Most patients are good candidates for dental implants. Generally speaking, if you’re healthy enough for a tooth extraction, filling or other routine dental procedure, you are healthy enough for implant surgery.
But what if you have bruxism?
If you grind or clench your teeth when you sleep, will you have to choose an alternate method of tooth replacement?
Although the procedure may present some additional challenges, you can have dental implants if you also have bruxism.
How Bruxism Affects Dental Implants
The success of implant surgery depends upon osseointegration, the process by which the artificial replacement tooth roots fuse to the jawbone. Osseointegration is gradual —fusion isn’t complete for several months.
During this time, you should avoid putting your teeth under excessive pressure. Repeatedly gnashing and grinding the teeth during the osseointegration process can increase the risk of implant failure.
The effects of bruxism on implants are compounded by the lack of a periodontal membrane. Natural teeth have a more compressible dental structure, making them more resilient to pressure.
Bruxism Treatments for Implant Surgery Patients
Dental implants require a strong base of bone tissue in the jaw for support. If you suffer from bone loss, you’ll need a graft or a transplant of new tissue before getting implant surgery.
For patients with bruxism, bone grafting is often used as a measure to provide adequate strength to the jaw. Bone augmentation may not always be necessary, but it is given consideration.
Oral surgeons also typically recommend that bruxism patients wear custom-made acrylic occlusal splints (bite guards) over the top or bottom teeth. Wearing one of these appliances at night works to spread the grinding pressure over the entire dental arch. This reduces the amount of pressure placed on the implants and helps to protect them against failure.
Designing Dental Implants for Longevity
Once osseointegration has been achieved, patients with bruxism still must be careful. You will have to avoid putting excessive pressure on the replacement teeth if you want your implants to have a long life span.
For that reason, oral surgeons take great care in designing the implants for bruxism patients. Choosing the correct thread for the titanium screws is important because creating a larger surface area can help absorb and mitigate the grinding and clenching pressure.
In addition, oral surgeons often use narrow tooth restorations that fit nearly entirely over the replacement tooth roots. This distributes bite forces more evenly through the titanium posts, reducing the chance of implant failure and bone loss.
With the right design and treatment procedures, implant surgery can be highly successful for patients with bruxism. The oral surgeons of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah have extensive training, qualifications and experience in tooth replacement for all types of patients. Contact one of our three convenient Salt Lake City area offices today to schedule a consultation for dental implants.