Updated on February 9, 2024
4 min read

Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

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Some people may consider getting a night guard to prevent teeth grinding a night. While a dental night guard provides various benefits, it may shift your teeth.

However, can a night guard shift your teeth? Let’s learn about it below.

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.

If you get a custom-fitted night guard, you can prevent teeth shifting. A dental professional can create custom-fit night guards that fit comfortably.

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

Wearing a custom night guard can help prevent tooth shifting. An ill-fitting night guard can put pressure on your teeth or cause discomfort.

Try using a different size or shape if your night guard doesn’t fit right. You might also consider having a dentist make a new one for you. 

They can create a night guard specifically shaped to fit your mouth. This will prevent teeth shifting and fit more comfortably. A custom-made night guard should fit securely around your teeth. Inform your dentist if your night guard is too tight or falls off.

What to Do If a Night Guard Shifts Your Teeth

Contact your dentist immediately if your teeth shift 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.

Using a custom night guard every night helps keep your teeth protected. A night guard will also prevent other problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

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 a night guard while you sleep to prevent bruxism. It’s a condition in which you grind or clench your teeth, resulting in heavy forces on the teeth.

Night Guard

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

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

How Do Night Guards Work?

A night guard creates a protective layer between your top teeth and bottom teeth.

At night, your muscles are relaxed, and your brain’s unaware of what’s happening in your mouth. This may result in severe teeth grinding, causing jaw muscle pain, tooth sensitivity, and other oral health issues.

Wearing a night guard will reduce the effects of teeth grinding at night. When you sleep, your teeth will meet the soft material as the night guard takes the brunt of the force.

Night Guard vs. Mouth Guard

You may confuse a mouth guard for a night guard. They both protect your upper and lower teeth, but still differ.

Athletes use mouth guards to protect their teeth while playing their sport. Wearing mouth guards while playing contact sports like boxing, martial arts, or hockey, will prevent damaged teeth.

On the other hand, a night guard is worn to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching at night. Wearing a custom night guard will also help prevent jaw pain.

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 teeth 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.

How to Adjust to Night Guards

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

  • Get a customized night guard — Custom night guards will sit more comfortably in your mouth than an over-the-counter night 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.


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 February 9, 2024
7 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 9, 2024
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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