If you suffer from bruxism, or teeth grinding, you may wonder if that is a contraindication for a dental implant. Every patient is different, so you'll have to reach out to your dentist, but bruxism is the leading cause of implant fracture since teeth grinding can place excess pressure on the restoration. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your success rates so that you can enjoy your new implant; speak with your dentist and keep the following tips in mind.
Get a Wider Implant
There are a number of different implant brands and styles that you and your dentist can choose from depending on your budget, medical history, and other factors. If you know that you suffer from bruxism, it's important that you let your dentist know since he or she could opt for a wider implant base. When an implant is wider, there is more surface area for excess pressure to dissipate. In fact, Dentistry Today says that implant width is more important than length for fixation.
Get Fitted with a Custom Mouthguard
If you have not been fitted with a mouthguard, now's a good time to talk to your dentist about this appliance. Custom mouthguards are made from thermoplastics that are more durable than over-the-counter ones, and they are more comfortable to wear since they are made from impressions. While a mouthguard may not alleviate all of the grinding pressure on a restoration, it can help protect the implant from premature wear and fractures. Without a mouthguard, bruxism can wear down enamel cusps, so not only are you protecting your implant, but you are protecting your surrounding teeth.
Get the Right Material for Your False Tooth
Dental implants have three main parts: the implant post beneath the gum line, the false tooth, and the abutment which connects the false tooth to the implant. Your dentist can help you choose the right restorative material for the false tooth. For instance, people with bruxism should consider ceramic or gold over resins. For posterior teeth, solid zirconia can be a good option since it can withstand pressure from opposing teeth. Layered zirconia is a little less durable than solid zirconia, but it is still a strong material and can be a good choice for anterior teeth aesthetics since it is more translucent.
Treat the Root Cause of Your Bruxism
While bruxism can be caused by stress, it is sometimes a side effect of medications and health disorders. For instance, some anti-depressants may cause bruxism as a side effect, and some conditions, like gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can cause bruxism. You may want to work with your doctor and dentist to see if you can explore alternative medications to reduce this specific side effect. If your bruxism is caused by sleep apnea, you may want to use a CPAP since that can alleviate some or all of your symptoms. While your bruxism may not vanish, you may be able to decrease its frequency, which could extend the lifespan of your implant.
As you can see, while getting a dental implant can be tricky if you have bruxism, there are ways to improve this situation. Reach out to a dentist in your area for more details about dental implant solutions.