OVERVIEW OF WEARING A DENTAL MOUTH GUARD WITH TOOTH IMPLANTS
Dental implants are a cutting-edge dental treatment that replaces lost teeth with a permanently attached tooth to your jaw. A dental implant is a prosthetic tooth surgically implanted into the jaw to support a replacement tooth or bridge. Implants feel and look natural, and they operate just like real teeth once the procedure is completed. Dental implants have transformed modern dentistry. It is said to be the most significant and most effective approach to get a natural-looking and long-lasting and durable alternative to removable dentures or fixed bridges that don't fit well and frequently fail to give acceptable facial aesthetics.
Dental implants have gained immense popularity among people seeking replacement of missing teeth due to the several benefits. They are not only a fixed and permanent solution but also look and feel incredibly like natural teeth. In addition, though expensive, dental implants are sturdy and highly durable, hence supposed to last you a lifetime if taken proper care of. However, the longevity of implants in your mouth is subjected to factors like specific abnormal forces that may cause damage to your implants. Clenching or grinding habit, known as bruxism, is one of the most common sources of such damage. As a result, it's critical to keep your priceless implants safe from harm to extend their life. This can help you maintain your dental health and reduce the amount of extra dentistry you'll require in the future.
WHAT IS BRUXISM
Bruxism is an unconscious habit of grinding one's teeth at night that affects millions of individuals every year. Most people who grind their teeth do so during sleep or in response to increased stress levels.1
Occasional teeth grinding may not cause concerns, but a long-term, consistent grinding habit, may lead to many issues. There may be loss of tooth enamel, broken teeth, sore muscles, gum problems, early morning headaches, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, inflammation of the jaw due to clenching, chronic grinding, facial pain, loss of sleep, and in severe cases, loss of teeth.1
Most people who grind their teeth while they're asleep are unaware of it unless they are informed by a parent or bed partner or if their dentist notices signs of wear on their teeth. Clenching or grinding your teeth during sleep is very common among children and adults. So to protect your teeth, it is essential to break the habit of bruxism. Mouthguards safeguard your teeth by covering and covering the surfaces of your teeth. They also assist in reducing the intensity of teeth grinding by forming a barrier between the surfaces of the teeth. When you clench your teeth, the night guard helps relieve stress and cushion the muscles in your jaw. This cushioning aids in the prevention of face discomfort. 2
POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGE
The jaws can create extreme pressures during clenching or grinding while sleeping, leading to overuse of the jaw muscles, resulting in morning jaw discomfort or tiredness, as well as jaw dysfunction. While dental implants are strong and able to withstand the usual forces of eating and biting, tooth grinding forces can cause them to be damaged. The repeated and intense force damages the tooth attachment and the implanted post.3 It might be challenging to identify nighttime bruxism. Many individuals are completely unaware of their aberrant behavior and show no symptoms of muscular soreness.4 While the typical biting force ranges from 45 to 550 psi, a patient with a history of bruxism can generate forces as much as 990 psi. 5 These abnormally high forces affect the osseointegration of the implants with the jaw bone. This affects the adhesion of the implant to the bone. Thus a constant grinding habit may make the implants mobile and weak. A long-term grinding habit also leads to damaged jawbone tissue that has a harder time accepting the titanium material. Because of these variations in bite force and reduced tactile sense, the importance of the mouth guard needs to be understood.
ARE MOUTH GUARDS NECESSARY AFTER DENTAL IMPLANTS?
Because dental implants are so expensive, you should make every effort to safeguard them. Unfortunately, dental implant prostheses are more prone to damage than natural teeth, despite their hefty price tag. Once your dental implants are placed, you'll need a new mouth guard to fit your new bite.6
Daily teeth clenching or nocturnal teeth grinding damage implants justify the need for a night guard in patients with implants. Repeated pressure, grinding, and stress can damage your natural teeth over time, and the same can happen to your implants. If you thought your dental implants were expensive when you first got them, you wouldn’t be pleased with the expense of implant restoration when they fail. Even if you think you've got your bruxism under control with various therapies, you should still use a dental night guard to protect your dental implants. Your dentist will likely recommend a custom-fitted mouth guard to protect your teeth after diagnosing you with bruxism. Worry not; wearing a custom-made mouth guard is safe. These night guards are removable appliances, and no treatment is performed directly on your teeth. Wearing them regularly at night can help break the bruxism habit and protect your teeth’ surface.6, 7
However, it is imperative to replace the guard regularly to avoid it wearing down and allowing forces to pass to your natural teeth and implants.
HOW DO MOUTH GUARDS PROTECT YOUR IMPLANTS?
Teeth grinding mouth guards cushion your teeth and protect them from the force of clenching and prevent bruxism, preventing headaches, attrited teeth, and inflamed gums. They work by putting a barrier between your teeth and stop their grinding. In addition, it helps the jaw relax, which reduces the instances of clenching or grinding teeth. This reduces the aberrant forces exerted on your implants and allows them to integrate into the jaw bone.
TYPES OF TEETH MOUTH GUARDS
Dental mouth guards or night guards are dental appliances covering your teeth that your doctor provides for bruxism. They can also aid in relieving obstructive sleep apnea. All night guards are not, and there are varieties of mouth guards, depending on your needs.
Stock night guards/mouth protectors
These are preformed and ready to wear. Unfortunately, though cheap and readily available, they are bulky and do not provide a good fit.
Boil-and-bite mouth guards
Over-the-counter occlusal guards are available at most pharmacies. First, you need to boil it to soften it, and then gently bite it to shape it to your mouth.
Customized mouth guards
These are also called occlusal guards. Custom-made occlusal guards are fabricated by taking dental impressions and creating models out of them to custom fit your mouth. This ensures a far better fit than stock or boil-and-bite mouth guards, making them more comfortable and challenging to remove unintentionally while sleeping.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT NIGHT GUARD FOR IMPLANTS
- Teeth grinding and clenching are symptoms of bruxism, which harm your teeth and orofacial structures. In addition, the grinding forces can cause implant failure. Wearing a mouth guard while sleeping can help keep your upper and lower teeth apart so that the grinding forces cannot affect them.
- Stock mouth guards are challenging to keep in position and unpleasant, making sleeping difficult. While boil-and-bite mouth guards are more comfortable, they grow brittle and weak with time.
- A custom-made mouth guard is your best option if you grind your teeth during sleep. In addition, if you have dental implants in your mouth, custom night guards will be fabricated to accommodate your dental implants in them so that they provide a good fit and protect the implants from grinding forces.
- When choosing a custom night guard, make sure your teeth grinding mouth guard is comfortable, durable, tear-resistant, and easy to clean.
HOW ARE MOUTHGUARDS PREPARED?
Fabrication of mouth guards requires two steps.
The first step is to make an impression. Commercially available night guards differ from those created by a dentist because custom-made night guards are tailored to the patient's exact specifications. This is made feasible by obtaining a mouth imprint. Next, a negative duplicate of the upper and lower teeth is obtained to make a plaster cast. Finally, the dental laboratory uses the cast, also known as the model cast or mold, to create the personalized night guard.
Fabrication of the Night Guard is the second step. The dental mold is crucial in the fabrication of the night guard. The material (soft, dual laminate, or hard acrylic) is molded around the mold to provide an exact fit between the upper and lower teeth. Either the upper or lower teeth can be fitted with a teeth night guard. The mold is used to verify how the night guard fits and how the bite comes together once it has been manufactured. If required, minor changes are performed.
The night guards are provided to the patients with suitable wear and care instructions as soon as they are completed. It comes with a case in which they may be stored while not in use. There is a minimal discrepancy because the night guards are manufactured from the cast formed from the dental impression. They should fit snugly and comfortably, and the arch should be sturdy. It should not rock or press against any area of the mouth, causing pain or discomfort.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR MOUTH GUARDS
It is vital to follow the instructions provided to you about the usage of dental night guards and wear them at night regularly.
Cleaning your night guard properly may seem daunting at first, but once you get into the swing of things, it will be a snap! The optimal cleaning schedule is a blend of easy everyday cleaning and thorough weekly cleaning. Proper cleaning and care will keep bacteria at bay and extend the life of your mouth guard, allowing you to enjoy it for many years to come!
In the morning, rinse your teeth night guard with water and brush it with toothpaste. This will get rid of any dirt or plaque that has accumulated. Keep your mouth guard in a clean perforated case when not in use to keep it safe from dust mites and pets. This allows for air circulation and aids in the prevention of damage. Also, remember to clean your storage case regularly with soap and water. To avoid altering the mouth guard's form, keep it away from extreme temperatures like hot water, heated surfaces, or direct sunlight. Check the mouth guard for general wear regularly. Replace it if it develops holes or rips or if it gets loose or causes discomfort.
WEEKLY DEEP CLEANING:
Deep cleaning your professional dental guard using a professional night guard cleaner at least once a week is a great habit to get into. This helps in thoroughly cleaning and destroying the germs and bacteria and eliminating odor. As a result, several bacterial infections are destroyed, including Candida Albicans, the cause of oral thrush, keeping your guards infection-free.
USING A MOUTH GUARD WHILE SLEEPING
You might be concerned about the distraction of sleeping with a foreign appliance in your mouth at this stage. It's a lesson in patience, like everything new. Wearing your teeth grinding mouth guard every night for at least a month is essential to make it a habit. If you've tried wearing your mouth guard, but it's too painful or doesn't fit properly, don't be afraid to tell your dentist about it. They can diagnose the issue, correct it, and get you back on the path to normal wear.
You’ll need a night guard if you have implants and a bruxism habit, but it doesn't have to be expensive. You can safeguard your smile, decrease bruxism symptoms, and visit the dentist less frequently by simply wearing this dental device on your teeth every night.
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1. Tooth clenching or grinding. American Academy of Oral Medicine. http://www.aaom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=129:tooth-clenching-or-grinding&catid=22:patient-condition-information&Itemid=120. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
2. Tooth clenching or grinding. American Academy of Oral Medicine. http://www.aaom.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=129:tooth-clenching-or- grinding&catid=22:patient-condition-information&Itemid=120. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
3. TOOTH GRINDING AND DENTAL IMPLANTS: A CHALLENGING COMBINATION. http://www.carlinopatondds.com/tooth-grinding-and-dental-implants-a-challenging-combination (2018).
4. Thorpy, M. International Classification of Sleep Disorders. Sleep Disorders Medicine 475–484 (2017) doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-6578-6_27.
5. Gibbs, C. H., Mahan, P. E., Mauderli, A., Lundeen, H. C. & Walsh, E. K. Limits of human bite strength. J. Prosthet. Dent. 56, 226–229 (1986).
6. Frequently Asked Questions. https://www.aaid-implant.org/faqs/ (2021).
7. Who Uses Mouth Guards and Why? https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/mouth-guards.
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