It is commonly mistaken that one can’t wear invisible braces lest it encourages more teeth grinding or damage aligners beyond repair. Fortunately, this is a myth we want to debunk and assure you that you are still a suitable candidate for clear aligners even if you grind your teeth.
What causes bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term used to describe the grinding and clenching of teeth. While it usually does not cause harm, prolonged grinding can damage teeth and give rise to oral health complications like jaw joint disorders.
There are two types of bruxism namely awake and sleep bruxism. Awake bruxism is triggered by frustration, anxiety, stress or tension. Sleep bruxism on the other hand occurs when one is unconscious during sleep. However, bruxism is actually most commonly caused by an abnormal bite or crooked teeth.
Is bruxism a big problem?
Most people experience occasional bruxism. If the behaviour is infrequent and/or mild, treatment is often not necessary. But prolonged bruxism can inflict long-term damage to your teeth and jaw and is often a symptom of bigger problems like sleep disorders that need attention.
Grinding your teeth applies too much pressure on your teeth and weakens the enamel, making them more prone to chips and cracks. The clenching of the jaw also strains the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) that connect your lower jaw to the skull, risking headaches and other pains.
Most cases of bruxism are subconscious and can be detected rather easily. Look out for:
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw or face pain/soreness
- pain that feels like an earache
- Worn tooth enamel exposing deeper layers of your teeth
- Dull headaches originating from the temples
- Tired or tight jaw muscles
Bruxism can even alter the appearance of your face by unintentionally bulking on the masseter muscle. The masseter muscle is the cheek muscle that helps us chew and is one of the strongest muscles in the body.
If you suspect that you may be grinding your teeth, consult a dental professional.
Clear aligners can actually ease bruxism
Misaligned teeth can cause an abnormal bite and strain your TMJ by uneven distribution of pressure applied by your jaw muscles. A proper bite alignment achieved through straightening your teeth usually translates to fewer jaw issues.
Your aligners can take a beating or two
While you will wear down your aligners faster if you clench or grind your teeth, a set of aligners are changed every 2 weeks. They also double up as a guard against teeth grinding.
Once you complete your invisible braces treatment and move on to retainers, you might find that your retainers wear down faster but you can always get new ones. Many people lose or break their aligners on accident so it’s common to get replacements for retainers.
However, the only scenario where you may not be suitable for clear aligners is when you have been prescribed a night guard by your dentist. Clear aligners require at least 22 hours of wear a day, and wearing a night guard will prevent you from commiting to that.
So fret not if you’re a teeth grinder! Clear aligners are still for you.
Yes, You Can Have Straighter Teeth Too
You can wear invisible braces even if you grind your teeth so you can get a beautiful smile.