Can Retainers Offer Relief from Teeth Grinding?

For folks living in Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, and other areas. Maintaining a radiant smile and healthy teeth is a top concern. However, this can be disrupted by teeth grinding, or bruxism, a common dental issue.


Bruxism can trigger a host of dental complications, including tooth wear and discomfort in the jaw. At I Song Orthodontics, we frequently field questions about the potential of retainers to help with teeth grinding. In this article, we’re diving into the relationship between retainers and bruxism, and discussing possible solutions.

Decoding Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a harmful habit that often goes unnoticed. It is quite prevalent, especially during sleep, and is even more acute among some patients. Its effects, however, can be felt upon waking up, with symptoms like jaw discomfort, headaches, and neck pain.

The grinding action can wreak havoc on your teeth, gradually eroding the enamel, leading to chips, fractures, and even pulp exposure, which can result in pain and infection.

Do Orthodontic Retainers Alleviate Teeth Grinding?

Orthodontic retainers, commonly used in places like San Pablo and Pinole, are primarily designed to preserve the alignment of teeth post-orthodontic treatment. While they aren’t specifically designed to tackle bruxism, they can have a mitigating effect on certain facets of this condition.


Retainers can serve as a protective shield between the upper and lower teeth, potentially diminishing the wear and tear caused by grinding. This protective role can help prevent further damage. Moreover, for those whose bruxism is associated with bite issues or misaligned teeth, retainers can be beneficial by maintaining the teeth in their corrected positions.


This could potentially reduce the incidence of grinding. In some situations, orthodontic solutions, like braces or Invisalign, may be used in tandem with retainers to address the root causes of bruxism, such as underlying bite problems.

Is it Safe to Use a Retainer as a Mouthguard?

Substituting a retainer for a mouthguard is generally not recommended. Despite both being dental appliances, retainers and mouthguards have distinct purposes. Retainers are devised to preserve the alignment of teeth post-orthodontic treatment, while mouthguards shield teeth from grinding or clenching during activities like sleep or sports.


Attempting to use a retainer as a mouthguard may not offer adequate protection and could potentially damage the retainer. If teeth grinding is a concern, it’s recommended to consult a dentist or orthodontist for a suitable mouthguard.


While orthodontic retainers can provide a certain level of protection against teeth grinding, they aren’t a comprehensive solution. At I Song Orthodontics, we stress the importance of addressing the root causes of bruxism to protect your oral health.


We invite residents of Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, San Pablo, Oakland, Richmond, and Pinole to schedule a consultation with our seasoned orthodontic team. Together, we can evaluate your specific needs and devise a personalized strategy to minimize the impact of bruxism on your teeth and overall health.