Bruxism is a condition that occurs when you grind or clench your teeth frequently, whether during the day or at night. Bruxism can do tremendous damage to your teeth as the extreme forces you place on your teeth when you grind and clench them can rapidly wear away the enamel and push them into your gums, causing your gums to recede.
If you have bruxism, you may be wondering if you can get dental implants. Thankfully, you can. However, there are a few special considerations you need to be aware of. Read on for more information about dental implants and bruxism.
Does Bruxism Harm Dental Implants?
Yes, grinding and clenching your teeth will cause damage to dental implants. Even though implants are made of materials that are much more durable than your natural teeth, they're actually more susceptible to the great amount of force that bruxism places on them.
The reason behind this is that the roots of your natural teeth have a fleshy layer surrounding them called the periodontal membrane. The periodontal membrane has a slight amount of give to it, which helps absorb some of the force of bruxism and transmits it towards your jawbone and your gums.
Dental implants don't have this periodontal membrane. The implant is attached to your jawbone by a titanium post that integrates with your natural bone. When you grind or clench your teeth, all of the force is applied to that titanium post. To make it worse, severe bruxism actually strengthens your jaw muscles since they're being used so often. This leads to a much stronger bite than normal, which causes even more force to be applied to the implant's post. Over time, the post begins to fatigue and becomes more susceptible to breaking or becoming loose.
Thankfully, there are ways to overcome this problem.
How Do Dentists Protect Dental Implants From Bruxism?
First, your implant's post will be constructed of titanium alloy, which is the strongest material available for implants. This helps it withstand more force. You can also choose to use a crown made of zirconia for your implant, which is the strongest material available. However, these crowns are a very bright white color that may not match well with your natural teeth so you'll have to choose between durability and aesthetics.
Second, you'll be asked to wear a specially-constructed bite guard at night. The bite guard spreads the force of grinding and clenching teeth over the entirety of your mouth, ensuring that no one tooth is subjected to too much pressure. Additionally, it prevents the enameled surfaces of your teeth from making contact with one another, preventing enamel from being worn away.
Many people who have bruxism are prescribed these special bite guards, but dentists go one step further when you have an implant. The bite guard will be specially designed to protect your implant and spread more of the biting force onto your natural teeth, which are much better able to withstand it.
These approaches combined can help your implant withstand bruxism, reducing the risk that your implant will fail early.
There's no reason to worry about having bruxism when you're considering dental implants. You need to keep in mind, however, that it's very important to tell your dentist that you have it. If you're not sure whether or not you're grinding your teeth at night, ask the dentist to examine your teeth at your appointment with dental implant services. It's important to find out in order to ensure that your dentist takes the correct steps to protect your implant.