Invisalign has evolved quite a bit since it was invented, meaning that more and more people are able to use it to straighten their teeth and avoid having to spend years in metal braces. For all its advancements, however, can it help people who grind their teeth? Some estimates show that around 10-20% of the US population does, and if this includes you, does that mean you automatically have to get braces? Thankfully, this isn’t the case, but there are a few caveats.
Teeth Grinding & Invisalign
People grind their teeth for all sorts of reasons, with daily stress and an uneven bite being two of the most common. Fortunately, the plastic that Invisalign is made out of is strong enough to handle the pressure in most cases.
For relatively light grinders, the trays actually offer an extra layer of protection for the enamel. Even if the trays end up being worn down faster than normal, a dentist can accommodate for this by having the patient switch them more often, or they could include extras at no additional cost.
The only issue pertains to people who grind so hard during sleep that they need to wear a nightguard or splint to bed. Patients should ideally wear their Invisalign trays for 20-22 hours to gain the most benefit, so taking them out for seven to nine hours at night simply doesn’t work. In a case like this, the dentist will have to determine if Invisalign will be strong enough to stand up to the grinding (even if the trays are replaced frequently) or if the patient would be better suited for braces (which would allow them to keep wearing their appliance at night).
How Invisalign Can Help with Teeth Grinding
In addition to protecting the teeth, Invisalign can also help correct the imbalances in the bite that lead to teeth grinding for many people. When the teeth don’t come together as they should, the body naturally tries to force them together. This force can cause the teeth to slide against each other and be enough to cause premature enamel wear that also strains the jaw joint and facial muscles. But when the bite is properly aligned, the whole chain of events stops.
Plus, the presence of Invisalign trays can help someone notice when they are grinding during the day, and this increased awareness can make it easier for them to stop in the moment.
Can Invisalign Help You?
The truth is that the only person who can determine whether or not your grinding is bad enough to prevent you from getting Invisalign is your dentist. When planning your treatment, they’ll give you a thorough exam that includes looking for signs of grinding. Depending on the state of your teeth and whether or not you need a nightguard, they will be able to point you in the right direction. The good news is that in the majority of cases, teeth grinding does NOT prevent someone from getting Invisalign.
About the Author
Dr. Kamlesh Makwana earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Marquette University, and he went on to complete a General Practice Residency and Fellowship at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University. His mission is to deliver personalized care to every patient, so he offers a wide range of dental services, including Invisalign. To schedule a consultation and talk about your teeth grinding, you can contact him through our website or call (636) 928-9693.