Dental Implants And Tooth Grinding - How You Can Reduce Overloading Concerns

16 September 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


If you have lost a single tooth, then you may want to have it replaced with a strong and natural looking device. Dental implants are a great choice as long as you are in good health both generally and orally. In fact, dental implants have a success rate of over 98%. You will need to do everything in your power to take care of your dental implant though, because the surgical placement process and the healing period afterwards can be painful and long. This means that you do not want to start the entire process over again, even if failure is not necessarily likely. One thing that can cause your dental implant to fail is tooth grinding, so learn how bruxism can affect your dental implant and also find out what you can do about it.

Tooth Grinding and Dental Implants

Placing too much pressure on your dental implant is called overloading, and overloading can result in the total failure of your implant device. Overloading is common when you grind your teeth. When you grind or clench the jaw, you exert around 600 pounds per square inch of pressure on the teeth. Regular bite pressure rarely exceeds 275 pounds per square inch.

Enamel is considered the strongest material in the body, and grinding pressure can easily cause chips and cracks across the natural teeth. Porcelain crowns, like the ones used with dental implants, are much more likely to break. Not only is this true, but grinding pressure can dislodge the bond between the titanium implant root and the jaw bone. The bone around the implant can also crack, and this will loosen the implant substantially, and removal may be necessary.

Bruxism Guards

If you have a dental implant and grind, then consider asking your dentist for a bruxism guard to wear at night. The professional can use a device to monitor the pressure in your mouth while you sleep so that the best guard can be made for you. If you have more than one dental implant and failure is a serious concern, then your dentist may suggest the completion of a sleep study where the most accurate jaw muscle and pressure readings can be obtained from both inside and outside the mouth.

Once your dentist understands how much pressure you place on the teeth at night, impressions will be taken of your mouth so a custom and form fitting device can be made. If your tooth grinding is considered severe or if your dental professional is concerned about the way the pressure may affect your dental implant, then an acrylic guard will be made that fits over the top set of teeth. The guard will generally be made so it is two or three millimeters thick. This will keep the jaw from closing as tightly. Even if the jaw tightens, the thick acrylic will keep the teeth from meeting and forcing pressure against each other.

Establish a Nighttime Routine

Most people will grind their teeth at night due to stress. This may mean that you need to try to reduce the effects of your stress at night to calm your body and stop grinding. Start the calming regimen by reducing your intake of caffeine for several hours before you go to bed. Coffee, tea, and soda contain caffeine, but so do chocolate, some pain relievers, and energy drinks. Drink water in the evening instead of caffeinated beverages and think about consuming some caffeine-free chamomile or peppermint tea. 

Use a warm washcloth to soothe the jaw muscles for 15 or 20 minutes before bedtime, and also spread a few drops of relaxing lavender essential oil underneath your nose. Consider playing classical music in your bedroom while you doze, too. This type of music played at a low volume can reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, and reduce your heart rate. All of these things can help to reduce the amount of jaw clenching and tooth grinding that you experience at night. Click here for more information.