Mouth Guard for Teeth Grinding: A Comprehensive Guide

Teeth grinding, clinically known as bruxism, refers to the involuntary and often unconscious act of grinding and clenching one’s teeth. This common condition can occur during both daytime and nighttime, but night bruxism is particularly prevalent. Understanding the underlying causes, coupled with appropriate interventions, plays a crucial role in managing and mitigating the effects of grinding teeth on oral health and overall well-being.

Dental professionals commonly recommend the use of a custom-made mouth guard, sometimes called a night guard, dental guard, or dental night guard, as a preventive measure and effective protection. These oral appliances act as a protective barrier, cushioning the teeth and minimizing the impact of grinding.

Mouth Guards for Teeth Grinding


What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard or dental night guard for bruxism, is a dental device designed to protect the teeth from the harmful effects of grinding and clenching. Bruxism often occurs involuntarily at night, and the repeated actions can lead to various dental problems, including tooth wear, fractures, and damage to the jaw joint.

The primary purpose of a mouth or night guard is to act as a cushion between the upper teeth and lower teeth, preventing direct contact and reducing the impact of grinding forces. By creating a barrier, the mouth or night guard helps to distribute the pressure evenly across the teeth, minimizing the risk of dental damage.


Mouth Guard

Prevalence of Nighttime Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Night grinding is a common issue affecting a significant portion of the population. People grind or clench their teeth during sleep, but can find relief and protection through the use of a night guard.

Night Guard for Teeth Grinding
Night Guards
A custom night guard is designed to provide comfort and optimal protection during sleep. The demand for the best night guards has risen as people seek a solution to address the detrimental effects of bruxism.
Mouth Guard for Good Sleep
Importance of a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night sleep is essential for overall well-being. Wearing a night guard can significantly improve the quality of rest.
Mouth Guard for Light Grinding
Addressing Moderate Clenching and Light Grinding
A night guard is particularly effective in managing clenching and light grinding. By providing a cushioning barrier between the upper and lower teeth, the night guard reduce the impact and minimize the risk of dental issues.
Mouth Guard for Dental Protection
Benefits Beyond Dental Protection
Beyond dental protection, a custom night guard contributes to reducing snoring in some individuals. The custom fit and proper alignment provided by a night guard can positively influence sleeping patterns and, consequently, snoring habits.
Mouth Guard for TMJ
Preventing TMJ Issues
A custom night guard fitting either the upper or lower teeth plays a crucial role in preventing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, as they help alleviate the strain on the jaw joint caused by clenching or grinding.
Mouth Guard a Comfortable Fit
Tongue and Comfortable Fit
 A well-fitted custom night guard not only protects the teeth but also ensures comfort for the tongue and surrounding oral tissues. Custom made guards are typically designed by a dentist to fit either upper or lower teeth.
Convenient Solution for Worn Teeth
A night guard offers a convenient solution for individuals with worn teeth due to grinding. They act as a preventive measure, protecting against further tooth wear.
Mouth Guard for Worn Teeth
Cost-Effective Dental Protection
Investing in a quality product can be cost-effective because of its long term dental health benefits. Preventing issues like chipped teeth and TMJ disorders can save individuals from more extensive and expensive dental treatments.

The prevalence of night grinding has driven the popularity of custom night guards as a practical and effective solution. The emphasis on a good night’s sleep, the need for dental protection, and the desire to address issues such as snoring and TMJ issues have contributed to the increasing recognition of the benefits of a night guard in promoting overall oral health and well-being.


Mouth Guard or Night Guards

Are Mouth Guards or Night Guards Safe?

Mouth guards or night guards are non-invasive and do not involve surgery or complex procedures. They are typically designed by taking impressions of the teeth to create a custom-fitted guard. They are commonly made from biocompatible materials that are safe for oral use. These materials are durable, comfortable, and pose minimal risk of adverse reactions.

Properly fitted guards are effective in minimizing the complications associated with bruxism, including headaches, facial pain, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. They not only protect the teeth but also help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with bruxism. This contributes to the overall safety and well-being of individuals using these devices.


Benefits of Mouth Guards

Using a mouth guard provides several benefits, primarily aimed at protecting the teeth and alleviating issues associated with teeth grinding. Some key advantages of using a mouth guard are:


Prevention of Dental Damage

The primary purpose of a custom mouth guard or night guard is to create a protective barrier between the upper teeth and lower teeth, minimizing direct contact. This also transfers the bite force from the back teeth which helps prevent excessive wear and damage to the tooth enamel in teeth grinders.


Alleviation of Jaw Pain and Discomfort

Guards provide a cushioning effect, absorbing the forces generated by grinding and clenching. Teeth grinders will often comment that their jaws don’t hurt anymore.


Reduction of Headaches

Grinding is often linked to tension headaches caused by the constant clenching of the jaw muscles. A well-fitted guard can reduce the frequency and intensity of these headaches.


Improved Sleep Quality

By addressing the underlying cause of grinding, night guards can contribute to improved sleep quality. A night guard minimizes the disruptive effects of nighttime teeth grinding, reduce snoring, and help relieve any sleep disorder.


Preservation of Dental Work

Individuals with dental restorations such as crowns or veneers can benefit from using a night guard. It helps protect these restorations from damage caused by grinding forces.


Prevention of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Issues

Supports Jaw Joint Health: guards transfer the bite force away from the back teeth and can assist in preventing or alleviating temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) by reducing strain on the TMJ, promoting proper jaw alignment, and minimizing excessive pressure on the joint.


Custom-Fitted Comfort

Enhanced Comfort: Custom made guards are the best mouth guards. They are crafted by dental professionals based on impressions of the individual’s teeth, offer superior comfort compared to over-the-counter options. Some designs only cover the front teeth.


Preservation of Oral Tissues

Prevents Soft Tissue Damage: Mouth guards protect against accidental biting of the cheeks, tongue, or lips during sleep, preventing soft tissue injuries.


Cost-Effective Prevention

Avoids Costly Dental Procedures: Investing in a mouth guard or night guard can be a cost-effective preventive measure. It helps avoid the need for more extensive and expensive dental treatments for worn or damaged teeth caused by untreated bruxism.


Reduced Impact on Speech and Daily Activities

Minimal Interference: While there may be an initial adjustment period, properly fitted mouth guards have minimal impact on speech and daily activities. Users can adapt quickly to the device.

Mouth Guard Side Effects

Potential Side Effects and Mitigation Strategies

While mouth guards or night guards for teeth grinding and clenching are generally safe and effective, there can also be potential side effects. It’s important to note that many of these side effects are often temporary and can be managed with proper use and care. They may include:

Discomfort and Tenderness
Discomfort or Tenderness
Initially, wearing a new guard may cause discomfort or tenderness in the jaw, teeth, or gums. This is typically a normal adjustment period. Gradual acclimatization to wearing it and ensuring it is properly fitted can help minimize discomfort.
Change in Bite
Change in Bite
In some cases, a mouth guard may slightly alter the way your upper teeth and lower teeth come together. This change is usually minimal and temporary. If there are persistent changes in your bite, consult with your dentist for adjustments.
Salivation and Dry Mouth
Salivation and Dry Mouth
Some individuals may experience increased salivation or dry mouth when wearing a mouth guard. Staying well-hydrated can help manage these symptoms. It’s often a temporary response to the presence of a foreign object in the mouth.
Gagging Sensation
Gagging Sensation
Some people may experience a gagging sensation while wearing a mouth guard. Working with your dentist to adjust the fit of the guard and gradually getting used to wearing it can help reduce the gagging sensation.
Speech Impairment
Speech Impairment
Initially, wearing a mouth guard may affect speech. With practice and consistent use, most individuals adapt, and any speech changes become minimal.
Allergic Reactions
Allergic Reactions
While rare, some individuals may be sensitive or allergic to some materials used in a night guard. Our high-quality, hypoallergenic guards can minimize this risk. If any signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., itching, redness, swelling) occur, consult your dentist promptly.
Digestive Issues
Digestive Issues
In very rare cases, individuals who grind their teeth heavily may inadvertently swallow a small portion of the mouth guard during sleep. If you suspect this has occurred, seek medical attention promptly. Using properly fitted guards and following care instructions can reduce the risk of accidental swallowing.

If you have concerns or are experiencing persistent issues, communicate promptly with your dentist.

Types of th GuardsMou for Teeth Grinding


Types of Mouth Guards for Teeth Grinding

There are several types of mouth guards available and the most suitable option depends on individual preferences and the severity of bruxism. Here are the main types of mouth guards for teeth grinding and clenching:



The best night guard is a custom-fitted mouth guard designed specifically for an individual’s teeth. It is crafted based on impressions taken by a dental professional for a precise fit.


Superior comfort, providing optimal protection, and minimal interference with speech and breathing.


Higher cost compared to over-the-counter options.



Boil-and-bite mouth guards are available over-the-counter and can be molded to fit the teeth after softening in hot water.


More affordable than custom-fitted guards, readily available.


Boil and bite guards may not be as precise and as comfortable as custom-fitted guards.


Stock Mouth Guards

Stock mouth guards are pre-formed and come in standard sizes. They are ready to use without any customization.


Inexpensive and widely available.


Often less comfortable and may provide a less secure fit compared to custom or boil-and-bite options


Dual Laminate

These mouth guards have a soft inner layer for comfort and a hard outer layer for durability.


Combines the advantages of both soft and hard materials, providing comfort and protection.


May be bulkier than other types.


Hard/Soft Hybrid

These mouthguards combine a soft inner layer with rubber-like material for comfort and a hard outer layer for durability and protection.


Offers a balance of comfort and protection.


May be bulkier than other types.


Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)

MADs are a specific type of mouth guard or night guard designed to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They reposition the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open during sleep.


Addresses both teeth grinding and sleep apnea.


Requires careful fitting and monitoring, may not be suitable for everyone.

When choosing a night guard, it’s essential to consider factors such as comfort, effectiveness, and compliance with regular use. Consulting with a dental professional is recommended to determine the most suitable type based on an individual’s specific needs and the severity of teeth grinding and clenching. Custom-fitted guards, though typically more expensive, often provide the best combination of comfort and protection.

Book With Us

Book With Us

Santa Ynez Valley Dental is your trusted partner in promoting optimal oral health and providing effective solutions for issues like night teeth grinding. Our dedicated team understands the significance of a good night’s sleep and the impact of bruxism on your dental well-being.

Our custom-fitted night guards stand out as the best night guard solution, offering unparalleled comfort and dental protection. Crafted with precision based on impressions of your unique dental anatomy, our night guards provide a secure and comfortable fit.

At Santa Ynez Valley Dental, we prioritize individualized care and offer regular follow-up appointments to assess the effectiveness of your night guard and make any necessary adjustments. Take the first step towards a healthier, more restful sleep by consulting our dentist’s office today. Your journey to a brighter smile and better sleep starts with a custom fit night guard.



Q: How long does it take to get a mouth guard for teeth grinding?

A: The procedure typically requires two visits – one for impressions and another for fitting. The entire process usually takes a few weeks.

Q: Can I clean my guard with regular toothpaste?

A: It’s recommended to clean your guard with a mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid using toothpaste, as it may be abrasive and damage the guard over time.

Q: Can I wear a guard if I have braces or dental implants?

A: Yes, you can wear a guard if you have braces or dental implants. In fact, using a guard is often recommended in these situations to protect your dental appliances and ensure the overall health of your oral structures.

Q: Will the guard affect my speech?

A: While there may be a brief adjustment period, most individuals find that their speech returns to normal within a short time.

For more specific inquiries, feel free to contact our dental office. Your dentist is ready to address your concerns and help you on your journey to better oral health.