Invisalign Teeth Grinding—Can You Wear Invisalign if You Grind Your Teeth
What is Invisalign treatment?
Invisalign are orthodontic trays made of plastic and used as dental braces to align teeth. They are a series of removable, customized aligners that cover your teeth and, over time, straighten them.
Most Invisalign braces are discrete compared to traditional metal braces making them preferred by patients, particularly older individuals.
Invisalign treatment first starts with a consultation with an orthodontist. They will examine your teeth and determine if you qualify for Invisalign treatment. Then, they will fit you for custom clear aligners and create an Invisalign treatment plan for you.
Your dentist will advise you on the length of your Invisalign treatment, but it typically takes 6 to 12 months. However, some patients require a more extended treatment period.
Why Do Some People Grind Their Teeth?
Medically known as Bruxism, many people have problems grinding their teeth. It’s commonly a nervous tic, and most individuals grind their teeth at night and may not even be aware of the habit. However, grinding one’s teeth often causes oral health complications that a dentist or orthodontist will notice over time
Some signs patients will experience if they have Bruxism include:
- An increase in tooth pain, and sometimes pain or tightness in the jaw, neck, and face
- Loose and sometimes fractured teeth and worn-out enamel
- Sleep disruptions
- Cracked tooth syndrome – Some individuals grind their teeth so hard they develop cracks. The crack may be small and unnoticeable, but an X-ray will reveal the issue. Consider asking your orthodontist about the possibility of this if you will feel pain when chewing your food.
What Causes Bruxism?
Doctors still don’t completely understand why some individuals grind their teeth but some risk factors for Bruxism include:
- Stress: A stressful lifestyle can lead to teeth grinding at night.
- Age: Bruxism is common among young children, but they usually grow out of the condition.
- Medications and other substances: Teeth grinding is a side effect of some psychiatric medications, such as certain antidepressants. Smoking cigarettes, drinking caffeine and alcohol are other behaviors that increase one’s risk of Bruxism.
- Genetics: Many doctors believe Bruxism is genetic as it’s common for several family members to suffer from the disorder.
- Other disorders. Bruxism can be associated with other disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), epilepsy, night terrors, and sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea.
Can you wear Invisalign if you grind your teeth?
Yes! Invisalign aligners naturally reduce the damage caused through teeth grinding as the aligners act as a barrier between your teeth. However, Invisalign teeth grinding can damage your aligners if your Bruxism is severe.
Most orthodontists switch out a patient’s aligners every two weeks, so it’s unlikely you will irreparably damage your aligners before you need new trays. If you are concerned and want to reduce the risk of damaging your aligners, consider these preventative behaviors:
- Avoid alcohol as the habit gets worse with alcohol consumption.
- Cut back on junk foods and drinks like coffee, chocolate, and caffeine.
- Stop chewing gum. As the muscles get used to grinding, you are more likely to clench your teeth.
Can you wear a nightguard with Invisalign?
While patients can typically get fitted for a nightguard over traditional braces, a nightguard cannot be worn with aligners. However, as you approach the end of your treatment, consider asking your orthodontist to fit you for a nightguard you can wear once you finish your treatment to protect your teeth as much as possible.
The retainer-like plastic will feel similar to the Invisalign aligners and covers the biting surfaces. Depending on the kind you choose, it will fit over either the top or bottom set of the teeth. You can buy a nightguard you customize yourself or buy a customized one through your dentist or orthodontist; be aware there will be a significant price difference.
What are Chewies?
When you first get your Invisalign aligners or after you get a new tray, many orthodontists recommend “chewies” that you can chew to close air gaps that occur between the aligner and the teeth. Chewies are cylindrical soft plastic pieces that you place between your aligners and chew for a minute to adjust the Invisalign in your teeth. While chewies usually don’t stop teeth grinding at night, they may reduce the Invisalign jaw clenching that many patients experience after first starting the treatment.
If you grind your teeth and thought Invisalign treatment wasn’t possible before now, contact Amazing Smiles Orthodontist in NYC, Brooklyn, or Forrest Hills, visit us for consultation and evaluation of your teeth to determine the best treatment for you.