Sometimes a secondary dental concern has to be treated before your primary problem can be addressed. For example, a dentist may be unwilling to provide a dental implant to a patient with gingivitis or another periodontal disease. The implant may prove to be unsuccessful until other conditions affecting the treatment site have been resolved. Orthodontics can take a similar approach, with secondary concerns needing to be managed before you become a suitable candidate for braces or clear aligners. Does this mean someone who grinds their teeth can't receive treatment from an orthodontist?
Braces Can Help
Bruxism, which is the proper term for grinding your teeth, won't necessarily prevent or even delay your orthodontic treatment. Braces can even help to alleviate the condition when the improper alignment of your teeth is a contributing factor to your bruxism. As your teeth are progressively repositioned, the improper connection between your teeth when your jaw is closed will be minimized, and eventually eliminated. In the short term, your bruxism may feel more pronounced due to the addition of the braces to your teeth, so it might become slightly worse before it gets better.
Protecting Your Teeth
Of course, in the short term, you'll still need to protect your teeth from the ravages of grinding them together while also protecting your braces. Bruxism is often most active at night while you're asleep. It's clearly impossible for you to actively stop this from happening, which is why a night guard can be beneficial for bruxism. This is a lightweight retainer that fits over the teeth, preventing them from making contact with the opposing dental arch. You can easily find a night guard made specifically for braces (designed to accommodate both your teeth and the braces attached to them), so ask your orthodontist for their recommendations. A customized night guard is also possible.
And then there's the fact that your particular orthodontic problem may not even require traditional braces. Clear aligners are ideal for mild to moderate orthodontic cases and have the added benefit of preventing your upper and lower dental arches from coming into direct contact with each other. And since you need to wear clear aligners for upwards of 22 hours per day (including while you sleep), clear aligners also function as a night guard.
Ultimately, the need for any intervention for bruxism prior to orthodontic work will vary from patient to patient. But it's generally not a condition that will affect the success of your treatment, provided the necessary precautions are taken.
Reach out to an orthodontic clinic, such as Laveen Smiles, for more information.