What's the Difference Between a Retainer and a Night Guard?

What's the Difference Between a Retainer and a Night Guard?

The Brux Doc The Brux Doc
5 minute read

Retainers and night guards are both dental appliances that can help you get a good night’s sleep and maintain your oral health. They can also have similar designs, but there are some key differences between them.

A retainer is a removable mouthpiece that holds your teeth in place at night (or all day long) to prevent movement of the teeth themselves over time. Usually, an orthodontist will outfit you with a retainer if you have had orthodontic treatment, like braces, for crooked teeth or misalignment. Some retainers are permanent, but, more often, a retainer is a removable device that you wear while sleeping to keep your teeth in their proper positions.

A night guard (also known as a mouth guard) is a removable device designed to protect your teeth from the damaging friction and pressure caused by grinding your teeth during sleep.

What are the benefits of using a retainer?

If you have spent a lot of money straightening your teeth or fixing your bite, you want to ensure that your time and effort are not wasted. That’s why you will want a retainer to help your teeth stay in their new position—in other words: “retain” their new placement.

Retainers are simple to use and can usually be taken out. Many retainers also come in clear plastic so that they blend in with your teeth and are barely noticeable. You usually need to remove them to eat, but you can wear them day and night to help your teeth adjust to and settle long-term in their new positions.

What are the benefits of using a night guard?

Night guards help to protect teeth from grinding, which can cause damage to your gums, jaw, and the teeth themselves. Some complications that arise from teeth grinding include headaches and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder syndrome.

Night guards are not a fix-all for teeth grinding, meaning they cannot prevent you from carrying tension in your jaw and grinding your teeth at night. You will need to find other ways of lowering stress and addressing underlying issues that might be leading you to grind your teeth. However, night guards are a great way to ensure that whatever grinding you are doing does not lead to cracked, chipped, or loose teeth and does not increase your risk of periodontal disease.

Regular use of a night guard in combination with stress reduction and relaxation exercises and routines before bed can help you get a good night's sleep. This leads to improved overall health and well-being, as well as enhanced energy levels during the day.

Better overall health and greater energy can then create a positive feedback loop: helping you further relax the jaw muscles that are leading you to grind your teeth. In short, investing in a night guard encourages you to address your teeth grinding in a meaningful way that can improve your overall well-being.

You can combine a retainer and a night guard.

If you need a retainer but you also grind your teeth as night, you can choose a retainer that will act a lot like a night guard. Pick a plastic retainer that goes over your teeth.

When choosing either a night guard or retainer, know that the denser the plastic, the more protection and durability you will get out of your device. Hard plastic, however, can sometimes feel uncomfortable, especially to new wearers. So, you might need to start with something soft and flexible and work your way up. Or you might want to settle for a compromise with medium density and flexibility.

Whatever you choose, TeethNightGuard can help.

Night guards and retainers can get pricey, especially if you order them through a dentist. But you don’t want to skimp and buy a generic night guard from the pharmacy because it simply doesn’t work as well. And there’s no such thing as a generic retainer; those always need to be custom molded.

So, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and expense by ordering either a night guard or a retainer through TeethNightGuard. We’ll send you a kit with simple instructions on how to take a mold of your own mouth, and then we’ll keep your information on file so you can keep ordering from us when you need replacements.

You’ll get all the quality that you would get by ordering through a dentist but at a fraction of the cost. We know how important your oral health is, especially over the long term. And we know it’s easy to let things slide when there’s not a pressing issue in the moment, like a cracked tooth. But we want to save you the pain (and dental expense) of a cracked tooth down the road. So, we’ve ensured that our customers have a way to order their supplies directly. And we always back up our work with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

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