An Orthodontist Explains the Benefits of Night Guards and Retainers

Posted on: March 15, 2017

OrthodontistAs an orthodontist, one of the questions we are frequently asked is if it is important for a person to use a night guard. The answer is that a night guard can protect one’s teeth from further damage after having to go through any number of orthodontic procedures.

For some people, they require a nighttime retainer even if they have not necessarily had to have some specific orthodontic procedure.  The most common use for a night guard, or a retainer, is when a patient has had their teeth straightened with the help of braces or Invisalign®. Once the teeth move into a new position, it is important to use the retainer so that they do not gradually start to move back out of alignment.

Braces and Retainers

Braces and retainers both have essential functions ensuring that their patient’s teeth remain as straight as possible. In fact, one could very easily argue that retainers are a completion of the treatment that begins with braces. While braces straighten the teeth, the retainer prevents teeth from slipping back into a misaligned position after removing the braces.

It is therefore essential for a patient to wear a retainer after any realignment work.


Another form of retainer, also known as a night guard, is worn because people engage in a practice known as bruxism or teeth grinding. Bruxism is an extremely common problem that an orthodontist can easily diagnose. One of the main symptoms of bruxism is that people wake up in the morning with jaw soreness or tooth pain. Wearing a night guard retainer while sleeping will help to prevent the surfaces of the teeth from grinding together. A night guard can also relieve tooth pain, relax the jaw muscles and even reduce headaches that result from bruxism.

A Retainer Can Save Costs

Regardless of whether the patient has had specific orthodontic work done or is simply trying to reduce the damage to their teeth from bruxism, wearing a retainer or a night guard can be extremely effective in reducing the risk of needing further dental care. In the case of a patient who has had a treatment done, and moves the teeth out of malocclusion into a proper alignment, it is critical that they wear the retainer so that they have not wasted a lot of time and money, only to watch the teeth slip back into misalignment.

For people with conditions like bruxism, wearing a retainer or a night guard can actually help to minimize the potential of having damaged teeth due to the wearing down of enamel. In both of these cases, the patient can save significant amounts of money, and the hassle, of having to see the orthodontist to correct problems that could very easily have been avoided.

Call For More Information

Patients who have further questions are encouraged to call us, to schedule a consultation, and get a comprehensive understanding of how retainers and night guards can help them. We create custom ones that are comfortable to wear.


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