If you plan to get multiple dental implants in a couple of weeks to replace several missing back teeth, but you clench your jaws and grind your teeth during the night, you may wonder if there's anything you can do to stop the habit. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding, also called bruxism, are two of the most common problems adults may experience with their teeth and jaws. Both problems may place your dental implants at risk because of how they affect the rest of your teeth and the condition of your jawbones. Because dentists place dental implants inside the jawbones, it's essential that you protect your teeth and jaws from the harmful effects of bruxism. Here's how bruxism develops and what you can do to stop or reduce it before your implant surgery.
Why Do You Clench Your Jaws and Grind Your Teeth at Night?
According to the Mayo Clinic, bruxism can occur during the day or night. When it occurs at night, bruxism is considered a sleep disorder. In most cases, you may have other sleep disorders that accompany your bruxism, such as sleep apnea, which affects how you breathe at night.
In addition, the symptoms of bruxism may create problems with your overall health. When you grind your teeth, you forcibly move your upper teeth back and forth over your lower teeth. The action may damage the surfaces of your teeth, as well as push your teeth and jaws out of alignment. Misaligned teeth may cause a number of problems, including pain. If the pain spreads to your face and head, it may create issues for you during the day when you work or attend school, especially if your pain interferes with your ability to concentrate or speak.
The tension in the muscles of your jaws may spread to your neck and shoulders and cause stiffness in these body areas. Some people experience muscle weakness and joint problems in their jaws when they clench and grind their teeth. If you develop these symptoms, you may have problems opening and closing your mouth properly.
In some cases, your stress and anxiety levels increase from the problems you experience from bruxism. Anxiety and the symptoms mentioned above may interfere with your dental implant surgery after you have it.
Will Bruxism Affect Your Dental Implants?
Bruxism and its symptoms may have profound effects on your dental implants once you get them. Clenching your teeth and jaws together may place undue stress and strain on your natural teeth and dental implants. If steps aren't taken to prevent these issues before and after your implant surgery, your implants may fail to bond with your jawbones.
Your jawbones need time to heal after surgery in a process called osseointegration. During osseointegration, the tissues of your jawbones grow around your implants, which helps the implants stay in place. Bruxism may interfere with the bonding process if it causes bone loss in the implant sites. The force placed on your implants and their crowns may break or crack them.
A dentist may do several things to ensure that your implant surgery and healing succeed. One of the things a dentist might do is prescribe a special device called a dental guard to you. A dental guard separates your upper teeth from your lower teeth so that they don't rub together at night. Depending on the type of guard you use, it may have a soft core placed inside it to prevent stress on your teeth during bruxism. You wear the guard every night to protect your natural teeth and implants.
You may also choose to see a specialist about your bruxism and possible sleep disorder to help protect your dental implants. A specialist may provide you with a special breathing machine to help you rest better during the night. Also, speak to your doctor or a dentist about managing your stress and anxiety levels. These professionals may refer you to a specialist who can teach you how to manage your stress and anxiety levels constructively. Taking steps to prevent the triggers or problems that cause your bruxism may keep your dental implants from failing.
If you would like to learn more about dental implants and bruxism, contact a dentist today at a clinic like Gordon Dental.