Whether you have braces and your dentist recommended you wear a night guard (or you notice some bruxism symptoms like morning headaches or a sore jaw muscles), you might wonder what it’s like to wear a night guard with braces.
Getting a mouthguard when you have braces isn’t as straightforward as it is for someone without braces, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. You have a few extra things to consider, like safely taking your impressions and dealing with the fact that your teeth move throughout your orthodontic treatment. Learn more about what to consider when reviewing your options for a night guard with braces.
Night Guard Options for Braces Wearers
You can wear a night guard with braces, but there are quite a few considerations to keep in mind when trying to find the right night guard for you. The biggest thing to remember is your teeth will continue to shift while your braces move your teeth, so you might want to think about temporary teeth grinding solutions until you’re done wearing braces. Keep reading to learn about your options for wearing a night guard with braces.
Over-the-Counter Night Guards
You can buy these night guards at your nearest drug store or through online retailers like Amazon or Walmart. They are relatively cheap, often around $20, and the material can be hard or soft. Depending on the type you choose, you will either mold the night guard to your teeth or purchase a one-size-fits-all option.
While your teeth shift due to your braces, you might choose an over-the-counter night guard for two reasons. First, if you choose a night guard that molds to your teeth, you’ll go through a few different guards as your teeth shift. While the extra money is typically worth the custom-fit night guard, you won’t likely get enough use out of the guard to make it worthwhile. Additionally, a night guard designed to fit all mouths is less likely to impede the shifting of your teeth than a custom night guard with a snug fit.
Custom-Fit Night Guards
Custom-fit night guards are still an option if you have braces, but they can be a more complicated solution. Custom-fit night guards are designed to conform to your teeth very snugly, so you’ll likely go through a few different night guards before you get your braces off. Because of that tight fit, you’ll want to look into a soft rather than a hard custom-fit night guard. A soft guard will provide a little more give.
It’s very important to continually evaluate your night guard’s fit, because a custom-fit night guard could work against your braces as your teeth move. You don’t want a dental appliance in your mouth that resists the work your braces are trying to do.
Another consideration with custom-fit night guards is the fitting process, as the material used to take your impressions can harden and stick your braces. Because of this, braces wearers should have their impressions taken by professionals at dental offices.
Although custom-fit mouth guards can be tricky for braces wearers, they might be necessary for people with severe bruxism. Make sure you work closely with your dentist and orthodontist if you decide to use custom-fit mouth guards while wearing braces.
How to Wear a Mouthguard with Braces
Once you decide what type of mouthguard you want to wear with your braces, you’ll need to keep a close eye on how your night guard fits. Because your teeth move slowly and gradually during orthodontic treatment, you may not realize movement is happening.
Make sure you continually check the fit of your night guard. If your night guard feels too snug, or if you notice a major change in your teeth after you purchase your night guard, it’s time to get a new one with a better fit.
You also need to remove your night guard carefully in the morning — don’t yank it off. Take the time to carefully peel it away from your braces so you don’t inadvertently damage either your night guard or your braces.
Another important tip for your oral health: Remember to use your toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth before you put your night guard on. Food can get stuck in braces easily, and putting a night guard over braces can otherwise trap the food against your teeth all night.
Why You Shouldn’t Skip a Night Guard If You Have Braces
With so many things to consider regarding night guards with braces, you might be tempted to just skip this treatment. However, that would not be wise. If left untreated, bruxism can leave you with headaches, jaw pain, tooth pain, and even cracked or chipped teeth. It’s even associated with more serious conditions like TMJ and sleep apnea.
Whether you wear your night guard on your upper or lower teeth, the guard is essential to protecting your teeth. Putting it off until you get your braces off could come back to bite you.
Frequently Asked Questions
The more informed you are, the better you can make a decision regarding wearing a night guard with braces. Find answers to some frequently asked questions below.
Can I wear a dental guard with a retainer?
If you have a permanent wire retainer on the back of your lower or upper teeth, you can safely wear a soft or hybrid night guard. Once your braces come off and you get a plastic retainer, you can wear a custom-fit, hard night guard in place of your retainer.
Can I wear a night guard with Invisalign?
Most invisible aligner braces should be worn nearly 24/7, which makes wearing a night guard tough. For mild grinding or clenching, aligners might provide enough protection until your teeth align. However, you should consult a dentist about the best solution for your bruxism.
There is good news for people who only use Invisalign on their top or bottom teeth. A night guard only needs to be worn on your top or bottom teeth, so you can wear a night guard on the opposite set of teeth as the Invisalign.
Should I spend the money on a night guard if I have braces?
This depends largely on your budget and the severity of your bruxism, so talk to your dentist and orthodontist about your options. If you’re at the beginning of your orthodontic treatment and your teeth still have a lot of moving to do, consider buying an over-the-counter night guard that fits your current smile. But if you’re nearing the end of your treatment and your teeth have almost finished moving, you might be able to purchase one soft custom-fit night guard that will fit until you get your braces off.
Will braces interfere with my night guard?
Your braces won’t interfere with your night guard as long as it fits properly. A soft night guard will work best, as it’s more forgiving than harder options.
Will my night guard interfere with my braces?
The answer to this question is tricky. If your teeth have a lot of moving to do, a hard night guard could interfere with your braces and impede the movement of your teeth. A soft custom-fit night guard will likely interfere the least. However, talk to your dental professionals about the best solution for you during orthodontic treatment.
Protect Your Teeth While Your Smile Straightens
All is not lost if you have braces and also need a night guard. There are plenty of options, and the best option depends largely on your budget and how far along you are in your orthodontic treatment. It’s imperative you talk to your orthodontist so they can help you determine which option will be best for you.
Talk to your dentist and orthodontist about wearing a night guard with braces, so you can protect your teeth every night.