For patients who grind their teeth at night, dental implants present a Catch-22 situation. The continuous pressure on the teeth from nightly grinding – known as bruxism – can mean that dental implants are required to fix damaged teeth. Unfortunately, teeth grinding is one of the reasons that dental implants can fail. For patients wondering if they will still be able to get dental implants if they suffer from bruxism, the simple answer is that only your dentist will be able to tell you this.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a common cause of dental problems in young people and adults. It often goes undiagnosed because it mostly affects people at night, so they might not be aware that they do it. If you often wake up with a tender jaw or sore teeth, it might be time to see a dentist to find out if you are clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth at night. Persistent bruxism can lead to problems with your teeth and jaws and may also give you headaches or an earache. It’s often linked to anxiety or stress symptoms, so you might not experience it all the time. If you’re unsure, it’s always worth visiting the dentist as they will be able to identify the tell-tale signs of bruxism.
For people with dental implants, bruxism can lead to implant failure due to the implant coming loose. The added pressure on the dental implant can cause it to fail for biological and mechanical reasons. This means it might be something to do with your body, or it might be something to do with your implant. Grinding your teeth can cause movement in the implant and can prevent it from fusing with your bone. Likewise, the grinding can result in the artificial tooth being fractured or the abutment coming loose from the implant.
Mouthguards or splints are available to help manage bruxism. These are worn at night and help to reduce the pressure on your teeth by providing a barrier between your upper and lower jaw. If your bruxism is linked to stress, there are also stress-relieving things you can try in order to stop the cause of bruxism rather than relieving the symptoms.