Your natural teeth may be paying a heavy price if you suffer from teeth grinding. The constant wear and tear and excessive force can cause so much damage they eventually chip, crack and fall out. However, if the habit is not under control, the same fate awaits any implants you have to replace them. It’s a catch 22 situation. Therefore, you may well be asking yourself: Can I get dental implants if I grind my teeth?
The dental term for teeth grinding is bruxism, a condition characterized by forcefully moving teeth in a sideways motion against each other (grinding) or squeezing the top teeth against the bottom teeth (clenching). In many cases, it occurs unconsciously at night while you are sleeping. This common condition can affect up to one-third of adults during the day and more than one in ten during sleep. Common symptoms of teeth grinding include:
However, although grinding your teeth won’t make you an ideal candidate for dental implants, it doesn’t always automatically eliminate you from being considered for them.
The most important qualifying factors are sufficient bone density and gum tissue and not having an active oral infection.
While you may be able to have dental implants, bruxism increases the chances of implant failure. For the treatment to be successful, implants need to fuse to the jawbone in a process known as osseointegration. However, if there is too much pressure because of strong grinding and clenching forces, the implants won’t properly merge with the jawbone. They may shift and eventually fall out.
Also, constant grinding and clenching will wear down your implants just as they would your natural teeth. They won’t become infected or decay like regular teeth, but they can break and be knocked loose when put under pressure.
Among the complications are:
In some cases, it is possible to repair an implant without having to remove it. In other situations, a new implant may be needed as well as a bone graft to keep it in place.
Your dentist may insist that you commit to managing your teeth grinding before going ahead with your implant treatment. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to stop the habit and increase the chances of implant success.
Mouthguards are helpful to stop teeth grinding when you’re asleep. They cushion your teeth and prevent them from scraping against each other. You can purchase them over the counter or have one custom-made for you by your dentist. These protective shields can also help to reposition the jaw to discourage teeth grinding. A mouthguard will also protect your teeth if you continue to grind them while your dental implants are healing. Note that mouthguards do not treat the problem. They help prevent damage to your teeth.
For some people, teeth grinding is linked to stressful situations. Therefore, try to reduce stress to save your teeth from a pounding. Stress-busting techniques include:
According to some experts, smoking can cause tooth grinding as nicotine is a stimulant that can increase muscle activity, such as jaw clenching.
This approach uses equipment and monitoring procedures to teach you to control muscle activity in your jaw.
Muscle relaxers may sometimes be prescribed to help relax the jaw and prevent teeth grinding at night.
Each bruxism case is different, so it’s important to discuss your habit with your dentist in order to determine the most beneficial approach for you.
If you grind your teeth, managing your habit and getting it under control will increase your implants’ chances of success. The key is to seek treatment before and after the placement of your new teeth. Schedule a free consultation at Chesterfield Dentistry to learn more about getting dental implants as a teeth grinder. Call us on (314) 682-4587 or use our online booking form.