Four different guards to choose from including hard, soft, dual-layer, and daytime hard. Kit includes dental impression trays and putty and a prepaid return mailer to send in your mold to receive your custom-fitted guard within 7-10 days.
This will provide the best fit possible, but it comes with a higher price tag.
An affordable pack of 3. Easy to trim and mold. Helpful customer support is readily available.
Runs on the large side, which may require extra trimming or shaping. Doesn't include a storage case.
Diffusix technology is thin, yet it effectively absorbs bite impact. Can be molded up to 20 times. Breathable design enables drinking while wearing. Includes anti-bacterial storage case.
It's stiffer than some competitors and may be uncomfortable for some users. Works best on the top teeth.
Comfortable thanks to the dual-layer design with a soft interior and firm outer layer. Includes storage case.
You only get one for the price, and the instructions aren't very clear. Size runs somewhat small.
Moldable upper layer creates a cushion of comfort and protection. Includes a patented forming tray to provide a very good fit from home. Strong and durable. Provides six months of protection from grinding.
This wore out quickly for some heavier grinders.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
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 is 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 nickel. 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.
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 stock or moldable guards, 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.
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.
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.
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.