How Sleep Apnea Can Endanger Your Dental Implant

30 November 2022
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


When preparing for your dental implant surgery, your dentist will ask about your medical history. It's not as though you'll deliberately hide anything from your dentist, but full disclosure is important. It may seem as though certain medical issues have no relevance to your upcoming dental implant surgery, but there can be unexpected links. How could obstructive sleep apnea affect a dental implant?

Stability and Functionality

Although your sleep apnea won't prevent the successful placement of dental implants, the ongoing stability and functionality of the implant could potentially be at risk. This relates to the involuntary behavior associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Changes to Breathing

Patients with obstructive sleep apnea have poor-quality sleep that's regularly interrupted. Your upper airway becomes obstructed, leading to reduced (shallow) breathing capacity, or pauses in breathing. These symptoms can prevent deep, restful sleep, and you may be awoken multiple times in the night. But how does this relate to a dental implant?

Bruxism and Sleep Apnea

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is often associated with sleep apnea. While asleep, your body instinctively reacts to the obstruction of your airways by attempting to keep them open. These attempts cause movement of your jaw, which results in your upper and lower sets of teeth grinding together. This is destructive to the dental enamel that forms the outer layer of natural teeth. Worryingly, it can also lead to the failure of a dental implant.

Bone Integration

Ongoing bruxism can destabilize a dental implant. You have a small titanium alloy screw in your jawbone, and this part of the implant is acting as a tooth root. The bone healed around the implant, anchoring it in the correct position. Essentially, the bone and implant have integrated. Excessive pressure on the prosthetic tooth attached to the implant can be directed downwards to the implant, which may begin to lose its integration with the bone. It will become loose and must be removed—and this experience won't be comfortable.

Dental Protection 

Bruxism in general isn't comfortable, and some people need extensive dental work to reverse the effects of all that grinding. To prevent damage to your natural teeth while also protecting your dental implant from failure, you'll need a night guard. This is a thermoplastic retainer that fits over your upper or lower set of teeth, preventing them from making direct contact with the opposing set. Your dentist can customize a night guard for you. The principle is remarkably simple, and the ultra-thin configuration of the guard is designed with comfort in mind.

Anyone with sleep apnea should wear a night guard to protect their dental implant from disaster. This simple dental appliance may make the difference between implant success and failure. 

For more info about dental implants, contact a local company.