4 Dental Night Guard Side Effects

4 Dental Night Guard Side Effects

What are the dental night guard side effects you should know about? Read on to find out.

A dental night guard will come in handy for those suffering from bruxism or teeth grinding. The mouth guard helps alleviate different symptoms like tooth damage, tight jaw muscles and headache. Night guards usually prevent the lower and upper set of teeth from coming in contact as it provides a cushion to protect them.

The physical barrier helps prevent teeth grinding while the cushion relieves pressure on the jaw as a result of clenching the teeth during sleep. However, in some scenarios, the night guard usually comes with potential side effects. The side effects are minor but its important to know what to expect and how to deal with the issue before investing in a night guard.

Types of Dental Night Guards

Dental night guards usually come in two different types – custom-made and over the counter ones.

You can get over the counter night guards in pharmacies without a prescription and are only available in one size fit or boil and bite dental night guards. The two types usually contour to the shape of the teeth slightly but will not give you an actual custom fit. Over the counter mouth guards are relatively cheaper and convenient but are equally uncomfortable and likely to affect your dental formula negatively.

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Custom-made night guards are more comfortable since they tend to mold to the contours of your teeth and are thinner. Besides, they are made from soft materials. One mouthpiece cannot work in the same way for everyone because our mouths are different. This type of night guard also comes with side effects but the risks are higher when using over the counter one. Being conversant with the possible side effects will help you solve the issue sooner and faster.

Dental Night Guard Side Effects

Here are some potential side effects of the dental night guard and how to go about them:

#1. Irritation and Minor Discomfort

Using the night guard for the first time may cause slight irritation and minor side effects but stops overtime in some cases. It’s quite normal for the mouthguard to feel strange when you begin using it. Some people even find trouble catching sleep when they finally get used to it since the jaw tends to feel sore in the morning after uninstalling the dental night guard. Check with the dentist if irritation and discomfort persist to re-evaluate the dental night guard fit.

#2. An Ill-Fitting Dental Night Guard Causes Soreness, Pressure or Pain

When you invest in a dental night guard, ensure it fits properly so that you don’t experience pain. Don’t assume the pain especially if your custom-fit or over the counter night guard is ill-fitting to avoid dealing with bigger problems like jaw misalignment and teeth shifting as a result.

You can solve this issue by switching to a custom-made dental night guard if you are using over the counter one. Have the dentist take another impression if you are using a custom-fit that doesn’t fit correctly to get a better fit. The pain sometimes can be as a result of sharp edges and incompatible thickness with the mouth.

#3. Dental Night Guard Can Shift Your Teeth

The dental night guard can shift your teeth if it’s not fitted properly worsening temporomandibular joint dysfunction – TMJ. Those who have braces can relate to the soreness and pain that comes with shifting teeth. You shouldn’t experience any of these when wearing a night guard.

Check with your dentist for adjustments if you any movement of the teeth when wearing the dental night guard. You might need to change the night guard you are currently using or get the doctor to take another impression for a more secure fit.

RECOMMENDED: Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

#4. Jaw Misalignment and Pain

Jaw misalignment is a potential side effect although it’s not common compared to the ones mentioned above. You may notice a shift in the jaw alignment or experience some pain after wearing the night guard for a while. Seek medical attention immediately when you notice these signs since misalignment of the jaw tends to worsen bruxism and also cause TMJ related disorders.

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Sometimes, the dental night guard leaves the anterior teeth untouched but causes the posterior ones to keep touching the mouthguard’s plastic, according to Dr. Michael Cortese, a maxillofacial prosthodontist. The unevenness in tooth contact can worsen bruxism and other TMJ disorders.

Consult the dentist to ascertain which dental night guard suits you better, whether soft or hard. Fit is very important when it comes to mouthguards and taking care of the potential side effects will help improve your health.


A dental night guard is a perfect solution for those who grind their teeth during sleep. Check up with the dentist if you experience any negative side effects when using it. In some cases, getting a better fit or taking another impression helps solve the problem. Re-evaluate your night guard’s style and fit if things don’t feel right or a slight discomfort turns to pain. Remember, your oral health is very important.

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