Are Dental Implants the Wrong Choice for Sleep Apnea Sufferers?
It's probably fair to say that no-one ever aspires to end up wearing dentures. In fact, avoidance of them is one of the biggest reasons that some people finally get a little more serious about looking after the teeth they have. Sometimes however the damage is unavoidable. This can be especially true for people who suffer from sleep apnea, as one of the complications that often comes along with that bothersome condition is something called sleep bruxism.
What is Sleep Bruxism?
Sleep bruxism is the 'proper' term for the sleep disorder involving the habit of clenching and grinding your teeth as you sleep. Although it can be a standalone condition many people who do grind their teeth also suffer from other sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea, a condition which causes pauses in breathing.
If a person does grind their teeth at night sadly, over the years, it can cause significant damage to the teeth, sometimes so much so that a tooth is damaged beyond repair, which is why it's not uncommon for those who suffer from sleep bruxism to end up needing partial dentures, or as is becoming more common, a dental implant.
Sleep Bruxism and Dental Implants
As an alternative to dentures or partial dentures, dental implants are quickly gaining popularity, and for lots of good reasons. Implants are permanent replacements, look more natural than even the best dentures and, obviously, make it easier to eat, drink, and smile with confidence than dentures might. They also seem like they would be the perfect solution for those who lose teeth due to sleep bruxism, but some recent studies have found that may not be the case.
Researchers from OSI Araba University Hospital in Victoria, Spain were conducting a study to determine if the most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, affected the proper function and longevity of dental implants. They worked with a group of 67 people, some of whom had been diagnosed with OSA and some who had not. Of the 16 people in the study who eventually experienced complications with their dental implants 13 also suffered from obstructive sleep apnea, seeming to indicate that the damage to the implants might be directly related to OSA.
Implants, Sleep Apnea and Your Dentist
It should be noted that the study we have just mentioned was a small one and that more work needs to be done before assuming that for those who suffer from OSA dental implants are not the right solution for them.
When dealing with sleep bruxism, sleep apnea and trying to prevent possible tooth damage before dental implants are ever needed it's common wisdom that patients should work with both their doctor and their dentist to come up with a proper treatment and dental health plan. This allows patients to receive the best possible care to address both conditions.
With the right treatments, sleep apnea can be improved, and the same is true of sleep bruxism, and since the latter is considered a dental disorder it's your dentist who can help you out there. See them early enough and dental implants may never have to even become a consideration, something that we think you'd agree is the best possible outcome all around.
The Emergency Dentist Says:
The best way to deal with the possible dental complications that sleep apnea and sleep bruxism can cause, including the need for dental implants, is to speak to your dentist about it. Once you do that a proper treatment plan, one that may very well save your teeth altogether, allowing to keep your natural smile.