Teeth grinding can be detrimental to dental implants. In fact, it is one of the worst things and can actually cause the implant(s) to loosen and fail.
Our jaws can generate a tremendous amount of power. Typically we don’t use or need all that force to chew foods. Grinding of teeth is different than clenching. Grinding typical happens at night when you are asleep. Because you are asleep, you put much more force on your teeth than you would EVER do when you were awake. Grinding is the side to side, front to back gnashing of teeth. Clenching is tightly squeezing your jaws together for short times but is very intense.
Over 90% of patient that clench and or grind have no idea they do it! Most people have no symptoms. The teeth ground shorter and develop stress fractures and often break.
Grinding or clenching on implants usually causes the bone at the top of the implant to melt away. Porcelain teeth chip or fracture and dentures supported by implants are broken in half. Something has to give…it is either the implant in the bone or the teeth made on the implants.
Think about this. Grinding wears away enamel. Enamel is the hardest structure on the human body…it is harder than bone! If one can grind enamel away, you could easily break the implant teeth or cause bone loss.
It is important to have the bite checked routinely on your implants. If you or I suspect a grinding or clenching habit, I may recommend a device called a night guard. This device needs to be made a certain way. Avoid store bought night guards, as they can worsen the situation or easily damage the jaw joint.