Visiting your dentist to have a problem investigated can lead to a referral to an orthodontist. Your teeth may be excessively sensitive, and if your dentist spots accelerated wear and tear on the biting surfaces of both sets of teeth, you could be grinding them together at night. Why is this grinding an orthodontic issue?
Bruxism (which is the proper term for teeth grinding) can be triggered by an orthodontic problem related to the improper alignment of your bite. If you have crooked teeth, or upper and lower sets of teeth don't properly connect when your jaw is closed, your overall bite may be misaligned.
Wear and Tear
This misalignment can lead to strained jaw muscles. Your jaw may in fact be sore when you wake up in the morning. Additionally, this misalignment can cause your upper and lower sets of teeth to grind against each other while you sleep, causing friction, which leads to that wear and tear. The outer layers of your teeth may be wearing away. This grinding has an orthodontic cause, so it needs an orthodontic solution.
Invisalign braces can be the preferred treatment for misalignment that has caused bruxism. These clear aligner trays have two purposes when an orthodontic patient is grinding their teeth. Firstly, each tray will reposition your teeth. The trays are customised for your specific teeth, and each tray shifts your teeth to match the outline of the tray (each tray moves your teeth by about .25 to .33 millimetres). Once the maximum attainable movement of the tray has been achieved, it's replaced by the next tray in your treatment series.
Over the course of your treatment, crooked and rotated teeth are straightened, and any overhang or underhang of your jaw is reduced. Your Invisalign will eventually align your bite, so the cause of your bruxism is eliminated, so you should stop grinding. But what's the second purpose of your Invisalign trays when teeth grinding is an issue?
As your trays slowly align your bite, they also protect your teeth from further damage caused by grinding. You'll be wearing your trays overnight, and they'll prevent your upper and lower sets of teeth from making direct contact, meaning grinding is technically impossible.
Invisalign will align your teeth (and ultimately remove the cause of your bruxism) while also protecting them against grinding-induced damage during treatment. You might need to keep wearing a lightweight retainer overnight once your treatment is over, but as long as you follow your orthodontist's instructions, your bruxism shouldn't return.
Reach out to an orthodontist to learn more about Invisalign braces.