Bruxism, or unconscious teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching, is a common condition. People with bruxism may have a misalignment in their jaw, or they may be unusually stressed. No matter the cause of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, if you need tooth replacement and are interested in dental implants, you will need to seek treatment first. Find out how bruxism and dental implants are related, and what to ask your dentist if you’re interested in getting this tooth replacement.
How Bruxism Affects Dental Implants
Most people with bruxism grind their teeth at night, which means they may be unaware of the issue. This condition can cause soreness in the teeth and gums upon waking, worn down teeth, a clicking/popping jaw, and other noticeable symptoms. People with bruxism develop a far stronger bite than people without the condition, which makes sense because they are exercising this muscle all night long!
Unfortunately, repeatedly biting down on dental implants will greatly increase the risk for failure. Dental implants are tiny titanium posts that are surgically implanted beneath the gum line, where they fuse together with the bone over the period of 4 to 6 months. This healing period is crucial – and for people with bruxism, the process may never fully complete as a result of all the pressure put on the implant posts at night.
Possible Treatments for Bruxism
Seeking treatment for bruxism is crucial for promoting better oral health for years to come, and possibly even maintaining your remaining natural teeth. When you schedule an appointment with your dentist, they will discuss the following treatment options with you and help you determine which is best for your unique case:
- Custom-made night splint: This small device is made from acrylic and fits comfortably over the teeth, spreading the force from teeth grinding and clenching across all the teeth and, in this way, reducing the effects of bruxism.
- Orthodontic treatment: Sometimes, bruxism is brought on by a misalignment of the teeth. Orthodontics can help to straighten out the bite and potentially fix teeth grinding and clenching.
- Lifestyle changes: Often recommended in conjunction with professional treatment, certain stress-management techniques can help to reduce the incidence of unconscious teeth grinding and clenching. Meditation, yoga, and talk therapy can all help. Reducing caffeinated and/or alcoholic beverages before bedtime can also be crucial for treating bruxism.
Don’t Wait to Get Started
If you are missing teeth or on the verge of needing tooth replacement, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist. Even if you are dealing with bruxism, they can help you find a treatment that will protect your dental implants – so you can enjoy strong teeth and a healthy, complete smile for years to come!