Dental Implants And Grinding Your Teeth: Is It A Problem?
A dental implant is designed to withstand the same amount of pressure as a natural tooth. However, it's important to remember that however seamless the implant might look and perform, it's not a natural tooth. The tooth itself is prosthetic, and its supporting structure is primarily metal. So what happens when you need a dental implant but also grind your teeth? Will this endanger your implant?
Grinding your teeth (or bruxism, to use the more formal classification) shouldn't prevent you from receiving a dental implant to fill that gap in your smile, but it can lead to some additional complications while the implant heals, and in the subsequent years once the implant has been finalized. A prosthetic tooth can be more durable than a natural tooth, so you might not be worried about grinding your teeth.
The issue is that years of grinding and the consequent pressure on your teeth can begin to loosen the implant, even leading to implant failure. The marginal bone height around the implant can alter as it's subjected to this excessive pressure, which leads to the eventual destabilization and loss of the implant. So what can a grinder do when they need an implant?
Your dentist will provide you with a number of different solutions that can cater the implant to your specific needs, while also taking the necessary steps to reduce (and ideally, eliminate) your grinding. For some people, it can be as simple as wearing a nightguard, which is a type of retainer designed to be worn while you sleep. This is a heat-cured plastic retainer that slips over your upper or lower set of teeth, protecting your teeth (and the implant) from being subjected to excessive pressure while you sleep.
Additionally, your dentist can tailor the implant to your specific needs. For example, instead of using a porcelain prosthetic tooth to finish the implant, your dentist might recommend a zirconia implant, which is less likely to damage the opposing upper or lower tooth when they're ground together. It might even be possible to add a layer of transparent acrylic resin to the top of the prosthetic tooth, which acts as a shock absorber. These topical solutions can be highly effective, but the underlying cause of your bruxism should also be addressed. You might be a candidate for muscle relaxant medication, which will greatly reduce your overnight grinding.
Your grinding should not stop you from getting a dental implant, but the additional complications arising from your grinding will need to be addressed to make sure your implant is successful. For more information about dental implants, contact a local dentist.