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Lots of people have nervous habits, such as lip biting, cheek chewing, nail biting, and pencil chewing. Though they may seem harmless, these habits can be detrimental to your oral health, leading to issues with your bite (occlusion) and/or the temporomandibular joints on either side of your jaw. At Trillium Dental, we offer Invisalign® and TMJ treatments to address these issues. So what is the cause of nervous habits like lip biting? Our family dentists will discuss this condition below.

Causes of BFRBs

Most often, lip biting, cheek chewing, and other body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) have an underlying psychological cause. Anxiety is a common cause of BFRBs, as is the physiological response to fear and stress. When we are overwhelmed, we create coping mechanisms to provide a distraction from the emotional pain we are experiencing — in this case, an anxiety disorder or a dangerous or stressful situation.

What’s interesting about BFRBs is that lots of people don’t even know when they have these nervous habits. In fact, you could be doing one right now subconsciously. Since these behaviors are compulsive, often people don’t know about them until the consequences start to emerge. For example, people who bite their lips will start to develop painful sores on the lips, as well as bleeding lips, swollen lips, and redness. The same goes for nail biters; you might not realize how much you’re biting your nails until your fingertips become sore or inflamed.

If you are suffering from a BFRB, this can be a difficult habit to break. This is especially true for people who deal with anxiety or have a lot of stress, as the only way to prevent the painful consequences of these nervous habits is to get to the root of the issue. For many people, therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes (e.g. yoga, meditation, sleep, and a balanced diet) can help reduce stress, as well as the BFRBs that come with it.


There are many consequences of BFRBs, depending on the nervous habits that are expressed. It is not uncommon for nail biters to experience ingrown nails, fingernail infections, and a host of tooth problems, such as tooth fractures, filed-down teeth, and an increased risk of gingivitis. For lip and cheek biters, the most obvious consequences are swollen, torn up lips and mouth sores.

People who express these compulsive BFRBs are also at a greater risk of causing damage to the temporomandibular joint and the integrity of their teeth. Chronic BFRBs can lead to the following conditions:


TMJ disorders, or TMJDs, refer to any kind of damage that has occurred to one or both temporomandibular joints, which are located in front of the ears on both sides of the face. TMJ disorders often result in a popping jaw and jaw pain, which makes it more difficult to open and close your mouth fully. Patients may also experience discomfort while chewing, as well as lockjaw, headaches, and earaches. Many people with TMJ disorders also have an uneven bite or crooked teeth (major causes of TMJ disorder), which can make symptoms even more unpleasant.

Most common in women ages 30-50, TMJ disorder is a condition that affects many adults around the world — especially people with anxiety, panic disorders, and chronic stress. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to alleviate TMJ pain, such as dental treatment using a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit to relax the facial muscles and correct your bite. Night guards can also help prevent people from clenching or grinding their teeth at night, which can cause inflammation in the temporomandibular joints. Other TMJ treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and jaw pain, as well as hot and cold compresses. You can also massage the area to help loosen the jaw muscles, or do meditation or progressive muscle relaxation.

In some cases, corrective dental treatment is required to treat TMJ disorders. Your dentist might use the TENS unit to realign your jaw with a custom-made orthotic, or they might make splints to help reposition the jaw. Surgery may be required to correct jaw abnormalities, but this is fairly rare. Most of the time, TMJ symptoms subside after a few weeks, with the recovery time being even less if you correct poor habits (like BFRBs) and learn how to manage your stress in a healthier way. Other causes of TMJ disorders, such as facial trauma, arthritis, dislocation, poor dental health, or structural jaw problems, will need to be addressed by your family dentist and/or general practitioner in order to determine the right treatment plan.


The other main consequence of lip biting and other nervous habits is crooked teeth. When you chew on your lips, cheeks, nails, or other objects, you’re forcing your jaw into an unnatural position, which can cause the teeth to shift. BFRBs like nail biting and pencil chewing can also cause the roots of the teeth to become deformed, which results in crooked, unhealthy teeth. The last thing you want is to have a root canal because the nerves under your teeth become damaged or infected, and you certainly don’t want to have your teeth break or splinter either.

Hardly anyone has perfect teeth to begin with, and if you do, you’re one of the lucky ones! If you have misaligned teeth, there are many teeth straightening methods available today that can help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. Braces and Invisalign® are two easy ways to correct your bite and straighten your teeth, and you’d be surprised at how your self-esteem increases and your anxiety subsides when you feel confident in your smile. Got perfect teeth? Don’t jeopardize your oral health by chewing on things that aren’t food, like nails, pencils, ice cubes, and those pesky clothing tags.


If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, misaligned teeth, or any other consequence of BFRBs, our dentists are here to help. We’ll take x-rays and perform a dental exam to determine the right treatment plan for you, whether that be TMJ therapy with our TENS unit, oral surgery, or just a change in lifestyle habits. Contact us today to learn more, or book an appointment online at Trillium Dental in Ottawa!


Now that you know a little more about Invisalign® teeth straightening treatments and how they work, you’re probably wondering about the logistics, such as the cost of Invisalign, what our dental consultations are like, and how often you’ll need to visit our Ottawa dental clinic for checkups and new Invisalign retainers. Here in part two of this blog series, our team at Trillium Dental will dive into some of the finer details of our Invisalign treatments, so continue reading for answers to more commonly asked questions about Invisalign!


As family dentists, we get this question all the time, and the truth is that the price of Invisalign treatments varies from person to person. This is because some dental patients will require more Invisalign retainers than others (especially if they have a drastic overbite, underbite, or overlapping teeth), as well as additional dental appointments for checkups or to replace lost retainers. Another factor to consider is dental insurance, as some dental insurance plans cover teeth straightening treatments and others do not, and in many cases, they only cover a certain percentage or monetary amount of the overall cost. Nevertheless, the cost of Invisalign is typically very similar to the cost of braces, as recent advancements in dental technology have made this method of teeth straightening more accessible for many dental patients.


One great thing about Invisalign is that many dentists today receive specialized training in the Invisalign treatment, meaning that patients can visit a number of Ottawa dental clinics for these “clear braces” without having to see an orthodontist, which is a separate dental practice. Invisalign technology is much different than that of traditional braces in the sense that there are no metal brackets to glue, wires to fasten, or rubber bands to replace. Rather, Invisalign retainers are a series of clear plastic trays that are molded to your teeth with gradual adjustments that result in a perfectly straight smile with no strings (or pokey metal wires) attached. At Trillium Dental, our family dentists are trained and experienced in Invisalign treatments, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in straightening your teeth with these “invisible braces.”


Since every patient’s smile is unique, we begin every Invisalign treatment with an initial consultation at our Ottawa dental office. During this appointment, our dentists will look at the current alignment of your teeth in order to determine how you could benefit from this teeth straightening method. Here, we’ll assess your dental insurance coverage and payment options, then take a look at your bite, the space between your teeth (gaps, crowding, or overlapping), and your overall oral health. If we determine that you would be a good candidate for Invisalign, we’ll schedule another dental appointment where the first set of Invisalign trays is molded to your teeth. Then, you’ll return for regular dental checkups throughout the treatment period (typically every four to six weeks) to ensure your progress with Invisalign.


Invisalign is the preferred teeth straightening method of many dental patients in the area, and we are pleased to offer this cosmetic dentistry procedure at our Ottawa dental clinic. Contact us today to check out Invisalign before and after photos or read Invisalign reviews from happy patients we’ve helped in the past. Our family dentists understand the importance of quality dental care, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more information about Invisalign or any of our other dental treatments.

If you have further questions about Invisalign, contact our dentists today or book your consultation online at Trillium Dental in Ottawa. We look forward to meeting you!


At Trillium Dental in Ottawa, we are pleased to offer Invisalign® teeth straightening treatments for dental patients who prefer a more discreet method than braces. These “clear braces” come with a number of benefits, as they are much less noticeable than metal brackets and generally cause patients less discomfort. Invisalign is the clear choice for many adolescents and adults alike, but many have questions about this advanced dental technology. From our family dentists and dental hygienists, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about Invisalign.


Some patients who visit our Ottawa dental clinic for cosmetic dentistry treatments aren’t quite sure what Invisalign is, much less how it works or why so many people prefer it over traditional braces. Put simply, Invisalign is a teeth straightening method in which a set of clear retainers (also referred to as “clear braces”) are molded to a patient’s teeth with each set being slightly more straight than the one before. These teeth straightening retainers are clear and removable, making them a subtle and comfortable alternative to metal brackets with wires, rubber bands, spacers, etc. Plus, Invisalign is equally as effective as braces!


Another commonly asked question about Invisalign is how the treatment works, given that there are no metal brackets glued to the teeth with metal wires holding them in position. The answer is actually quite simple — Invisalign retainers work by holding your teeth in place with a clear plastic retainer that has been molded to the teeth, which gets switched out with the next retainer after just one to two weeks. These micro-adjustments continue until the patient is on the last retainer in the set, which is the ideal position of their teeth. When the patient has reached this stage of their Invisalign treatment, one of our dentists will assess their progress to ensure that no further corrections need to be made. Then, the patient will be provided with a retainer to wear at night from then on out in order to ensure that their teeth do not move out of the proper alignment over time.


Like braces, the treatment duration of Invisalign is contingent on a number of factors, particularly how diligently you wear your teeth straightening retainers. The Invisalign treatment typically takes between 12 and 15 months to complete, assuming that the patient has worn their retainers at all times (ideally 22 hours per day), except to eat, floss, and brush their teeth. Oftentimes, Invisalign treatments take less time to complete than braces (which can take more than two years), but it can be tempting for patients to remove their retainers more often than recommended, which can prolong the process. However, if you’re consistent with wearing your Invisalign retainers as often as you should, in addition to maintaining good oral hygiene habits, you’ll have perfectly straight teeth in no time!


As previously mentioned, there are many benefits of Invisalign teeth straightening treatments in terms of both aesthetics and patient comfort. Many dental patients opt for Invisalign because the retainers are clear and thus more difficult for others to notice at work and in other social settings, which gives them more confidence when talking with others. Not only are these “invisible braces” less noticeable than braces, but they are also less apparent to the patient, as they acclimate to them quickly and don’t have to endure the constant irritation of tightened wires, cheek scarring, and other painful complications of braces.

With this is the benefit of being able to eat whatever you want, as you can remove Invisalign retainers before you eat, then brush and floss your teeth before putting them back in. Anyone who has had braces knows how frustrating it is to not be able to enjoy your favorite foods because of your braces, and with Invisalign, that’s not an issue. So, don’t be afraid to bite into an apple or chew on your favorite candy when your Invisalign retainers are out, as long as you make sure to keep up on your oral health routine so you don’t encounter dental problems like cavities, gingivitis, or cracked teeth.


Got more questions about Invisalign? Want to know what Invisalign costs and which types of dental insurance apply to this treatment? Continue to part two of this blog series, or contact our family dentists to learn more about the Invisalign treatment process. Our dentists would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have, and we welcome new patients to our Ottawa dental office to take advantage of our teeth straightening options and family dental care. And, if you’re ready to get started, schedule your Invisalign consultation today at Trillium Dental to see whether clear braces are right for you!


Invisalign® is one of the most groundbreaking technological advancements we have seen in the field of orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry, as it provides a far more convenient and comfortable alternative to braces. Not only is Invisalign less inhibiting for patients who are undergoing a teeth straightening procedure, but it is also nearly invisible to others and takes less time to complete. That being said, many of our patients at Trillium Dental in Ottawa seek out Invisalign as a comfortable and discreet way to straighten their teeth. If you’re interested, here’s how it works!


Sometimes referred to as “clear braces,” Invisalign comes in the form of see-through retainers that have been molded to fit in your mouth with minimal discomfort and visibility. Your dentist will do this by taking an imprint of your teeth and ordering a set of teeth straightening trays that range from the first micro-adjustment to the final one, which keeps your teeth perfectly straight. Invisalign retainers are removable for eating and drinking, so it is critical for you to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day for them to be most effective.


After two weeks of diligently wearing your first Invisalign retainer, you can switch it out for the next one in the progression, and so on and so forth until you reach the last teeth straightening tray. This is the equivalent of having your braces tightened, except it tends to be much less painful because it does not involve an orthodontist cranking the wires on your teeth. Of course, this varies from person to person, and some will feel more discomfort than others. It all comes down to how consistent you are with wearing the trays as often as they are meant to be worn.


The process of straightening teeth with Invisalign retainers should only take 15 months, and the end result is well worth the wait. Once you have worn the final aligner tray for two weeks, we will have you visit our dental office so we can evaluate your teeth one final time. If your teeth are perfectly straight and any other issues such as an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or crowding have been corrected, we will provide you with one more retainer to wear only at night. This will ensure that all the time, money, and hard work you invested over the last year will not go to waste, and that you will have a beautiful, straight smile for years to come.


It goes without saying that Invisalign is the top choice for adults and teens who want to straighten their teeth without the pain, hassle, and embarrassment of braces. After all, the point of a teeth straightening procedure is to improve your oral health and build up your confidence, not make you even more self-conscious with metal brackets on your teeth. If you are interested in getting Invisalign retainers, contact our dentists at Trillium Dental in Ottawa today! We would love to provide you with the discreet teeth straightening trays you need to regain confidence in your smile.