Can Night Guards Straighten Teeth?

Can Night Guards Straighten Teeth?

19th Dec 2021

Mouthguards for bruxism — a condition commonly known as teeth grinding — are made to protect teeth from grinding damage. Custom fitted night guards are formed to perfectly fit your mouth. Can night guards straighten teeth as well as protect you from grinding?

While certain mouthguards can straighten teeth, night guards used for bruxism are not designed to straighten your teeth. Protecting your oral health means knowing the types of night guards and using the correct appliances to treat your dental problems. Each dental care appliance serves a different purpose.

can night guards straighten teeth

Can A Night Guard Straighten Your Teeth?

The purpose of a custom fit night guard for bruxism is to protect teeth from grinding and clenching, not to straighten teeth. Night guards are durable and often thicker than invisible aligners and/or retainers. While the extra bulk of night guards serves an important role in preventing grinding damage, it does not make it an ideal candidate for teeth straightening.

When you get a night guard for bruxism, you will have an impression taken of your teeth the way they are currently aligned. The resulting guard should fit your teeth perfectly, which means that it cannot move or straighten your teeth. When you use invisible aligners to straighten your teeth, you need to continually get new aligners as your teeth shift. When you use a night guard, one single guard can protect your teeth for years.

Some dentists and orthodontists recommend using a mouthguard to prevent further damage after some orthodontic treatments.

While mouthguards are not typically used to straighten teeth, some splints are used to adjust a bite. For instance, repositioning splints for TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) assist with malocclusion and shift the bite into proper alignment to relieve pressure on the jaw muscles. Stabilization splints for TMJ work to keep a bite in proper alignment. Although these devices can shift bite positioning, they are not meant to straighten teeth.

will a night guard keep my teeth in place

What is The Difference Between a Retainer and a Mouthguard?

Retainers and mouthguards may look similar but they serve different purposes.

Clear aligner retainers (such as Invisalign) are often used for teeth straightening. Retainers are also used to keep previously crooked teeth in position after they've been moved into proper alignment. Patients are often asked to wear these overnight, but they are not designed to protect teeth from grinding.

A case report in the International Journal of Orthodontics noted that some TMJ cases can be treated with Invisalign. (Miller 2009) Once the teeth are straightened, however, an invisible aligner should not be used as a night guard for bruxism. Depending on the severity of teeth grinding, a retainer may crack under the pressure, so it is not an effective treatment for bruxism.

A dental night guard, on the other hand, is used to protect the teeth when they grind against each other. It’s designed to be durable and can absorb the force of teeth grinding and clenching to protect your teeth and jaw from the pressure.

Retainers and Invisalign aligners may provide some protection from grinding if they fit over all of the teeth on either the upper or lower jaw. However, protecting teeth is not their purpose as they are not built to withstand the clenching and grinding forces. If you try to use your invisible aligner or retainer to protect your teeth from grinding, you may quickly wear holes into the bite surface of the appliance.

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can a night guard straighten your teeth

Can a Mouthguard Shift Teeth?

A well-designed night guard should not shift your teeth. Over-the-counter one-size-fits-all mouthguards, however, can shift teeth because they are not custom fit to your mouth.

If a custom-fit guard is not fitted correctly, your teeth may potentially shift as well. If you have a night guard and you suspect it is moving your teeth, talk to your dentist right away. You might notice your teeth are shifting if you experience soreness or a change in your smile. Your dentist can examine your teeth and mouthguard to make sure your night guard fits correctly.

Mouthguards designed to protect teeth from bruxism fit over the bite surface of all the upper or lower teeth. A specific type of mouthguard called an NTI-tss device; however, only fits over the two front teeth. The NTI appliance is typically used to treat TMJ, but it does have the potential to shift teeth and cause an open bite.

A review of literature on changes to the bite after night guard use found that it is possible for some night guards to shift teeth. “The use and effects of partial coverage appliances require very careful monitoring,” the authors noted. (Bereznicki et al 2018) While many people use night guards with no negative side effects, be sure to follow up with your dentist regularly and keep an eye on any symptoms of potentially shifting teeth. Dentists can examine their patient’s teeth and night guards for signs of wear or signs of shifting.

Mouthguards for Bruxism

Bite guards designed to treat bruxism should not be used to straighten your teeth. Likewise, aligners such as Invisalign that are designed to straighten your teeth should not be used as a night guard for bruxism. Protecting your oral health can help you avoid future dental treatments such as dental implants or dentures.

If you already have a mouthguard designed to straighten your teeth or keep them in place, it may be tempting to use that device as a night guard for bruxism. However, mouthguards like these are not designed to protect your teeth. Without a night guard for bruxism, you may experience adverse effects on your dental health such as jaw pain, tooth damage, or worn tooth enamel.

At Pro Teeth Guard, you can get a custom-fit mouthguard to protect your teeth from bruxism at an affordable price. We make our night guards in a professional dental lab, and every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.

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