night guard pain

Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

Is Your Night Guard Causing You Pain? Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

Let’s first start by determining which type of dental night guard you’re using. Are you wearing a boil and bite or “one size fits all” dental guard that you purchased through a retailer like CVS, Walgreens or Amazon?

If so, this could be an issue. Though some do have success wearing these less expensive versions (in comparison to custom made guards) many people feel discomfort and report being unsatisfied with their purchase.

These mass-produced night guards can even lead to greater problems like increased jaw pain and/or soreness. One of the reasons for this is because mouth arches and teeth sizes are so varied.

It’s terribly difficult to create a “one size fits all” solution. Can a night guard shift your teeth? Perhaps the use of an ill-fitting hard night guard could shift your teeth if worn continuously – or a more likely story is that your teeth may naturally shift over time.

The verdict is in and most agree that custom made night guards are, hands down, the way to go if you must wear a nighttime dental device.

It’s true, they are the best option available in terms of comfort, fit, & durability. If you’re wearing a store bought “one size fits all” dental guard and it’s hurting your teeth at night, you can opt to purchase a custom made night guard. You can get a great quality custom night guard directly from our online dental lab for as low as $99.00 here.

“I purchased a custom night guard and still can’t sleep with it in. Now what?”

teeth grinding and stress

What if you just can’t get used to your new night guard? If you find yourself thinking “my night guard hurts my teeth”, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. There may be a problem with your night guard. A reputable dentist will work with you to resolve your discomfort issue. You shouldn’t be wearing an ill-fitting night guard for several reasons.

Your dentist may have prescribed a night guard because they noticed that you grind or clench your teeth. You may grind your teeth at night, or even catch yourself grinding your teeth during the day. You’ve taken their advice, and wear your night guard faithfully as prescribed.

But within a few days, or maybe over a period of months, you start to notice some changes in your mouth. You’re protecting your teeth against the wear and tear of grinding but you’re concerned. You’ve noticed some changes in your mouth, so you go back to your dentist with the concern that “my night guard hurts my teeth.”

Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard

Why is my night guard causing me pain?

A couple of things to remember:

It may take several nights of consistent use before you adapt to sleeping comfortably with your new guard.
Some light tooth soreness during this time period can be normal.

Night guards should not cause continued pain. When they do, it is often because they are not fitting correctly. Pain may be the only clue that your night guard is not fitting properly.
If you continue to have pain after more than a week of getting your new night guard, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. If you purchased from a direct night guard lab online, you should contact them for a solution. A reputable dental night guard lab will work with you to get a great fitting (and pain free) dental night guard.

Is your night guard causing irritation on the tongue or gums?

It could have a little rough spots or edges and simply needs to be polished. This can be resolved easily by a dental professional.

What are the symptoms of an ill-fitting night guard?

dental night guard cost

Pain is just one possible symptom of an ill-fitting night guard. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • an ache in your jaw or jaw joint next to your ear (called the TMJ)
  • sore spots on your cheeks and tongue
  • tenderness in one or more of your teeth
  • non-specific facial pain or aching

Why is my night guard not fitting my mouth?

  • One common reason can be an inaccurate dental impression that was taken during your initial visit to the dentist – and if you ordered online, you may have distorted your dental impression. A clear cast of your teeth is essential in getting a well-fitting night guard.
  • Improper fabrication of your night guard. Your dental device could be made by an inexperienced worker causing an extremely tight fit or possibly one that’s too loose.

Many changes can happen in our mouths without us noticing. These changes may affect the fit of your night guard.

  • Pieces of food can lodge between your teeth or on the surface of a tooth. You may be able to remove these with a toothbrush or floss. Tartar or calculus can also build up. It may need to be removed by a hygienist. These obstructions can dislodge your night guard.
  • A new filling, or even replacing an old filling, can cause night guards to stop fitting. If you only wear your night guard at night, you may forget to tell your dentist. He will need to adjust it to fit the new filling area. Even if the filling is on an “opposing tooth”, a tooth opposite the night guard, it can affect how the guard fits and functions in your mouth.
  • Sometimes a chip out of a tooth changes the way it fits against the teeth around it. Even a small chip can be enough to change the way your night guard fits.

What further problems do ill-fitting night guards cause?

  • Your teeth may get pushed out of their normal place.
  • Your jaw can become misaligned. This can lead to TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) problems.
  • Other areas of your mouth may become irritated, such as the inside of your cheeks, the edges of your tongue, and your gums.
surfaces damaged during teeth grinding

The important message is to take mouth pain and discomfort seriously. Sentinel Mouthguards recognizes that all night guards are not created equal and that individual preference plays a huge role in finding a night guard that is comfortable. We provide a continuous service, even after your night guard is delivered, to ensure that you are 100% happy with the fit and comfort of your new guard or your money back.

Medically reviewed and verified by:

Dr. Lara Coseo, (DDS, FAGD) is a 2004 graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. 

Having practiced general dentistry for 13 years, Dr. Lara currently serves as an Associate Professor at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.