Teeth Grinding – Can Braces Help?
Can Braces Help With Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, scientifically known as bruxism, is a prevalent condition that can lead to significant dental problems if left unchecked. While there are various contributing factors to this condition, such as stress, anxiety, and sleep disorders, one potential solution lies in orthodontic treatment. Our Specialist Orthodontist Dr Anthony Hopkins understands the complexities of bruxism and offers insights into how orthodontics can alleviate this issue.
What is teeth grinding or bruxism?
Bruxism is the involuntary clenching or grinding of teeth, which typically occurs during sleep but can also manifest during waking hours. The consequences of chronic teeth grinding can be detrimental, causing tooth wear, misalignment, sensitivity, and even tooth loss. Because teeth grinding happens most often during sleep, you may wonder if you suffer from bruxism.
Dr Anthony recommends you look out for the below signs:
- Muscle pain in jaws or cheeks
- Sensitive or loose teeth
- The jaw joints may make clicking or popping sounds
- Headaches, especially in the morning
What causes bruxism?
Research suggests that individuals with abnormal bites or dental conditions, such as crooked or missing teeth, may be more prone to bruxism. While some people may not necessarily grind their teeth as a result, others are more susceptible to teeth grinding due to these conditions. Stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, and certain medications can exacerbate the problem. Additionally, sleep apnea, characterised by interrupted breathing during sleep, can contribute to teeth grinding, as the body’s compensation mechanisms can involve clenching and grinding.
Treating bruxism without orthodontic treatment:
Although Orthodontic treatment is helpful to reduce teeth grinding, there are various strategies can help prevent or alleviate teeth grinding including in some scenarios:
- Stress Reduction: Managing stress through relaxation techniques can significantly reduce grinding tendencies.
- Reducing Alcohol and Caffeine: Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine consumption can mitigate predisposition to bruxism
- Awareness of Daytime Clenching: Being mindful of daytime jaw clenching can help break the habit, making it easier to avoid during sleep.
- Mental Relaxation: Unwinding and clearing the mind before sleep can reduce the impact of mental concentration on grinding.
- Hydration and General Health: Staying hydrated and maintaining overall health can reduce the likelihood of grinding due to illness or dehydration.
The Role of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment, provided by specialists like Dr. Anthony Hopkins at Oasis Orthodontics, offers a potential solution to bruxism. By correcting dental misalignments, orthodontic treatment optimises bite relationships, making it easier for individuals to adapt to a healthy bite and potentially eliminate grinding.
Braces are effective tools in fixing underlying bite problems that predispose to bruxism and make it easier for you to adapt. In the initial period of wearing braces, teeth grinding can worsen while your mouth adjusts. If you’re concerned with the severity of your teeth grinding and worried it may damage your teeth or braces, speak to your orthodontist about your concerns. Once the teeth shift into alignment, the grinding usually decreases and hopefully stops once teeth are completely aligned.
After your braces are off, you’ll need to wear your clear retainers consistently at first and then nightly to hold your teeth in their new position. The retainer can act as a barrier to protect your teeth just in case you still grind your teeth in particular.
How do I start treatment?
Orthodontic treatments provided by Oasis Orthodontics, led by Dr. Anthony Hopkins, offer a promising solution to bruxism. Whether through braces or other orthodontic treatments, addressing misalignments and optimising bite relationships can lead to long-term relief from teeth grinding. Contact Oasis Orthodontics today to take the first step towards achieving a healthy, pain free smile