Bruxism, Braces, And How Orthodontic Services Can Help

Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, often requires treatment from a dental services provider. But what happens if you also have braces? Take a look at what you need to know about this common dental disorder, orthodontic services, and finding relief.

What Causes Bruxism?

Why do you grind your teeth? Bruxism has several different possible causes. These often include stress, sleep apnea, misaligned teeth, or an abnormal bite. If misalignment of the teeth or the bite is at fault, your braces may help to treat the root cause. But if this isn't your issue, you'll need to find ways to reduce stress, handle anxiety, or treat a sleep disorder.

Non-orthodontic causes may require treatment from another medical professional. A mental health expert can provide you with relaxation or stress reduction techniques to reduce teeth grinding behaviors. If sleep apnea or another sleep disorder is at fault, your physician can diagnose the cause and recommend a treatment plan.

Can Braces Cause Bruxism?

In most cases, the answer to this question is no. Braces correct misalignment or crooked teeth. Again, these are two of the top reasons why patients grind their teeth. While you may still grind or clench your teeth during orthodontic treatment, as your teeth move into place, it's likely you'll see an improvement.

Can Patients Reduce the Effects of Bruxism While Wearing Braces?

Even though braces can treat bruxism, this orthodontic option doesn't work overnight and it's not magic. While braces will eventually move your teeth, this takes months or even years.

If you experience uncomfortable bruxism symptoms, such as jaw pain or jaw popping, you can reduce the severity. The first step is to talk to your dentist or orthodontist. The dental professional will rule out other causes (if possible) and recommend a treatment that works with your braces.

Nightguards are effective options for patients who grind their teeth while they sleep. These soft plastic trays can fit over your braces and help to reduce the effects of bruxism.

You can buy nightguards in retail stores or online, but one-size-fits-all products may not work well with your braces. Instead, your dentist or orthodontist can create a custom guard. As your teeth shift and your bite changes, the dentist or orthodontist may need to make you a new nightguard to accommodate the changes.

Braces and bruxism often go hand-in-hand. While orthodontic services can help to reduce the impact of teeth grinding on your mouth, you may still need extra help right now. From treating underlying stress to a custom mouthguard, you can overcome bruxism—even while you wear braces.

For more information about orthodontic services, contact a dentist or orthodontist like David W Hyten DMD.