Can Bruxism Lead to Dental Implant Failure?

A smiling grey-haired man looking at the mirror

If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth, dental implants are a stable and exceptional treatment to consider. These artificial tooth roots can hold dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures in place as if they were natural tooth roots.

Many patients who come to our Bolingbrook practice wonder if dental implants are right for them. While many people can receive dental implants, there are dental health concerns that could prove problematic. One such issue is bruxism, which we’d like to explore below.

WHAT IS BRUXISM?

Bruxism is better known as teeth grinding. The condition involves the gnashing, shifting, clenching, and straining of the teeth when a person is asleep. People tend to grind their teeth because of excessive stress, poor dental alignment, or a side effect of various medications.

The most common problems caused by teeth grinding include sensitive teeth, gum recession, damage to tooth structure, and potential TMJ disorders. For people who have dental implants, the problems can be much more serious.

POTENTIAL FOR DENTAL IMPLANT FAILURE

After undergoing oral surgery to receive dental implants, there is a months-long healing process that one undergoes. This process involves the fusion of the dental implant with the jawbone and is known as osseointegration. Only when this process has been completed will the dental implants be ready to support an appliance.

If a patient grinds their teeth in the early months after oral surgery, this can potentially harm the dental implant during this crucial phase of treatment. The dental implant and jawbone may not fuse. If the teeth grinding does not cause outright failure, it may lead to a prolonged recovery time.

Even after osseointegration takes place, a serious case of bruxism can lead to problems with a dental implant. The teeth grinding can lead to issues with the jawbone or gum tissue, leading to implant failure later on, or serious issues with implant stability.

POTENTIAL DAMAGE TO DENTAL RESTORATIONS AND APPLIANCES

In addition to harming the dental implants and the bone and gum tissue around them, teeth grinding can also cause damage to dental appliances if patients aren’t careful. While new and more durable materials are being used to make dental appliances, even these materials may not be strong enough to deal with the strain caused by recurring bouts of teeth grinding.

CAN PEOPLE WITH BRUXISM STILL GET DENTAL IMPLANTS?

In some cases yes, though this has to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes a dentist may recommend treatment for bruxism prior to dental implants treatment. This will often involve the use of a bite guard to reduce the stress exerted on the teeth as well as other therapies to address the root cause of the teeth grinding (e.g., relaxation techniques, orthodontic treatment).

For some patients, dental implant treatment may not be ideal given the severity of their teeth grinding. Still, there may be solutions to consider to make implant dentistry a viable solution.

During the consultation process, we will go over all of your options for care so you can smile with renewed confidence.

LEARN MORE ABOUT ADVANCED DENTAL CARE PROBLEMS

To learn more about teeth grinding and other issues that can potentially affect the health of your dental implants or dental appliances, be sure to contact our oral surgery and advanced dentistry center today. Our team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you have a healthy and beautiful smile.

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