Night guards can be uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to wearing one and haven’t had experience with a retainer or previous mouth guard. But they are a great short-term treatment for sore jaws, nightly teeth grinding, and more serious conditions like TMJ. If your first night wearing the night guard was uncomfortable or it was hard to sleep with the device in your mouth, here are a few tips that can help.

Wear it for an hour or two in the evening.

Any change to your usual sleeping habits can distract you when you’re trying to fall asleep. Having something in your mouth that presses against your teeth can be even worse. So, instead of trying to adapt to it when it’s the only distraction at hand, try wearing the night guard for a bit when you get home after work. You have plenty of distractions and to-do lists to keep the sensation of the night guard from getting in the way, and that exposure will help your mouth adjust to it.

Don’t take breaks.

Your mouth won’t used to a night guard permanently. If you take a few days off from using it, then your jaw and mouth may have readjusted to life without the guard. That means you’ll have to go through the whole process of getting used to the device again. A sporadic night without the night guard may not impact things, but don’t forget to wear it for two or more days in a row.

Talk to your dentist.

Night guards can be a little difficult to get used to, but they shouldn’t be causing you pain. They certainly shouldn’t make your teeth feel tender or like they’re shifting. If you use a mass-produced night guard, it won’t be the right fit for your teeth and that can cause long-term problems. But a night guard from your dentist will be custom-fit for your mouth’s shape. Let them know if something feels wrong, and they can adjust it further.

Go to Exquisite Smiles to schedule an appointment or ask more questions about using a night guard for your TMJ.