One of the greatest advantages of dental implants in Reston is in the way they emulate natural teeth in appearance and function. In some ways however, this can make implants susceptible to the same risks as an organic tooth, including the possibility of damage through bruxism (teeth grinding).
There are two ways to deal with this issue. One is to repair or replace the damaged implant. The second, and preferred, method is to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place by treating the tooth grinding itself.
HOW CAN BRUXISM HARM MY DENTAL HEALTH?
The human nervous system is responsible for keeping us alive from one moment to the next. But sometimes it can overreact, causing us to feel anxious or stressed out continually.
When this happens, our body may respond in a number of ways, not all of them healthy. Examples of what we mean include high blood pressure, stomach hyperacidity, and bruxism. This last condition can lead to the following problems:
- Increased risk for tooth decay: on the exterior of each tooth is a layer of enamel. Bruxism can damage this protective material, giving cavity-causing bacteria a chance to infect your teeth.
- Discomfort: teeth grinding can inflame the muscles and nerve fibers in your jaw, leading to pain or soreness.
- Tooth loss: bruxism can weaken the network of bones, nerves, and tissue that anchor your teeth into the bones beneath the gum line.
- Implant failure: this is caused by the same factors described above that lead to natural tooth loss. Implants rely on the integrity of the underlying bone for their resilience. Anything that threatens this system has the potential to affect implants.
TREATING BRUXISM AND THE PROBLEMS IT CAN CAUSE
The journey to enjoying a life free of teeth grinding and its consequences starts with a trip to your implant dentist in Reston. He or she will examine your teeth for signs of bruxism and suggest ways to deal with the problem. These may include any or all of the following:
- A custom mouthguard: these are not the generic mass-produced products you’ll find online or at local retailers. They’re made to fit your specific oral profile. By wearing it at night you can prevent many of the problems associated with bruxism.
- Implant repair or replacement: sometimes the effects of teeth grinding on implants are too advanced for preventative measures alone. In such cases, your dentist may recommend repairing or replacing the damaged implant. He or she may also suggest a different restoration approach entirely, depending on the condition of your jawbone and your overall health.
- Coaching tips: in many cases, bruxism is a symptom of a deeper problem, such as a nervous condition. Your dentist may suggest options such as systematic relaxation, limiting caffeine consumption, or attending a support group.
Don’t let teeth grinding make you miss out on the benefits of dental implants. Discuss your concerns with your dentist during your next appointment. You’ll soon be well on your way to a brighter smile and better days.
Dr. Wayne Myles is a skilled implant dentist who also designs custom mouthguards for his patients. He’s a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Northern Virginia Dental Society. You can contact our Reston dentist office online or by calling (703) 925-0800.