Clenching Teeth: Am I still a candidate for dental implants?

For most patients, dental implants are the most ideal choice for tooth replacement. No other method of tooth replacement offers the stability, comfort, and health benefits of the implant.

Though the success rate of the dental implant continues to hover near 98%, it is critical that underlying health conditions be uncovered and addressed in order to realize long-term success. Openly and honestly communicating with your oral surgeon prior to your implant procedure is the best way to identify and assess these risks. With proper treatment, there are few conditions that can prevent you from attaining dental implants.

Bruxism, the habit of clenching and grinding the teeth together, can have a negative effect on the success of your dental implants. The excessive forces of bruxism can prevent your implants from healing properly during the early phases of treatment. Implant dentistry relies on a strong fusion between the jaw bone and the implant post, similar to the relationship between a natural tooth root and the bone. Neither the implant nor the natural tooth roots are designed to tolerate the extreme forces generated during bruxism.

Even after your implants have healed, bruxism can lead to irreversible bone loss and damage to your natural teeth as well as your dental implants.

Most often, clenching and grinding occurs involuntarily during sleep. In fact, many patients are unaware that bruxism is occurring at all. Headache and jaw pain upon waking in the morning may be the earliest indicating factors. In advanced cases, patients may actually wake to find themselves clenching, or damage to the teeth and gums may be detected.

Your oral surgeon may suggest a conservative solution such as a protective mouthguard to be worn during and after the implant procedure. The guard is used to prevent the destructive forces of clenching to your teeth, gums, and jaw bone. In regard to the dental implant, the guard should also be viewed as means of protecting your investment in your health.

Contact Dallas Oral Surgery Associates to learn more and to schedule your consultation.