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Both night guards and retainers can keep your smile safe and healthy. However, the two devices are used for different purposes. So how do you know which one you need- and what happens if you need both? Here’s what patients need to know about choosing a night guard vs. retainer.

Who Needs a Retainer?

All patients need to wear a retainer after finishing braces or Invisalign treatment. If the teeth are not properly supported with a retainer after orthodontic care, then they can shift back towards their original position in the mouth. Retainers are most commonly worn at night, though some patients will need them during the day as well.

Night Guard Vs. Retainer

Night guards, like retainers, are typically worn at bedtime. However, they are very different tools. Retainers are usually made of an acrylic or plastic base that fits behind the teeth. Thin wires are attached to this base, which are used to keep teeth in a certain position. Night guards are made of a variety of materials, which might be hard or soft. These tools fully cover the surface of the teeth to protect against nighttime tooth grinding.

Can You Use Both Devices?

You can’t use both a night guard and a retainer at the same time. Firstly, this wouldn’t be very comfortable! It could also cause serious damage- to the devices or even to your teeth. If a patient needs to use both tools, then their dentist or orthodontist might recommend they use them on rotation.

The Bottom Line

Don’t feel like you need to choose between a night guard vs. retainer. Your dentist or orthodontist can create a schedule for you to use both- just not at the same time! Of course, make sure you continue regular checkups to ensure that both your retainer and also your night guard are still working correctly.

We Can Help You Protect Your Smile

Adventure Orthodontics offers a wide variety of tools to keep your smile strong, healthy, and properly aligned. From traditional retainers to specialized mouth guards, our team does it all. Not sure which device is right for you? Book an appointment with us. We will assess your teeth and help you choose the best tool to match your goals.

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