Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth whilst sleeping. It often takes a partner or spouse to identify and inform them of the issue. However, if you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones. Bruxism comes in two forms: "awake bruxism" (AB) which affects more females than males and "sleep bruxism" (SB). Obviously, the biggest risk to your new veneers will be sleep bruxism or nocturnal grinding, since you have little control over what happens when you sleep.
Your Veneers Could Be under Enormous Pressure
If you are concerned about the damage your grinding habit might do to your veneers, your fears are justified. When chewing your food you exert about 20-40 pounds of pressure. This is because your periodontal ligaments, along with the nerves of your teeth, allow you to gauge how much pressure is required while chewing something. However, during sleep, these forces increase to over 250 pounds of pressure or more because you aren't awake to monitor them.
However, the fact that you are aware of this problem means that you can do something about it! You can wear veneers if you suffer from bruxism, just as long as you take the following precautions.
Opt for Braces before Veneers
If you haven't yet gotten your veneers you should probably identify the cause of your grinding habit before you do anything else. Bruxism is sometimes caused by stress or anxiety. If you are going through a particularly stressful time in your life, a counsellor may be able to help you deal with the stress overload so that your grinding habit ceases.
Your grinding habit may also be as a result of a misaligned bite. This is caused by crooked teeth. Even one crooked tooth can cause your bite to become misaligned; and thus while you sleep, you will unconsciously grind to try to correct the issue. Your dentist will be able to tell you if braces might solve your bruxism problem. If these issues are not the cause, then a night guard or occlusal splint will help protect your veneers.
Wear an Occlusal Splint
Occlusal splints are custom-made from dental acrylic to fit over your upper and lower teeth and are most often used to protect teeth from the affects of bruxism. These can be worn both during the day and at night to discourage grinding and can even be worn while eating. However, if you already wear an occlusal splint to protect your teeth from grinding, you should see your dentist so that they can create a new splint, one that can accommodate your veneers and offer them sufficient protection.
If bruxism is threatening to damage your cosmetic and restorative dental treatments, seek the help of your doctor as well as your dentist to end the problem once and for all. However, if no solution can be found, make sure you diligently wear your occlusal splint and have it replaced every 6–8 months.