruxism, cutting out these risk factors could potentially help.
Naturally, the most effective course of action is to try a combination of both of these treatment options. If you grind your teeth, let your dentist know before you get dental implants so that they can give you the help you need.
About the Author
Dr. Les Latner’s passion for dentistry has only gotten stronger since he began practicing in 1985. He has always endeavored to stay up-to-date on the latest in oral medicine. Dr. Latner graduated from the Washington University School of Dental Medicine. He’s also earned accreditation from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a mastership from the Academy of General Dentistry, making him one of only ten dentists worldwide to do both.
If you have any questions about bruxism and dental implants, he can be reached at his website or by phone at (310) 765-7441.