We all want to take care of our teeth, and for those suffering from the teeth grinding condition known as bruxism, there is a lot more to worry about. It causes a greater level of tooth erosion than nearly any other condition, and it affects up to a third or the population. If you are thinking about getting orthodontic treatment but you are worried that your bruxism may affect it, we are here to shed some light on the condition and how orthodontic treatment may actually help protect your teeth from grinding over the long-term.
What Causes Bruxism?
The grinding of teeth associated with bruxism may have a number of causes. Stress is the most commonly cited cause, as it can develop as a habit to cope with chronic stress conditions. This is not the only potential cause, however, as many people experience bruxism primarily while they are sleeping as a result of a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Medical conditions can also be a culprit, including temporomandibular disorders (TMJ/TMD) or chronic ear infections. Perhaps the most preventable cause is mechanical problems with the bite or other abnormalities such as malocclusion that can be corrected with orthodontic treatment.
Treating Bruxism with Orthodontics
It is a terrible idea to leave bruxism untreated. Not only is teeth grinding painful, but it can eventually result in root canals or even tooth loss as well. While there are some simple preventative measures that may work for you, in more serious cases, further treatment will be required. This is especially important in the case of malocclusion as a proper alignment of the bite can reduce the issues with the jaw that are causing the discomfort and inflammation of the jaw muscles that can exacerbate bruxism.
Life After Braces
Even after a patient gets braces, it is important to take measures to protect your teeth from the grinding. If you still feel that you are clenching and grinding your teeth, a night guard may need to be constructed to protect your teeth.