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Teeth grinding, or bruxism, can cause a variety of problems, such as headaches, jaw pain, muscle tightness, and broken teeth. A mouth guard is designed to prevent this issue, and there are several types to choose from.
There are two types of bruxism:
- Diurnal bruxism: This involves a person grinding their teeth while awake.
- Nocturnal bruxism: This is involves teeth grinding during sleep.
A mouth guard is a device that a person wears to prevent teeth grinding, often during sleep. Below, we explore the various types of these products and describe when to see a dentist.
Please note, however, that the statements below are based only on research. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.
- increased wear of the teeth
- tooth fractures
- limited ability to open the mouth
- stiffness and tenderness in the jaw muscles
- pain in the jaw joint
- tenderness of the temporal muscles, located on the sides of the head near the temples
- an earache
- poor sleep
The American Dental Association explain that there are the following types of mouth guard:
- Custom-made: These are made by a dentist and are typically the most comfortable.
- Boil-and-bite: These are often available at sporting goods stores and drugstores. A person softens the guard in boiling water, then bites down, molding the material to the shape of their mouth.
- Stock: This type of mouth guard is premade and ready to wear, but they may not fit as well.
Although dental implant surgery (DIS) has a high success rate, it is not suitable for everyone. It also has the potential to cause long-term complications.
A dental implant is a long-term replacement for a missing tooth. The implant itself is a titanium screw that a dental surgeon screws into the jawbone. Over several weeks, the implant and jawbone fuse together. Once fused, the implant can support an artificial tooth or crown.
According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), around 3 million people in the United States have dental implants. Dental implants are also growing in popularity. The AAID state that the number of people receiving them is increasing by around 500,000 per year.
This article outlines the potential complications and long-term issues that can arise as a result of DIS. It also provides information on implant success rates, aftercare, and recovery time.
There are a number of potential complications that can occur following DIS. The sections below will outline some of these.
Below are some of the more common problems that may develop following DIS.
People should take good care of their dental implants to reduce the risk of infection. It is vital to follow the dental surgeon’s advice regarding aftercare.
Treatment for an infection depends on the severity and location of the infection. For example, a bacterial infection in the gum may require antibiotics or a soft tissue graft, while a bacterial infection in the bone may require removal of the infected bone tissue and possibly the implant, followed by a bone and soft tissue graft.
In some cases, a person may find that the gum tissue around the implant begins to recede. This can lead to inflammation and pain. Getting a prompt assessment from a dentist is essential to prevent the removal of the implant.
In the first few weeks following DIS, the dental implant will be growing into and fusing with the jawbone. This process is called osseointegration, and it is crucial to the long-term success of the implant. This process can take many months.
If the implant fails to fuse with the bone, the dental surgeon may remove it. A person may be able to reattempt the implant procedure once the area has healed.
Nerve or tissue damage
Sometimes, a dental surgeon may inadvertently place a dental implant too close to a nerve. This can cause long-term numbness, tingling, or pain.
A 2012 study found that DIS-induced nerve damage can lead to a decline in quality of life.
A nerve or tissue problem requires immediate attention. Injury to the inferior alveolar nerve (IAN) in the lower jaw can be particularly serious. Some possible symptoms of an IAN injury include:
- persistent numbness on the side of the implant, including the lower lip and chin
- persistent pain or discomfort
- tingling, tickling, or burning sensations in the gums and skin
Less common problems
DIS may also result in some less common problems, such as sinus issues and damage to the dental implant itself.
Upper jaw dental implants can protrude into the sinus cavities, causing swelling of the sinuses. This is known as sinusitis.
Some potential symptoms of sinusitis include:
Damage from excessive force
As with any tooth, excessive force or impact can cause a dental implant to crack or become loose.
Some people may apply excessive force to their dental implant without even realizing it. For example, some people grind, or brux, their teeth while sleeping. People who are prone to this behavior may need to wear a mouth shield to prevent damage to the implant as well as their natural teeth.
Peri-implantitis is a type of gum disease that causes loss of the bone supporting the implant. It develops due to chronic inflammation at the site of the implant.
According to one 2017 review, peri-implantitis can take about 5 years to progress and cause symptoms. These symptoms typically include bleeding or swelling around the site of the dental implant.
There is also a rare possibility of the body rejecting a dental implant. Based on a 2019 review, researchers are investigating the risks of using dental implants made from titanium or other metals. Some people have a rare metal sensitivity that causes their body to reject metal implants. The researchers recommend that people undergo metal sensitivity testing before receiving such implants.
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shells that dentists can place on the front of the teeth to improve their appearance. Veneers can hide stained, chipped, and uneven teeth.
For some people, having damaged or discolored teeth can affect their confidence or self-esteem. Dental veneers can help improve the appearance of the teeth.
This article discusses what dental veneers are, the different types of dental veneer available, the costs, the benefits, and the dental veneer fitting procedure.
Dental veneers are custom fittings designed to help hide or correct dental damage, including:
- stains and discoloration
- chips and small missing pieces
- gaps between the teeth
Dental veneers help improve the appearance of a person’s teeth. They may be beneficial for people who want a long-term solution to persistent cosmetic concerns — particularly those that do not respond to other dental treatments, such as teeth whitening, braces, or retainers.
During the placement process, a dentist will typically remove a small amount of enamel, which is the thin protective outer covering of the teeth. Because of this, once the dentist places the veneers, a person cannot remove them or choose not to use them.
A dental bridge replaces one or more missing or broken teeth with fake teeth. Bridges use one or more real teeth on either side of the gap to hold the fake teeth in place.
Bridges may be either fixed, which means that they are permanent, or removable, which means that a person can take them out.
Dentists call each fake tooth in a bridge a "pontic," and some healthcare providers refer to a bridge as a "fixed partial denture."
In this article, learn more about dental bridges.
A dental bridge can replace a tooth or several teeth. The fake teeth in dental bridges look and function like real teeth.
For a bridge, a person may see a prosthodontist, a dentist who specializes in restoring and replacing missing teeth, or a regular dentist. Either way, there are many options for filling a gap in a smile.
One option is to have a crown — a fake bit of tooth attached to a small portion of real tooth that the dentist has ground down.
When a person has lost a tooth or the dentist has had to remove it, however, a crown alone is not an option, and a dental bridge may be the best choice.
The term "bridge" refers to a structure that contains one or more fake teeth. The structure is often anchored in place with one or more crowns on either side of the gap in the mouth. For example, if a person loses several front teeth, due to injury or decay, a doctor may use a bridge to fill in the gap.
A person may not wish to have a gap in their teeth, after having a tooth removed, for example, because they need a tooth in the area for chewing or because of cosmetic concerns.
For some people, a permanent dental implant is an alternative to a bridge. Dental implants are fake teeth that dentists surgically insert into bone in the mouth.
For others, dentists recommend implants to help secure a bridge, particularly if many teeth are missing.
A dental bridge can help a person feel more comfortable with their smile. It can also enable them to chew normally.
When a person loses one or more teeth, it can affect their bite, causing pain or difficulty eating. Replacing those teeth prevents these complications.
A person may need a bridge if:
- a tooth is so decayed that it falls out or a dentist removes it
- an accident or injury damages a tooth beyond repair
- decay or infection is so deep within a tooth that neither a filling nor a root canal are sufficient
Dentists use several types of bridges:
- A traditional bridge involves two crowns — sometimes called abutments — anchoring the fake tooth or teeth. This is the most popular type of bridge, and it can be fixed or removable.
- A cantilever bridge requires only one crown for support. This involves a less intensive procedure and may be a good option for people who do not want to damage healthy teeth. However, the single crown can act as a lever, increasing the risk of tooth and jaw damage.
- Maryland bridges are more conservative and less invasive than traditional or cantilever bridges. The bridge is anchored by metal or porcelain frameworks attached to the backs of teeth on either side of the gap. These bridges can preserve healthy teeth, but they are less secure.
- Implant-supported bridges use dental implants as anchors. This type of bridge is more expensive and invasive but more secure.
The specific procedure depends on the type of bridge.
When a person gets a traditional bridge, the process begins by preparing the teeth on either side of the gap. The dentist will grind down these teeth, removing any decay. Next, they will take an impression of the mouth that will help with fitting the bridge.
The dentist will put a temporary bridge on the damaged teeth to protect them. Temporary bridges include structures that look like real teeth, but they are not permanent, so it is crucial to return to the dentist within a few weeks.
Once the real bridge is ready, the dentist removes the temporary structures and affixes the bridge using strong adhesives.
The process is similar for cantilever bridges, though only one tooth will need a crown. A Maryland bridge requires less preparation, since no crowns are involved. Both of these bridges also require at least two appointments.
When a person has implants to support a bridge, the process typically begins with implant surgery. Afterward, the dentist will take an impression of the mouth to create a bridge that fits over the implants seamlessly.
A person's mouth may feel tender and sore after a dentist grinds down the teeth. It may also feel sore after the placement of the bridge. The gums may be tender and bleed.
For most people, this soreness goes away after a few days. However, the gums may need a few weeks to completely heal from the procedure.
A person can return to work or school as soon as they feel well enough, and this is usually the day after the appointment.
People who choose to be sedated during the bridge placement should not drive after the procedure.
Anyone who has implants may feel unwell after waking from anesthesia. They, too, should not drive and may need assistance for a day or two after the procedure.
To care for a bridge, it is important to:
- Practice regular oral hygiene to prevent further decay.
- See a dentist twice a year so that they can check the bridge and clean the teeth.
- Ask the dentist if it is important to avoid certain foods.
Some complications of a dental bridge can include:
- Bridge failure. The bridge may break or slip out of place. A person may then need another bridge, implants, or other dental procedures.
- Pain or chewing problems. Some people struggle to adjust to chewing with a bridge, especially in the weeks after the procedure. If the bite does not feel right, return to the dentist for an adjustment.
- Infection. Some people develop infections after treatment, especially if they have widespread tooth decay or gum disease.
- Tooth decay. It is possible for a tooth to continue to decay under the crown that anchors the bridge. This is more common in people with serious gum disease or very severe cavities in the teeth that need crowns.
To prevent tooth decay around a bridge, it is crucial to practice excellent home care, including brushing and flossing. Some floss products are designed for use with bridges.
Working with a knowledgeable dentist and carefully following their aftercare instructions can reduce the risk of serious complications.