Teeth Grinding and Orthodontics

A large percentage of the population, both young and old, carry a habit of grinding their teeth. The grating of the top teeth against the bottom arch of teeth generates pressure which can hurt your smile.

But this behavior can also impact the alignment of your teeth and jaw over time. And if you are currently undergoing treatment to straighten your smile, teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, could affect your appliances. Do not hesitate to let your orthodontist know about this persistent oral habit. Read on to learn more about bruxism and its impact on orthodontics.

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Can Bruxism Lead to Bite Problems?

Chronic bruxism can occur for a number of reasons, including heightened stress levels. Stress can build tension in the body that may lead you to grate your teeth against one another, often without your awareness.

The pressure from teeth grinding may cause teeth to wear down over time or shift out of their straight positions. Your teeth may become crooked or your bite might not close properly. Bite problems like worsen and impact your ability to perform oral functions like chewing and speaking.

On the other hand, bite problems can develop on their own due to genetics or other factors. Existing bite problems can also lead a patient to grind their teeth. This cycle can continue without intervention from your dentist or orthodontist. These problems can feed into one another, so a comprehensive approach from an expert to treat them is ideal.

If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, talk to your dental professional to help determine the cause. They can address the cause of this behavior and then treat any bite or dental concerns that formed due to this habit.

Will Teeth Grinding Interrupt Orthodontic Treatment?

Fixing bite problems with orthodontic treatment is one way to relieve chronic bruxism. In this way, aligning the teeth and jaw can prevent major dental damage. But you may also worry if the pressure from this habit can hurt the orthodontic appliances intended to resolve the issue.

Good news: teeth grinding will not harm braces or other orthodontic treatments you may need to straighten your smile. The brackets and wires of braces attach to the sides of your teeth, away from the cusps at the teeth’s edges that endure much of the pressure from bruxism. This way, you can straighten your smile without worrying about potential damage to your appliances.

Invisalign, teeth straightening treatment featuring clear-colored aligners that fit over the teeth, might have more exposure to this pressure. But this does not mean patients with bruxism cannot wear Invisalign successfully. The aligners will not replace a night guard for protection against teeth grinding, but they can provide some shielding from damage from this behavior.

If you grind your teeth, let your orthodontist know so that they can factor this habit into your treatment plan. If you do sustain damage of any kind to your appliances, call your orthodontist for emergency repairs as soon as you can.