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Can You Straighten Teeth With A Mouthguard?

By WebMD Connect to Care Staff
If you’ve ever wondered whether mouthguards can straighten teeth, the quick answer is—they can't. Here’s why, along with details about viable options for teeth straightening.

If you're looking for ways to improve the health or appearance of your smile, you may be researching ways to straighten teeth. You may have even considered using mouthguards to straighten your teeth. But unfortunately, this won't work. We consulted an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in straightening teeth, to explain why.

Can Mouthguards Straighten Teeth?

“You cannot straighten teeth with a mouthguard,” Jeffery Schaefer, DDS, MSD, an orthodontist in San Diego, explains to WebMD Connect to Care. According to Schaefer, even if a mouthguard is custom-made, its purpose is not to straighten teeth, but to protect them from teeth grinding, jaw clenching, or trauma.

The confusion comes up in part because you may have heard about teeth straightening with removable mouth devices, but what’s being described are dental aligners, not mouthguards. “Mouthguards are thick,” whereas “clear aligners designed for teeth movement are thin,” Schaefer says. 

Real Teeth Straightening Options

According to Schaefer, “the best two ways to straighten teeth are traditional braces [with] wires or a series of clear plastic aligners changed weekly.” Both options should be supervised by an orthodontist.

How do you choose between traditional braces and clear aligners? “Factors to consider when choosing braces and aligners include the level of correction needed, aesthetics, your lifestyle, and your level of discipline,” Schaefer says.  

Schaefer recommends wire braces if you have severe bite problems. He also recommends braces over clear dental aligners if you struggle with self-discipline because “you must be willing and able to keep [dental aligners] in 22 hours per day.”

If you are concerned about how you’ll look in braces or lazy with your oral hygiene, Schaefer recommends dental aligners. Dental aligners are typically clear, making them a more discreet option than traditional braces. Dental aligners can also be easily removed before eating and cleaning your teeth.

The bottom line is that there are well-established ways to straighten teeth, but it’s clear that using a mouthguard isn’t one of them. An orthodontist will be able to tell you the best options for your case. 

Start Your Journey to a More Confident Smile Today!

Straightening your teeth can be easy and affordable. Find out how to get started today. WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.