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Orthodontics and Bruxism: Teeth Grinding and Clenching During Invisalign®, Braces or InBrace® Treatment

By March 25, 2024April 4th, 2024No Comments

Can you wear Invisalign if you grind your teeth? What about braces or InBrace? While bruxism – the technical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching – is extremely common, patients sometimes worry it will have a negative impact on orthodontic treatment.

In this post, I’ll be discussing the basics of bruxism and whether or not it interferes with getting braces or clear aligners.

Bruxism 101

What is bruxism?
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are known as bruxism. You can have awake bruxism (grinding and clenching during your waking hours) or sleep bruxism (grinding your teeth while sleeping).

Awake bruxism often happens when you’re stressed or concentrating really hard. Research suggests it’s semi-voluntary, meaning you’re probably at least vaguely aware you’re doing it.

Sleep bruxism, on the other hand, is involuntary and tends to be more severe. It’s actually considered a sleep-related movement disorder.

Why do people grind their teeth?
Now that you know what it is, let’s talk about what causes teeth grinding in the first place. Experts believe bruxism is caused by:

  • Stress, anxiety, anger and other negative emotions
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics
  • Substances, such as caffeine, stimulants, alcohol and tobacco
  • Certain health conditions (e.g., Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, GERD)
  • Misaligned teeth or jaws

Why is bruxism bad for your teeth?
Chronic bruxism may lead to:

  • Worn enamel
  • Chipped or fractured teeth
  • Headaches and ear aches
  • Jaw, TMJ and facial pain
  • Damaged dental restorations
  • Pain when chewing
  • Loose teeth (in extreme cases)

How to stop teeth grinding and jaw clenching
According to Cedars Sinai, treating bruxism requires a multipronged approach. While a mouth guard for teeth grinding, called a night guard, can help mitigate damage to the teeth by offering a cushion against the grinding forces, it isn’t a cure.

To successfully stop teeth grinding and jaw clenching, you’ll need to address the underlying cause of the habit. From there, approaches may include:

  • Reducing stress
  • Switching medications
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Biofeedback, which involves retraining the brain to notice the signs of clenching or grinding and modify the behavior
  • Treating health conditions like sleep apnea, anxiety and depression
  • Botox® injections in the jaw muscles
  • Medication
  • Reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeine
  • Quitting smoking cigarettes

Can You Get InBrace or Braces if You Grind Your Teeth?

Yes, you can get braces if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw. Teeth grinding with braces generally won’t cause damage to the appliance since the brackets and wires aren’t placed on the chewing (and grinding) surfaces of the teeth.

If you have a severe grinding habit, InBrace will work for a more limited treatment, however, I’d likely recommend aligners or braces instead if you need comprehensive treatment.

Can You Wear Invisalign if You Grind Your Teeth?

Yes, you can wear Invisalign if you grind your teeth. While your aligners will probably wear down faster, this isn’t usually a problem since you move on to your next set every week or two.

Rarely, severe, forceful teeth grinding can cause your Invisalign aligners to wear down before you’re ready for your next tray. In this situation, I can have the Invisalign lab provide an extra set of aligners or I may recommend braces treatment instead.

Will Invisalign, InBrace and Braces Help With Teeth Grinding?

It depends on the root of your bruxism. Aligning the teeth and bite through orthodontic treatment may reduce or eliminate the urge to grind the teeth and clench the jaw in some patients but the bite seems to play a relatively small part in the cause of bruxism.

Clear aligners and braces don’t cause bruxism. That said, at certain points in your treatment, teeth grinding and clenching can temporarily worsen while your bite changes. This will improve once you adjust.

How to Protect Your Teeth and Appliance During Treatment

Managing stress and treating underlying causes of bruxism can help you minimize teeth grinding and clenching during orthodontic treatment.

It’s not usually necessary, but there are times when it’s advisable to get an occlusal (teeth) grinding guard for braces. A custom night guard, either the boil-and-bite variety or one made by a professional, will accommodate your brackets and wires and offer a better fit than a standard guard. I don’t typically offer professional guards though because they can’t be remolded for this purpose. A boil-and-bite guard will be the more economical choice while your teeth are actively moving.

Can Invisalign be used as a night guard? Invisalign aligners will offer some protection against grinding and clenching forces. Because it’s essential to wear your Invisalign overnight, you won’t be able to wear a separate night guard during treatment.

The Bottom Line

Yes, you can get braces or Invisalign if you grind your teeth. You may also be a candidate for InBrace depending on the severity of the habit.

Your orthodontist will work out a plan with you to keep your teeth and appliance safe. In severe cases, that could include wearing a teeth grinding guard for braces or ordering additional clear aligners.

Looking for an orthodontist in El Dorado Hills, CA?

Whether you grind your teeth or not, my team and I have you covered. Book a complimentary consultation at Jeffrey Kwong Orthodontics in El Dorado Hills today to explore your treatment options!

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