Night Guards

Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

will my night guard shift my teeth?

Article updated for accuracy on 02/02/23

Teeth shifting

Your teeth will naturally shift throughout your lifetime. If you have had teeth removed, you may know firsthand how the teeth will move to fill the new empty space. Other causes of teeth shifting include aging, pressure from eating and talking, jaw bone growth, gum disease and teeth grinding.

Will wearing my night guard shift my teeth?

Most night guards will not shift your teeth. However, it is possible that a night guard can shift your teeth if not made properly.

If you’re wearing a night guard and you feel like it’s pulling your teeth, discontinue use immediately.

hard night guard made properly
A hard night guard should snap into place and fit like a glove.
Some initial tightness is normal but it should not feel like it’s pulling your teeth.

One-Size Fits All Night Guards

Why it’s best to avoid boil & bite or one size fits all types

Though some do have success wearing these less expensive versions many people feel discomfort and report being unsatisfied with their purchase. Most mass produced night guards are made of softer material and will not shift your teeth (though they can cause discomfort because of the imperfect fit).

The bigger concern

One-size fits all night guards can 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 impossible to create a true “one size fits all” solution and for this reason, it’s best to avoid the temptation to buy these types.

What is the best way to avoid teeth shifting while wearing a night guard?

Invest in a custom made night guard

The verdict is in.

Custom made night guards are the best option 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, opt to purchase a custom made night guard instead. Want to know the best part? You can get a high quality custom night guard directly from our online night guard lab for a fraction of the dental office cost.

What is the average cost of a night guard?

Dental night guard made in the dental office is $300-$1200

Dental night guard purchased online is $100-$200

Ready-made dental night guard available in chain/retail stores $20-$40

Why do my teeth hurt after wearing my night guard?

woman in pain after wearing a dental night guard

After receiving a new dental night guard, there is a “break in” period. During this time, after removing your night guard, your teeth may feel odd. Common complaints include feelings of pressure/squeezed, discomfort, bite feels off but goes back to normal within the hour of removing the guard. All of this is normal and provided that your night guard is fitting correctly, the night guard should start to feel very comfortable after 7-10 days of continued use.

If your night guard is hurting your teeth you should stop wearing the guard. A reputable dentist and lab will work with you to resolve your discomfort issue. Do not continue wearing your ill-fitting guard.

Why is my night guard causing me pain?

Night guards should not cause continued pain. When they do, it is often because they are not fitting correctly.


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.

How do I relieve tooth pain from wearing my dental night guard?

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 make sure you receive a great fitting dental night guard.

Stop wearing your night guard if you’re experiencing pain or pressure. Your teeth should go back to feeling normal within a few minutes to an hour of removal.

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?

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)
  • pressure on your teeth
  • 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.

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.


sentinel mouthguards author
Ashely Notarmaso

Ashely Notarmaso is the author behind the Sentinel Mouth Guard Blog. She is the CEO and founder of Sentinel Mouth Guards (Founded in 2012) Her long-time work in the dental mouth guard arena and her excellent ability to listen to customer concerns in this often contradictory field has laid the groundwork to explore night guard/mouth guard fabrication in-depth and address real concerns. With the help of her team, she has created a unique fabrication method that promises a great fitting custom oral appliance every time. Amazon’s choice for #1 mouth guard! Visit the online store

Verified By

medically reviewed by dr lara coseo
Dr. Lara Coseo, (DDS, FAGD)

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.