Dental implants are a common way of replacing lost teeth; they are popular because they give patients a fixed rather than a removable denture. You may be keen to have implants rather than regular dentures on this basis. However, if your bruxism makes you grind your teeth a lot, then you may worry that you aren't a suitable patient for an implant. What do you need to know?
How Bruxism Affects Implants
While occasional tooth grinding may not do much damage, persistent grinding – either during the day or at night – can damage any of your teeth. This includes implants.
The pressure of grinding can wear down natural teeth and damage them. While implants are extremely strong, they can never be quite as strong as your natural teeth. So, if you grind your teeth a lot, then this grinding may damage the implant denture or make it fall off.
How Bruxism Is Affecting Your Teeth
You can get a good indication of whether implants may be a problem by asking your dentist to assess your teeth for bruxism damage. Don't worry if your dentist does spot problems – this doesn't mean that you can't have a successful implant. However, your dentist may want to try to get your bruxism under control or to minimise the damage it causes in the future before you have implant treatment.
How to Control Bruxism
Bruxism has various causes and can happen at various times of the day. For example, some people grind their teeth all the time; others only do it at night. Talk to your dentist about your bruxism; they may able to help you identify why you grind your teeth.
For example, your habit may be due to stress that makes you tense up and grind your teeth. If you have a sleep disorder, then interrupted breathing may also cause grinding. Some people have bruxism episodes after drinking alcohol or a lot of caffeinated drinks. Plus, some medications, like anti-depressants, are also linked to bruxism.
Sometimes, there isn't an obvious reason behind bruxism, especially if you only grind your teeth while you are asleep. If you and your dentist can't work out why you have this habit, then your dentist may recommend that you wear a special mouthguard at night to protect your teeth. This would make it easier for you to have an implant without worrying about whether it would be affected by your bruxism.