If you have dental implants, it is important that you do everything you can to protect your investment. Dental implants are easy to maintain, but just like your natural teeth, they do need proper care. Your implant won’t decay or become infected like a real tooth, but it can certainly break or even get knocked loose under certain pressures. Therefore, part of your dental implant care should be making sure you aren’t subjecting your teeth to these kinds of forces or pressures.
While we can’t predict or prevent a traumatic injury or accident that might damage a dental implant, we can protect our teeth from bruxism. Bruxism, also called teeth grinding, is often a subconscious habit that people engage in during times of stress. According to a recent Mouth Healthy article, “Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. A study in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that teeth grinding is also associated with alcohol and tobacco use. People who drink alcohol and smokers are approximately twice as likely to grind their teeth”.
Teeth grinding can occur in patients of all ages, regardless of whether or not they have dental implants. Unfortunately, teeth grinding can not only damage your natural teeth over time, but the habit can also compromise your valuable dental implants. It is most commonly a habit that is carried out during nighttime sleep. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to talk to you dentist about a custom nighttime mouthguard for teeth grinding.
While a mouthguard won’t stop the actual clenching or grinding movement of your jaw while you sleep, it can greatly minimize the negative effects on your teeth if you’re grinding every night. It can also save your dental implants from costly damage. Teeth grinding can cause your implant restoration to become fractured or loose. If severe, bruxism can also alter the alignment of your teeth and jaw, which may put excessive pressure on the dental implant below the gum line.
If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night and you have one or more dental implants in your smile, contact our implants dentist at Smiles by Seese. We want to protect your restorative dentistry investment by offering a custom-fit mouthguard. It is also important to know that if you had a mouthguard for teeth grinding before you got dental implants, you will likely need a new one now that your teeth and bite are different.