Does Sleeping with a Night Guard Damage Your Gums?

Does Sleeping with a Night Guard Damage Your Gums?

The Brux Doc The Brux Doc
5 minute read

If you wear night guard (also called a mouth guard) to protect your teeth from grinding , you may find yourself worried about the way it fits. Maybe you’re waking up with pain along your gum line or increased tooth and gum sensitivity.  In either case, something is clearly not right.

Let’s break down whether a night guard can cause damage and how a night guard should and shouldn’t fit.

An ill-fitting night guard can damage your gums.

If you’re new to wearing a night guard, it’s important to know that there is an adjustment period, but that shouldn’t mean that the night guard is causing pain and sensitivity to become a part of your life.

Any night guard that is rubbing against your gums or pushing into your gumline can cause not only pain but also damage over time. The irritation you feel can cause your gums to become chronically inflamed, which contributes to issues such as gum disease and recession. So, you should not ignore gum pain or irritation and assume it is just part of getting used to your night guard.

What should you do about it?

If the night guard that is causing you pain is a custom night guard (it’s rare to have issues with these but not impossible), you should get in touch with the dentist’s office or company through which you purchased the guard and get a replacement that addresses the issue.

More often, gum pain is a result of using a generic night guard. These are sold at many drug stores and are not fitted to your specific mouth, which means they can be too long or too deep for your teeth and jaw. A night guard that is too long will push against the back of your mouth, and a night guard that is too deep will rub against your gum line.

Fortunately, most generic night guards can be trimmed. So, your first course of action can be to modify the night guard a little to see if you can keep it from touching your gums or pushing into the back of your mouth.

However, because generic night guards are not molded around your specific teeth, trimming them down significantly can cause them to slide around and pop on and off too easily. If this is the case, you will need to invest in a custom night guard instead.

How a well-fitted night guard protects your gums.

As surprising as it may sound, a well-fitted night guard will actually protect your gums from damage over time, not contribute to it.

Teeth grinding and clenching can send a lot of pressure through the teeth and into the gums, leading to inflammation that contributes to gum disease and gum recession.

By lessening the impact of clenching and cushioning the teeth from the effects of grinding, a good night guard actually benefits not only the teeth but also the gums. In fact, a well-fitted night guard that is cared for and cleaned properly improves oral health overall.

How do I make sure my night guard fits well?

Your night guard should be snug enough to stay in place but not tight enough to hurt or pinch. A good test for a night guard worn on your top teeth is to put it in place and then open your mouth. If the guard easily drops off of your teeth, it is too loose.

If, on the other hand, you feel that the guard is biting into your teeth, it is too tight. If the guard presses or rubs against your gums, it is too deep. And if it pushes against the back of your mouth, it is too long.

The acceptable hurdles to adjusting to wearing a night guard are:

  • Getting used to a little extra pressure against the inside of your cheek (though it should not feel sharp or cutting)
  • Becoming accustomed to more restricted movement of the tongue
  • Finding ways to deal with either dry mouth or increased saliva production (wearing a night guard can cause either or both of these).

Often, dry mouth results from sleeping with your mouth slightly open, which can be fixed with a chin strap that holds your jaw shut during sleep.

Increased saliva can diminish as your body grows accustomed to the night guard, but you can also help yourself out by waiting for a little between brushing your teeth and putting in the night guard. The minty-ness of toothpaste can sometimes contribute to saliva production.

Invest in a custom night guard that works for you.

If you have pain and you have been relying on a generic night guard, it’s time to switch to a custom one. If you have a custom guard that’s bothering you, it’s time to try a different brand or a different density of material.

At TeethNightGuard, we offer a range of styles and densities and provide a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. We want you to be fully satisfied with your purchase. Plus, you’ll save money by ordering directly instead of going through your dentist.

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