One Possible Cause of Dental Implant Failure: Bruxism

Every conventional dental prosthetic (i.e., dental bridge, partial denture, or full denture) is designed to replace the top portions, or crowns, of lost teeth. Relatively new in the world of restorative dentistry, dental implants are the only options for replacing the roots of your lost teeth. By mimicking tooth roots, dental implants allow your new, prosthetic teeth to look, feel, and function more like healthy, natural teeth. Your implants’ long-term success, however, depends on how well you treat and care for them, as Austin dentist, Dr. Holtzclaw explains. Dental implants can fail due to poor hygiene, or from certain habits, like bruxism, that undermine the support your implants are meant to provide.

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the clinical name for habitual teeth-grinding, which can prove destructive when done consistently. If you have bruxism, you unconsciously clench and grind your teeth, usually in your sleep, as well as during the day. The human bite, on average, can produce up to 200 pounds of pressure. While your teeth should be able to withstand the forces of biting and chewing, the consistent pressure and friction from bruxism can damage your teeth and your dental prosthetic, if applicable.

The Science of Dental Implants

Underneath your gums, the tooth roots extend into your jawbone, stabilizing your teeth to more efficiently absorb pressure. Dental implants are crafted from biocompatible titanium, allowing your jawbone to fuse to their surfaces and make the implants a permanent part of your anatomy. The process is known as osseointegration, and is the cornerstone of what makes dental implants so successful. The science of osseointegration, though, is a complex and delicate one, and the excessive force from bruxism can lead to dental implant failure.

Grinding Your Implants and Restorations

When your natural teeth are cracked or chipped, your cosmetic dentist can touchup your smile’s appearance with a minimally-invasive enhancement, like dental crowns or porcelain veneers. Dental implant restorations, which are typically made from porcelain, can’t be repaired and will require replacement if damaged by your bruxism habit. The jawbone surrounding the implant can also suffer damage from the continual grinding, sabotaging the process of osseointegration.

Stop Grinding, Enjoy Your Smile Longer

Before planning your dental implant placement, Dr. Holtzclaw will thoroughly inspect the state of your oral health. If he notices signs of bruxism, such as tooth damage, then he’ll recommend resolving the habit first to minimize the risk of dental implant failure. Depending on the nature and severity of your bruxism habit, treatment may include one or more the following;

  • Stress management techniques to alleviate stress and anxiety that may contribute to teeth-grinding
  • A customized mouthguard to protect your teeth and dental work from grinding while you sleep
  • Oral splints that help keep your jaw perfectly aligned, and comfortable, to reduce occurrences of grinding
  • Correcting misaligned teeth, if crooked teeth are contributing your bruxism.

Get the Most Out of Your Replacement Teeth

If you’ve recently lost teeth and wish to replace them, or if you’d like to learn how to upgrade your current dental prosthetic, then contact our office today to schedule a dental implant consultation with Dr. Dan Holtzclaw.


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Austin, TX

4010 Sandy Brook Dr. #204
Austin, TX 78665

San Antonio, TX

11515 Toepperwein Rd. #102
Live Oak, TX 78233


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