Dental Night Guard Side Effects

Welcome to Dentalk, your source for oral health information. In this article, we will be discussing the side effects of dental night guards and how they can impact your oral health. Dental night guards are commonly used to treat bruxism, a condition characterized by clenching or grinding of the teeth, usually during sleep. While these guards can be effective in protecting your teeth, they may also have some potential drawbacks.

Dental Night Guard Side Effects
Dental Night Guard Side Effects

Understanding Bruxism

Bruxism is a common habit that affects 10 to 20% of the global population. It can occur during the day or, more commonly, at night while you sleep. There are different types of bruxism, including teeth clenching and teeth grinding. Awake bruxism occurs when you unconsciously clench your teeth while you’re awake, often accompanied by other habits like biting nails or pressing lips. Sleep bruxism, on the other hand, happens during sleep and can be related to sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

The Consequences of Bruxism

Bruxism is often caused by stress, anxiety, or other psychological factors. It can also have a genetic origin or be linked to certain medical conditions. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to various dental issues, including tooth wear, cracks, fractures, tooth sensitivity, and even sleep disturbances. Grinding your teeth can also damage the enamel, making your teeth more sensitive to temperature and pain over time. Additionally, sleeping bruxism is associated with an increased risk of snoring, sleep apnea, and insomnia.

The Role of Dental Night Guards

One of the most common treatments for bruxism is the use of dental night guards. These custom-fitted plastic or resin devices are placed between the upper and lower teeth to protect them from grinding or clenching. Night guards can be worn either during sleep or throughout the day, depending on the severity of your bruxism. They can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw joints.

Potential Side Effects

While dental night guards are generally safe to use, they may have some side effects. The most common side effect is mild discomfort or soreness in the jaw or facial muscles, especially when you first start using the guard. This discomfort usually subsides over time as your mouth adjusts to the new device. However, if the discomfort persists or worsens, it’s important to consult with your dentist.

Other Treatment Options

In addition to dental night guards, there are other treatment options available for bruxism. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary to correct any misalignments that are contributing to the problem. Physical therapy and postural reeducation can help relax the chewing muscles and reduce muscle fatigue. In severe cases, the use of muscle relaxants, anti-stress or anxiety medications, or even botox injections in the chewing muscles may be recommended.

Managing Bruxism at Home

In addition to professional treatment, there are some steps you can take at home to manage bruxism. Avoiding hard foods and gum, staying hydrated, and practicing relaxation exercises before sleep can help reduce symptoms. Applying ice or moist heat to the jaw muscles and performing gentle exercises or massages can also provide relief.


Dental night guards are a common treatment for bruxism, but it’s important to be aware of their potential side effects. While they can effectively protect your teeth from grinding and clenching, some discomfort or soreness may occur initially. If you experience any persistent discomfort or worsening symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with your dentist for further evaluation and adjustments.

Remember, taking care of your oral health is essential. If you suspect you have bruxism or any other dental concerns, make sure to schedule regular visits with your dentist. And for more helpful oral health tips and information, visit Make You Smile, the ultimate source for all things dental.