Dentistry
Cosmetic
Product Reviews
Updated on December 30, 2022
3 min read

Can a Night Guard Move Your Teeth?

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What is a Night Guard?

Dental night guards are a thin oral appliance, similar to a retainer, that covers the biting surface of your teeth.

You wear it while you sleep to prevent bruxism, a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth. It results in heavy forces on the teeth.

pro teeth guard hybrid night guard with blue carrying case

Bruxism can have significant side effects and impact how you chew, eat, and speak. Wearing a night guard will help you prevent serious damage. 

Other benefits of wearing a night guard include:

  • Less tooth and jaw pain
  • Less risk of developing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Decreased snoring
  • Fewer headaches
  • Better overall dental health

Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

A night guard can shift your teeth. This is because night guards may put pressure on your teeth and slowly but surely move them over time. 

However, night guards aren't meant to shift your teeth. They're designed to protect your teeth from damage while you sleep.

Signs Your Night Guard Is Shifting Your Teeth

These are the signs that your night guard is shifting your teeth:

  • Tooth pain
  • It falls off your teeth
  • A sore mouth 
  • Inability to wear the device without discomfort
  • Cuts in your mouth

How to Prevent a Night Guard from Shifting Teeth

Ensuring the night guard fits well in your mouth can help prevent tooth shifting. Night guards that don't fit properly can put pressure on your teeth or cause discomfort.

If it doesn't fit right, try using a different size or shape. You might also consider having a dentist make a new one for you. 

They can create a custom night guard specifically shaped to fit your mouth. A properly made custom-made night guard will not shift your teeth and will fit more comfortably.

What to Do If a Night Guard Shifts Your Teeth

See your dentist immediately if you suspect your night guard is shifting your teeth. Using a night guard every night helps keep your teeth protected. It will also prevent other problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Habitual wear can help stop tooth damage and facial pain. If you only wear your night guard sometimes, bruxism can still damage your teeth, but at a slower pace.

However, contact your dentist immediately if your teeth are shifting while wearing a night guard. They can create a new night guard for you.

During your visit, your dentist will evaluate your situation. If your teeth have shifted, they can tell you what needs to be done. They may also recommend you to an orthodontist if necessary.

How to Adjust to Night Guards

Here are some tips for getting used to your night guard:

  • Get a customized night guard — A custom fit will sit more comfortably in your mouth than an over-the-counter mouth guard.
  • Wear your night guard during the day for short periods — This will help you become consciously used to how it feels. It will also help you practice breathing while wearing your night guard.
  • Keep your night guard clean — Brush it with mild liquid hand soap, so it’s more comfortable and sanitary. After brushing, dry off the night guard to prevent any moisture collection.

Types of Night Guards

The types of night guards include:

  • Over-the-counter mouth guards — General mouth guards you can pick up at the pharmacy without a prescription.
  • Custom night guard for bruxism — These are designed to fit your mouth shape and help prevent tooth grinding and jaw clenching.
  • Night guard for sleep apnea — This night guard creates a narrow passage between the jaws that can boost airflow, enhance breathing, and help relieve sleep apnea symptoms.

Summary

Night guards protect your teeth at night. Some night guards may shift your teeth, especially if they don't fit correctly. If this happens, see your dentist as soon as possible. They can replace the night guard with a custom-made one that won't shift your teeth.

Last updated on December 30, 2022
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on December 30, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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