Has a partner, friend, or relative ever told you that you grind your teeth, without you having any knowledge whatsoever? This is often the case until a dentist visit is due and your dentist questions the wear and tear on your teeth. Although teeth grinding often causes the most amount of bother for the person sleeping next to you, it can eventually become bothersome to you and the overall health of your teeth.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, could possibly affect the chance of you obtaining the smile you’ve always dreamed of, by inhibiting your chances of Invisalign treatment. While it’s not impossible, it does throw up some challenges and make it slightly harder than those that don’t.
What is Bruxism and Can it Affect Invisalign Treatment?
It is not always clear what causes people to grind their teeth, but it is often thought to be related to stress and anxiety. Other links are sleep problems like snoring and sleep apnoea, taking medications such as antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, and smoking, taking drugs, and consuming too much alcohol and caffeine.
The process of Invisalign consists of flexible, plastic trays called aligners, that are created with your current tooth positions in mind and your future tooth positions, by using 3D imaging to map out your Invisalign journey. Your Invisalign aligners are issued to you every 1 to 2 weeks and tackle the movement of specific teeth at specific times, meaning that the process of movement is gentle and much less painful than traditional, metal braces.
You are required to wear your Invisalign aligners for around 20 to 22 hours per day, which means that overnight is crucial. For those with bruxism, however, nighttime is the time for teeth grinding. Although people with bruxism also grind their teeth during the day, being awake offers a more conscious effort to stop the behaviour, whilst being asleep we are free to let our unconscious mind do all the grinding of our teeth it wants.
It is possible that the continuous force put on your Invisalign aligners by grinding your teeth could mean that they wear out much quicker than you would like, possibly slowing down your treatment. However, your aligners will be changed every 1 to 2 weeks anyway and if you find that your aligner has worn out quicker, it is possible to contact your orthodontist to get a replacement.
Potential Challenges Those with Bruxism Could Face
Invisalign aligners are made from medical grade thermoplastic and are created with comfort in mind, therefore, although it is possible to receive Invisalign treatment, there are a few points to keep in mind:
- Possible aligner damage – bruxism can exert significant force on your teeth. If you grind your teeth while wearing Invisalign aligners, they may become damaged or distorted over time. This could affect the treatment’s effectiveness and require frequent replacements, potentially increasing costs.
- Increased tooth wear – bruxism can lead to excessive tooth wear. If you’re undergoing Invisalign treatment while grinding your teeth, it may result in uneven wear patterns on your aligners and teeth, making it challenging for the aligners to function properly.
- Discomfort – teeth grinding can cause jaw pain and discomfort, which may be exacerbated when wearing Invisalign aligners. This discomfort could potentially lead to non-compliance with the treatment plan.
How to Navigate Bruxism Alongside Invisalign Treatment
There are a few ways to manage bruxism before and during Invisalign treatment, to try and lessen the effects it has on your oral health. Whilst teeth grinding is potentially damaging, it is still possible to receive Invisalign treatment, if precautions are taken.
- Consider a night guard – a custom-fitted night guard can provide a protective barrier between your teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other. Your dentist can create a night guard that fits comfortably alongside your Invisalign aligners.
- Continuous communication – inform your orthodontist about your bruxism condition from the beginning, they can develop a customised treatment plan and closely monitor your progress to address any issues that may arise.
- Regular check-ups – stick to your scheduled orthodontic check-ups. Regular visits will allow your orthodontist to assess your teeth, aligners, and any potential wear and tear caused by bruxism.
- Find ways to manage stress – if stress or anxiety triggers your bruxism, consider stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, or counselling. Reducing stress can help mitigate teeth grinding.
- Aligner care – follow proper care instructions for your Invisalign aligners. Clean them regularly and handle them with care to extend their lifespan.
We’re Here to Help: Chat with Specialist Invisalign Orthodontists in Darwen
Here at Darwen Orthodontics, we understand the desire for a beautiful smile and while we think that all smiles are beautiful, we can help you to achieve your goals.
If you are looking to undergo Invisalign in Darwen then our team of friendly, passionate, and enthusiastic professionals are on hand to offer the best in advice and guidance, whether you are a teeth grinder or not.
Get in touch today and book your free consultation to see how we can help you.