Before you commit to replacing your teeth with dental implants, it’s important to be aware of the risk factors that can potentially lead to complications. One of the more common causes of implant failure is bruxism, a condition that can have serious implications for oral health if it isn’t dealt with. How exactly does bruxism put dental implants at risk? And is it okay for you to go forward with the implant process if you’ve already been diagnosed with bruxism? Here’s what you need to know.
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for involuntarily grinding or clenching your teeth. The exact cause isn’t completely clear, but it’s usually linked to stress, misalignment problems, and missing teeth. It can occur voluntarily during the day, but some patients might suffer from it at night, which can make it harder to control. When left alone, bruxism can significantly wear down your teeth, eventually leading to cracks and other kinds of damage.
How Can Bruxism Lead to Dental Implant Failure?
While bruxism is already a threat to your overall oral health, it can be particularly problematic if you’ve just had dental implants placed. It takes several months for implant posts to fuse with your jawbone, which is a process called osseointegration. If the implants are exposed to too much pressure during this time, it can disrupt osseointegration or stop it from happening altogether. Since bruxism regularly exposes implants and natural teeth to more pressure than they’d normally have to endure, it can very easily lead to implant failure if you don’t do anything to address it.
Can You Still Get Implants If You Have Bruxism?
Despite the increased risk of complications, bruxism does not necessarily disqualify you from getting dental implants. As long as your gums and jaw are still healthy enough to support implant posts, you should be able to undergo implant surgery without any problems. The main concern will therefore be whether you can protect your implants from the effects of bruxism once they’ve been placed in your jaw.
The most reliable way to keep your implants (and the rest of your teeth) safe from clenching and grinding is to wear a customized mouthguard. By placing this simple oral appliance in your mouth every night, you can stop the upper and lower rows of teeth from making direct contact with each other. This significantly diminishes the amount of pressure your implants will be exposed to at night.
In short, while bruxism needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, it doesn’t have to stand between you and your new smile. When you visit your dentist for a dental implant consultation, let them know if you think you might have bruxism; they can help you find the best way to keep your new teeth undamaged.
About the Author
Dr. Darren Koch has been working as a dentist for over 17 years and is proud to be able to offer his patients in Cary a wide range of general and cosmetic services. Not only can he restore dental implants with lifelike crowns and other restorations, but he can also provide mouthguards for those who are suffering from nighttime teeth grinding. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Koch to learn more about implants or bruxism, visit his website or call (919) 859-6633.