Grind Teeth and Need a Retainer?

Do you grind your teeth at night (bruxism), but also need a retainer to keep your teeth straight? This is a question that we are commonly asked.  There is a few solutions to this problem, and you need to pick which one would work best for you.

  1. Hard Night Guard and a Retainer: The primary function of a night guard is to protect the teeth from grinding\clenching. With a hard night guard its secondary function is to prevent the teeth from shifting. A night guard will not work as well as retainers do to prevent the teeth from shifting. We recommend getting both a hard night guard and retainers. You can wear the night guard most nights, but want to wear the retainers a couple nights a week to confirm the teeth are not shifting, or the retainers can be worn during the day.
  2. Essix Plus Retainers: The new essix plus material is much more wear resistant than the standard essix material. Essix plus retainers will be able to take moderate teeth grinding but not heavy teeth grinding. If your a heavy teeth grinder you will either have to get the night guard retainer option or replace your essix plus retainers more often.
Teeth Grinding Retainer

Depending on your level of grinding helps decide the correct option for you. If you have questions please contact us at or at 262-290-2396

How long will a Teeth Night Grinding Guard Last?

We get asked this question often, and it’s hard to give an exact answer. We use the analogy of a pair of running shoes and an Olympic athlete. A standard pair of running shoes might last the typical person a couple years, but an Olympic athlete only a couple months. If you are a severe grinding\clencher the lifespan of the guard with be dramatically shortened.

When trying to get the longest lifespan out of a night guard it is important to make sure that you have the proper night guard for your type of clenching or grinding. If you have the proper night guard it will typically last 2-5 years.

Night Guard

We have customers say they had the same night guard for over 10 years. When this is said they normally had a hard acrylic night guard. Studies have shown that solid acrylic night guards did more harm than good. A night guard is designed to be softer then the teeth so that the guard will wear and protect the teeth from wear.

To get the longest life span our out a night guard:

1: Pick the correct night guard. –Make sure your guard works for your type of grinding\clenching.

2: Clean night guard regularly –Use a quality cleaner to disinfect and prevent yellowing. Do not use alcohol based mouthwash.

3: Store Guard Correctly – Dogs love to chew on night guards. Make sure your guard is always in the case and out of reach of animals.

It’s always a good idea to have a duplicate of night guard in case one is lost. The backup can be worn while a replacement is being created. For more information on the different types of teeth grinding guards visit

How to get a replacement retainer

Did your dental retainer crack, break, or is lost? If you lost your retainer you don’t want to put off getting a replacement retainer. Your teeth can start to shift without a retainer being worn. If your retainer is cracked or broken you want to continue to try to wear it if possible while ordering a new retainer.

You can get your replacement retainer 2 ways:

  1. Dentist or Orthodontics: Your dentist or orthodontics can make you a replacement retainer. The price from a dentist fluctuates greatly depending on location and dentist. This cost can be anywhere from $200 to $600 per retainer.
  1. Order Online: Order a self-impression kit online at and take your impression at home and mail it directly in to a dental lab to be created. This cuts out the middle man while still getting the same quality product. Upper and Lower retainers cost $95 with shipping included.
SportingSmiles Impression Kit
SportingSmiles Impression Kit

Clear Essix style retainers can’t be repaired when they are cracked. If you have Hawley wire retainers a dental lab might be able to repair them instead of replacing the retainer. After you get your replacement retainers it is always a good idea to have a spare set. SportingSmiles has the ability to reorder upper and lower retainers for $65 after the initial set has been ordered.

Type of Mouthguards NBA Pros use.

Basketball is the number one sport for maxillofacial injuries. This is why you are seeing star NBA players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry wearing mouthguards.

Curry MouthGuard
Curry MouthGuard

Basketball is more prone to facial injuries due to hand or elbows contact or players colliding with each other. It is not uncommon for two athletes to fight for a rebound and take an elbow to the mouth causing a tooth to break or even be fully knocked out. The cost of having a tooth repaired or replaced can range anywhere from $300 to $15,000 depending on the repair that has to be done. Wearing a custom fitted mouthguard for basketball can minimize the damage or even prevent it fully. Sadly most basketball players will only start to wear a mouthguard after they have had a dental injury or have seen another player have a dental injury.

NBA basketball players will typically wear a 3mm Clear mouthguard that is custom made from an impression of their teeth. These mouthguards are made my taking a dental impression and then have a dental lab manufacture the mouthguard. Being custom made makes these mouthguards are extremely comfortable and doesn’t affect breathing or communication with other teammates. Custom made laboratory mouthguards are nothing like boil and bite mouthguards that are purchased at a sporting goods store. The fit of a custom mouthguard will snap on your teeth and provide more protection than a boil and bite guard.
3mm_Clear - Copy

At SportingSmiles we recommend wearing a mouthguard soon as you have all your permanent teeth. Wearing a mouthguard should be a standard part of your equipment not only during games, but all worn during practice to protect the teeth. A properly taken care of custom mouthguards should last many years and give the maximum protect available.

5 Signs you might be Grinding your Teeth at Night:

Are you wondering if your grind you teeth at night? Studies have shown that up to 25% of all people do some teeth grinding at night. Teeth grinding normally only happens at night and most people have no idea that they grind their teeth until there dentist tells them, or if they start to experience pain in the morning

  1. Grinding sounds at night why sleeping.
  2. Jaw pain in the morning which can cause headaches
  3. Flat or worn down teeth. Even cracked teeth.
  4. Sores on the inside of the mouth
  5. Sensitive teeth –Enamel will be worn causing sensitivity with the teeth.

If you feel like you are experiencing bruxism (teeth grinding\clenching) visit your dentist and they can evaluate you further. The first step in preventing teeth grinding damage is to get a professional fitting teeth grinding guard. A night grinding guard is designed to take the force of grinding\clenching instead of having the teeth. The guard protects the teeth and will normally solve most people’s issues. Here is an example of a teeth grinding guard that we provide on our website.

Night Guard
Hard Flexible Bruxism Teeth Grinding Guard

Difference between retainers and Invisalign?

Invisalign and Clear essix retainer might look the same, but they are designed to do different tasks.

Invisalign is designed to move and straighten the teeth in small stages. With Invisalign you typically will have sets of clear aligners that you wear for two weeks at a time then go on to the next set of aligners. This process slowly puts pressure on the teeth moving them to there new position. The amount of aligners depends on how much movement is needed to straighten the teeth. Invisalign uses 1mm clear essix material to create these aligners. After the teeth are straighten, a set of retainers are required to prevent the teeth from going back to their original location.

Upper & Lower Dental Retainers
Upper & Lower Dental Retainers

Clear Essix retainers and designed just to prevent the teeth from shifting. Retainers will not move or straighten you teeth, they will prevent them from shifting further. Retainers are made using 1mm clear essix material the same as invisalign.

Both Essix retainers and invisalign are made from the same material and are cleaned and taken care for the same. Retainers can last for many years while the invislign aligners are designed to only be used for a short period of time.

What are whitening gel reservoirs and why they are important.

Not all custom whitening trays are the same quality. They might be made of similar materials, but there are small differences that can make them more comfortable and effective.

Home Teeth Whitening
Sporting Smiles Home Teeth Whitening

First you want your whitening trays to have reservoirs. Reservoirs are small pockets that are on the whitening trays on the front of the tooth’s surface. These reservoirs allow for more room for the whitening gel to come in contact with the teeth. Whitening gel will naturally expand as it whitens the teeth. The reservoirs allow for the expansion of the whitening gel without the trays pulling away from your teeth.

If a low quality material is used to create the whitening trays then your trays can yellow quickly. All materials will yellow in time, but low quality material will yellow quicker.  You want to use a good cleaning product like fresh guard by efferdent to prevent your whitening trays from yellowing.

The way the whitening trays are trimmed affect the comfort or the whitening trays. If the whitening trays are just trimmed straight across and don’t follow the contours of the teeth iy allows the bleaching gel to come in contact with the gums. You can experience a burning sensation of the gums and less of the gel will come in contact with the teeth lowering the effectiveness.

5 Ways to prevent Dental Retainers from breaking

Are your clear retainers cracking or breaking?

Prevent Retainers breaking

One of the downsides of Essix retainers are they are fragile and can easily break if not properly cared for. The most common reason retainers break is improper removal. The second most common time retainers are broken is when they are being cleaned.

5 Ways to prevent Dental Retainers from breaking.

  1. Get Essix Plus Retainers– They are two times stronger than standard essix retainers and the same thickness.
  2. Remove Correctly– You want to use one finger on each side when removing the retainers to prevent flexing and twisting the retainers.
  3. Support During Cleaning- When brushing the retainers you don’t want to hold on to one side and brush the other side. You want to support the retainers in your hand or on a towel when brushing the retainers.
  4. Clean Correctly– You do not want to use alcohol based mouthwash with retainers. The alcohol in retainers will dry out and damage the retainers. We recommend using freshguard when cleaning your retainers. We have a video on youtube showing how this is done.
  5. Storage– You want to store your retainers in a case when not in use. You also what to keep away from pets. Dogs are known to eat retainers.
Upper + Lower Dental Retainers
Upper + Lower Dental Retainers

If you properly take care of your retainers they can last for many years. If you retainers have broken please visit for a replacement.