Night Guards

Can You Sleep with a Mouth Guard?

sleeping mouth guard

Can you sleep with a mouth guard?

“You need a night guard, Mary. Plain and simple. Those teeth of yours are going to look like broken eggshells if you keep grinding them together.” The dentist gave her a sincere look.

mouth guard for sleeping

The thought of wearing a plastic teeth guard to bed every night really bothered her. Never one to just fall asleep into blissful oblivion, she couldn’t imagine ever getting used to sleeping with a foreign object in her mouth night after night. Skeptical Mary politely thanked the doctor, went home and took to the internet to explore her options. She thought to herself “Can you really sleep with a mouth guard?”

Comfortable Night Guards and Where to Find Them

Night grinding or bruxism is a condition that is characterized by involuntary grinding of teeth when the individual is asleep at night.

Mouth Guard for Sleeping

How long does it take to get used to wearing one?

Nighttime teeth grinding manifests in varying degrees across patients, and may cause a number of problems. In fact, with the constant grinding at night, teeth structure is likely to suffer since vital tissues of the teeth are exposed as a result of the clenching. The patient’s teeth may become chipped, broken, flattened (thicker in appearance), shorter and/or uneven.

The good news is, these problems are preventable.

Depending on the severity of the problem, the condition may be serious, prompting the individual to resolve the issue as fast as possible. Thankfully, the effects of night grinding can be controlled with a comfortable night guard.

A mouth guard for sleeping is a simple dental appliance that is worn in the mouth so the patient can protect their teeth from the effects of teeth grinding. These effects tend to be irreversible. This means that the moment the damage has occurred, it is impossible for the teeth to regenerate, thus restorative work is needed to fix the problem. This can be costly (way more than the cost of a night guard).

Therefore, it makes sense for the patient to manage their condition using a night guard. And just like most other products on the market, there are many options.

But like Mary, you have questions.

  • Is a night guard uncomfortable to wear?
  • How do you sleep with a mouth guard?
  • Can you sleep with a sports mouth guard for teeth grinding?
  • What are the factors that increase chances of a night guard being uncomfortable?
  • What are some of the characteristics of a comfortable night guard device?
  • What are the best mouth guards for sleeping?

Everyone is different and what works well for one person may not work so well for another.

Comfort depends on the type of night guard a patient chooses and the skill level of the person making the appliance.

If one chooses to go with a store bought night guard, comfort is usually sacrificed, since store bought options are made in mass volume and created for the general public. On the other hand, if one chooses to buy a customized guard made from an impression of the teeth, the device will conform to the natural contours of their dental anatomy, thus it will be more comfortable for them to wear.

Other factors that increase the chances of a night guard being comfortable

Conformity to the mouth, the night guard material and the material thickness will play the main roles in determining comfort level. You can opt for a soft or dual laminate material which feels cozy in the mouth. Soft night guards tend to be very comfortable for those suffering from minor cases of bruxism.

Dual laminate devices with a soft interior and hard exterior tend to be more durable and comfortable to the person wearing them.

A hard custom night guard can be very nice as well, but make sure your dental impression is highly accurate. There is no room for error when wearing a hard night guard. If your hard night guard was made from a distorted dental impression, you will feel it! Thinner is more comfortable, but the thinner you go, the more you sacrifice durability and longevity.
A 2mm thickness tends to be the most popular choice.

Characteristics of a comfortable mouth guard for sleeping


A comfortable mouth guard for sleeping should be constructed with a special kind of plastic which is in perfect sync with the dental tissues & tooth structure in the mouth. You should not use a sports mouth guard in place of a dental night guard. Again, the device has to be a snug fit (not too tight, but not falling out of the mouth) to achieve maximum comfort, a.k.a custom made.

The different types of mouth guards for sleeping and comfort levels

There are three types of night guards a patient can buy. These include the standard types which can be purchased as ready-made, the boil and bite type which are partially customized, and lastly — a custom-made device done by a professional dentist or a specialized night guard lab such as ours.

The first option tends to be uncomfortable since it’s standard. The second option is not so comfortable since it’s slightly modified. Lastly, the fully-customized option is the most comfortable.


Sleeping Mouth Guard for Grinding Teeth

If budget allows, opt for the fully customized mouth guard for sleeping since it’s made from a dental impression of the teeth.

Where can I buy a mouth guard for sleeping? Luckily, dental night guards have become more affordable thanks to the internet and online services that allow you to take your own dental impression using a mail order system. Thickness is a primary factor in night guard comfort. The thinner the guard the more comfortable it is (but may be less durable). Fabrication method is also a factor. A knowledgeable, trained lab technician will be sure to make the night guard as comfortable as possible.


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

Doctor of Dental Surgery
Baylor College of Dentistry

Dr. Lara Coseo earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Baylor College of Dentistry in 2004, and she was awarded a Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry in 2014. Dr. Lara retired from private practice in 2017 after being diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a degenerative retinal disease causing rapid central vision loss. Despite her inability to perform dentistry, she remains passionate about patient education and all aspects of general dentistry. She would love to help you build relationships with your patients through blogging and social media.