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Best Night Guards

Updated November 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we tested

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 39 Models Considered
  • 8 Models Tested
  • 32 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 154 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best night guards

    Last Updated November 2018

    Anyone who suffers from bruxism – the tendency to grind or clench the teeth, particularly while sleeping – knows how painful and damaging the condition can be. Thankfully, there is a fairly simple preventive measure you can take to help avoid the worn enamel, chipped teeth, broken fillings, and other pain that bruxism can cause: wearing a night guard.

    With a good night guard, you can protect your teeth from the ill effects of grinding and clenching while you sleep. This can result in fewer dental problems and a brighter, happier smile. Choosing a night guard can be difficult, though, because there are a wide range of options available. Just by glancing at the packaging, it’s hard to tell if a particular night guard would be right for you.

    At BestReviews, we can help you find the ideal night guard to protect your teeth. Our policy is to provide product recommendations that are thorough and honest. Because we purchase all products we test, our reviews are also 100% unbiased. Ready to buy a night guard? Take a look at the product list above for our top recommendations. For general information on choosing a night guard, keep reading this shopping guide.

    Up to 10% of people grind their teeth at night, though it occurs most often among individuals between 25 and 44 years of age.

    How do night guards work?

    A night guard doesn’t actually prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth. Rather, it shields and cushions your teeth so that when you do grind, the damage is minimal.

    Depending on the severity of your problem, you can opt for a night guard that covers one row of teeth or two. A protective covering made of acrylic or laminate fits snugly over your teeth so that there is never any tooth-on-tooth contact.

    In addition, a night guard absorbs some of the force when your teeth rub together, thereby reducing tension in the jaw.

    EXPERT TIP

    It can take two to three weeks to get used to wearing a night guard, so it’s important to be patient when you first start wearing one.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Do you need a night guard?

    Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth while they’re sleeping. During a dental check-up, however, your dentist may spot telltale signs of grinding and clenching. He may then recommend that you use a night guard to protect your teeth from further damage.

    If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, soreness in your jaw, and/or regular dull headaches when you wake up in the morning, it’s highly likely that you’re grinding your teeth while you sleep.

    It’s best to consult with your dentist to verify this suspicion.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    To prevent your night guard from becoming distorted, keep it away from high temperatures, including hot water and direct sunlight.

    What causes teeth grinding?

    Most people grind their teeth once in a while, but if you do it regularly, it poses a threat to the structure of your teeth and your overall oral health.

    So what might cause some people to grind their teeth at night?

    • Some people grind or clench their teeth when they’re feeling stressed or anxious. The symptoms can manifest during both waking and sleeping hours.

    • Problems with an abnormal bite, crooked alignment, or missing teeth can cause a person to grind their teeth.

    • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea have been associated with bruxism.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    There are two forms of bruxism: one involves actually grinding your teeth together, and the other occurs when you clench your jaw.

    What are the benefits of wearing a night guard?

    • The primary benefit of wearing a night guard is that it protects your teeth from the damage associated with chronic grinding and clenching. This includes chipped or fractured teeth, loose or lost teeth, and damage to fillings, crowns, and bridges.

    • A night guard can actually help improve your sleep because it encourages your jaw muscles to relax, allowing you to sleep more comfortably and deeply.

    • With a night guard to absorb some of the force when you grind your teeth, you’re less likely to experience soreness in your jaw, tooth sensitivity, and headaches when you wake up in the morning.

    Choosing a night guard that comes with a warranty is a good idea. A warrantied model is usually a durable model that will last for several years.

    What should you look for in a night guard?

    A night guard may sound like a simple health appliance, but in truth, it’s a highly personalized one. When selecting a night guard, pay attention to the fit and sizing, the material with which the night guard is made, and the thickness of the guard.

    Type and material

    There are three main types of night guard materials: soft, hybrid/dual, and hard. Soft and hard guards are available in at-home kits, but hybrid/dual styles are only available as custom guards.

    • A soft night guard is made from a flexible rubber material that provides a cushion-like barrier around the teeth. It works best for individuals with a light grinding problem.

    • A hybrid/dual night guard features a soft, cushiony rubber inner layer surrounded by a thick, hard acrylic outer layer. It works well for individuals with a moderate grinding problem.

    • A hard night guard is made from a hard acrylic material that provides a strong barrier for the teeth. It works well for individuals with a severe grinding problem.

    Store your night guard in firm, perforated container so air can circulate around it. This helps prevent mold growth.

    Thickness

    Whether a night guard is soft, hybrid, or hard usually determines what type of protection it offers, but it’s also important to consider its thickness.

    Night guards can range in thickness from 1mm to 3mm. You’ll have fewer options with over-the-counter guards, which tend to be very thin (1mm) or very thick (3mm).

    • A 1mm night guard is very thin and works well for light grinders. It’s so thin and comfortable, in fact, that it can be worn during the day.

    • A 2mm night guard is considered to be of medium thickness and measures approximately as thick as a nickle. It works well for moderate grinders and is usually fairly easy to get used to.

    • A 3mm night guard is very thick and offers extreme protection. It works well for severe grinders, but takes some time to get used to because of its bulk.

    Always wash your hands before handling your night guard.

    Fit and sizing

    The fit of your night guard is key to its effectiveness. You have several types of night guards to choose from: stock night guards, moldable night guards, at-home custom fit night guards, and dental-made custom fit night guards.

    • Stock night guards are one-size-fits-all appliances. They’re very inexpensive, often bulky, and sometimes too loose for certain mouths. Many stock night guards can be trimmed down so they fit more comfortably over the teeth.

    • Moldable night guards are fairly inexpensive as well, but they’re made from a material that softens when exposed to boiling water. After you soak it in the water, you can place it in your mouth and press on it with your fingers and tongue to help it conform to the shape of your teeth for a better fit. Once the heated material cools, it will retain that shape for the lifetime of the guard.

    • At-home custom night guards require impressions of your teeth just like dental-made custom fit guards do. You buy a kit and do the impressions yourself at home using dental impression trays for the upper and lower teeth and impression putty that the brand provides. The impressions are then sent to a dental lab where a customized guard is made. You’ll get a better fit than with a stock or moldable guard, but it usually isn’t as precise or comfortable as a dental-made model.

    • Dental-made custom night guards require teeth impressions that are taken by your dentist, who then sends them to a dental lab where a customized guard is created. This type of night guard offers the very best fit, but they can be extremely expensive.
       

    Keep in mind that both types of custom night guards take some time to create, so you’ll likely have to wait several weeks to get your guard.

    EXPERT TIP

    A night guard should fit snugly. If you can chew on it, it’s too loose and may fall out during the night.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    How much should you pay for a night guard?

    Night guards vary in price based on their custom fit, how thick they are, and how many pieces or guards are included. You can typically expect to spend between $10 and $700.

    • For a basic, one-size-fits all night guard, you’ll usually pay between $10 and $15.

    • For a moldable night guard, you’ll usually pay between $15 and $20.

    • For a custom night guard that you fit yourself at home, you’ll usually pay between $25 and $50.

    • For a custom night guard that you’re fitted for in a dental office, you’ll usually pay between $300 and $700.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    Clean the case that you keep your night guard in regularly. Use warm water and soap, and allow it to dry thoroughly.

    Tips

    • When you’re new to using a night guard, it’s best to choose one that’s fairly thin because you’ll have an easier time getting used to it.

    • It’s a good idea to purchase both upper and lower night guards, so you can test each out and see which one feels most comfortable. It’s usually not necessary to wear both at the same time.

    • Always brush your teeth before inserting your night guard to help keep it free of bacteria.

    • Each morning, use a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your night guard after you remove it from your mouth. Once a week, use a denture-cleaning tablet to perform a deeper clean.

    • Allow your night guard to air dry completely after cleaning it. Store it in an antimicrobial case to keep it bacteria-free.

    In addition to using a night guard, you can help prevent your teeth from grinding by avoiding caffeine, chewing gum, and alcohol.

    FAQ

    Q. How long will a night guard last?

    A. The lifespan of a night guard depends on how thick it is and how severe your grinding is. Thicker, custom-fit models can last up to seven years. Thinner, softer guards can begin to wear down at the six-month mark.

    Check your night guard regularly for signs of damage, and ask your dentist to inspect it periodically to ensure that it’s still in proper shape to protect your teeth.

    Q. Can you trim a non-custom night guard?

    A. Many soft, non-custom night guards are trimmable. You can use a pair of scissors to cut them so they fit more comfortably in your mouth. However, not all night guards are meant to be trimmed, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions to determine whether trimming is appropriate.

    Q. Can you use a night guard if you’re missing teeth?

    A. A night guard can work as grinding protection even if you’re missing teeth. However, you’re usually better off choosing a custom-fit guard in this case. Because a custom-fit night guard is designed according to the specific contours of your mouth, it will fit more comfortably and snugly, even with missing teeth.

    The team that worked on this review
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      Alvina
      Photographer
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      Amos
      Director of Photography
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      Branson
      Videographer
    • Ciera
      Ciera
      Production Assistant
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      Devangana
      Web Producer
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      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Steph
      Steph
      Web Producer

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