There’s a lot to know about teeth grinding and braces. First, can you even get braces if you grind your teeth? If you can, then do braces help, or can teeth grinding affect braces negatively? And what causes teeth grinding in the first place?
Tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common issue. And can cause plenty of problems — whether you’re aware you’re doing it or not!
Why do people grind their teeth?
While there’s no single cause for teeth grinding, many things can contribute. These include:
- Stress: When you’re dealing with chronic stress or anxiety, you may clench your teeth as a coping mechanism.
- Medical conditions: Teeth grinding has been linked to TMJ disorders or an ear infection that affects the jaw muscles.
- Sleep disorders: People with sleep apnea experience teeth grinding more often than those without this sleep problem.
- Teeth misalignment: You’re more likely to grind your teeth when your upper and lower teeth are not aligned.
How can you tell if you’re grinding your teeth?
Since teeth grinding can often be unconscious, you may not know how to tell if you’re doing it. To help you, the Mayo Clinic lists the following symptoms:
- Your sleep partner wakes you up due to loud teeth clenching or grinding
- Flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
- Worn tooth enamel which exposes deeper layers of your tooth
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw or face pain or soreness
- Tired or tight jaw muscles
- Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s not a problem with your ear
- A dull headache originating in the temples
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Indentations on your tongue
- Your mouth won’t open or close completely
If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, call us for a consultation. We can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of teeth grinding.
What problems can teeth grinding cause?
Grinding your teeth can cause many issues, such as surface tooth damage, erosion of tooth enamel, disrupted sleep (primarily for your sleep partner), jaw or face pain and muscle tightness, and headaches.
Plus, if you grind your teeth over a long period and don’t get any correction, this may cause teeth to break, become loose, or shift their alignment. Chronic teeth grinding can also result in needing root canals, crowns, or even tooth extraction.
That’s why it’s so important to get help for teeth grinding. And often, if the grinding is caused by a misalignment, braces can help.
Teeth grinding and braces
Braces — whether metal or Invisalign — will realign and straighten your teeth, so they fit together better. When this happens, many people no longer feel the urge to grind their teeth.
However, you should know that if your teeth grinding is severe, braces may make things worse before they get better. That’s because you may have some extra irritation or discomfort as your teeth begin shifting and realigning. But this should improve as the teeth move into their correct position.
Once your teeth are correctly aligned, you’ll need to use retainers, so they don’t return to their former position. If you don’t use retainers to keep your teeth straight, the problem of grinding teeth can return as the teeth shift back to their uneven state.
The best way to know if braces can help with your teeth grinding is to get an orthodontic consultation. That way, we can see if misalignment is causing your grinding issue, and show you exactly how braces or Invisalign can help you.
Sometimes, when teeth grinding is caused by other issues (such as those mentioned above), you may need a different solution. These may include managing your stress and anxiety with help from a licensed professional, or addressing sleep apnea with a qualified medical doctor.
Additionally, if you’re still grinding your teeth even with braces, you may need to wear a nightguard to prevent tooth damage. These can be custom-made to fit perfectly over your braces, and new ones can be provided as your teeth shift and your smile improves.
We can help you resolve your teeth grinding
Come in for a consultation to address whether your teeth grinding is caused by a misalignment. Dr. Taylor and our team at A Perfect Smile will take the time and care to see if braces or Invisalign could be the solution to address this often painful issue.
The first appointment is always free and includes an exam, including x-rays. Our state-of-the-art facility is up to date on all the latest technology, so you can feel confident that you are getting the very best care. Our staff is both professional and fun, and we strive to make your experience smooth and enjoyable!
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