Why Sleep Apnea Damages Dental Implants

Dental implants are a very successful approach to replacing missing teeth. The initial success rate for dental implants is around 98%, and once they are integrated dental implants can last for a lifetime.

But under some circumstances, dental implants can experience complications, and it turns out that people with sleep apnea are much more likely to experience these complications. According to a new study, people with sleep apnea are more likely to experience chipped, broken, or otherwise damaged dental implant restorations.

Senior man is sleeping in comfortable bed at home.

Prosthetic Complications

For this study, researchers looked at the dental records of 67 patients who took a sleep study to determine whether they had sleep apnea. Forty-nine of the patients had sleep apnea.

This group of patients also had a pretty high rate of complications related to their dental implants. Sixteen of the 67 patients had complications related to their dental implants. These patients experienced a total of 30 complications in 22 restorations. Most often, they experienced chipped porcelain. Patients with sleep apnea accounted for 13 of the 16 who experienced complications. In other words, 27% of patients with sleep apnea had complications, compared to only 17% of those without sleep apnea.

How Sleep Apnea Causes Implant Complications

What makes people with sleep apnea more likely to chip their restorations? Bruxism–teeth clenching and grinding. People with sleep apnea are more likely to be sleep bruxers.

That’s because people are clenching their teeth to try to keep their airway open. Remember that the jaw is one of the main supports for the the airway, so when it collapses the brain awakens partly to reopen the airway. Partly, this is done with the muscles of the neck, but it’s partly done by clenching the jaw tightly in a position that holds the airway open.

This jaw clenching can help you keep breathing, but since it can happen hundreds of times a night, it can damage the crowns and bridges on your dental implants.

Protect Your Health, Your Teeth, and Your Implants

Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition. It can stress your heart, disrupt your metabolism, and sap your energy. And, because of its link to bruxism, it can damage your dental restorations. Sleep apnea is also linked to TMJ, and a healthy positioning of the jaw can help you avoid or resolve your TMJ.

Dr. Kary Berry is a Centennial dentist who can repair your dental implant restorations and treat sleep apnea to protect your health and your implants. Please call (303) 759-5652 today for an appointment at Park Meadows Dental Care.