Updated April 2022
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Buying guide for Best teeth grinding guards

If you clench or grind your teeth without thinking about it, you may have a condition called bruxism. Sometimes, this condition is so mild that you don't need to do anything about it, but often, it can have unfavorable consequences, like ruining that intricate dental work you just had done. Luckily, the answer is pretty simple: get a teeth grinding guard between your teeth so you don't damage them.

While some teeth grinding guards are available over the counter, others require a visit to the dentist and are so expensive that you probably wouldn't want to consider getting one without a great dental plan.

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There is enough anecdotal evidence available for dentists to believe that bruxism is hereditary. If Mom or Dad grind their teeth at night, there's a greater chance that the kids will, too.

Eight signs you may be a grinder

Since you are asleep when you are grinding away those chompers, you might not realize you are doing anything wrong until it's time to get new teeth. Since no one wants that to happen, here are a few warning signs that you might be grinding your teeth at night.

  • If you wake up every morning with a sore jaw, neck, or face, you might be a grinder.

  • If your enamel is mysteriously wearing away, exposing the sensitive layers of your teeth, you might be a grinder.

  • If you often wake up with an earache that diminishes throughout the day, you might be a grinder.

  • If you have chronic headaches that seem to originate in your temples, you might be a grinder.

  • If you have unexplained wear, chipping, or fractures in your teeth, you might be a grinder.

  • If you have great dental hygiene but your teeth are loose, you might be a grinder.

  • If you wake up and find the insides of your cheeks are chewed away, you might be a grinder.

  • If your partner wakes you up at night and says, "Hey, stop grinding your teeth,” you might be a grinder.

Different types of teeth grinding guards

There are three types of teeth grinding guards: disposable, boil-and-bite, and custom-fit.


Disposable teeth grinding guards cost very little. Most manufacturers recommend you throw them out after just one use. If you use a disposable guard every night, the cost will eventually add up. Disposable grinding guards only protect your back teeth, and they come in just one size. This size will not be right for everyone.


Boil-and-bite teeth grinding guards can be trimmed to fit a wide range of mouth sizes. You heat the mouth guard in boiling water and bite down on it, allowing it to mold to your teeth. After the plastic has cooled, any uncomfortable edges can be trimmed away. The best feature of these teeth grinding guards is that they are relatively inexpensive. On the downside, the plastic is thin, and you could accidentally bite through it during the molding process. In general, these types of guards are not as durable as those in the next category.


Just like your dentist would do at the office, you take an impression of your teeth (usually the upper ones) at home and send the mold off to a dental lab. The lab then creates a precision-fit guard. Pricier models are fully customizable: you pick the thickness and firmness. Most companies will work with you to refine the shape of your guard until it is a perfect fit. These guards cost more, but they are durable enough to last several years with proper care.

"Besides emotional states, bruxism can be associated with medical conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, sleep apnea, ADHD, and epilepsy. "

Other considerations

Once you decide which type of teeth grinding guard is best for you, there are a few other details to keep in mind.

Materials used

You will want a teeth grinding guard that is both BPA- and latex-free.

Upper or lower

The most common type of teeth grinding guard is worn on the upper teeth. However, this doesn't mean it is better or worse than one worn on the lower teeth. What matters most is that the guard fits well enough to stay place when your mouth is open. Also, you should not be able to easily spit out the device while sleeping.

Hardness and thickness

The harder and thicker your teeth grinding guard is, the more durable it will be. However, models that are softer and thinner tend to be more comfortable. Some companies do not offer a choice. If these factors matter to you, you’ll want to shop around for a teeth grinding guard that feels right to you.

Teeth grinding guard prices

Prices for teeth grinding guards vary greatly.


You can find disposable bite plates for $5 or less.


From about $7 to $70, you can get boil-and-bite models that you customize at home. These are not as durable as the next tier, but for some people, this is all that’s needed.


From $70 to $150, you can find kits that allow you to take a dental impression of your upper teeth and send it to a dental lab for manufacturing. These teeth grinding guards are durable, and buyers enjoy a wider range of options when it comes to pliability and thickness. Additionally, most companies will work with you to fine-tune your mouth guard for a perfect fit. It is possible to spend more than $150 on a teeth grinding guard, but that's usually unnecessary.


Unless you purchase disposable teeth grinding guards, you will need to take proper care of your device to be certain you get the longest life out of it.

  • Clean your teeth grinding guard with a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft toothbrush.

  • Disinfect the guard with hydrogen peroxide. Alternatively, you could use antibacterial soap or a specially formulated mouthguard cleaner.

  • Store your guard in a well-ventilated container.

  • Keep it out of direct sunlight or areas of high temperature.

  • When in doubt, read the use and care instructions that came with your teeth grinding guard.

  • Regularly inspect your guard for cracks, holes, and increased looseness.

  • Don't be afraid to take the device to your dentist on your next checkup to get a professional thumbs-up on your choice.

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Did you know?
Did you know bruxism can also happen when you are awake? It is usually tied to feelings of anxiety, stress, anger, frustration, or tension.
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It is possible to outgrow grinding your teeth at night.


Q. What causes bruxism?

A. Although doctors are not exactly sure what causes bruxism, people who smoke, drink caffeinated beverages, consume alcohol, or take antidepressants may have an increased risk of developing the condition.

Q. Are there complications that might arise from bruxism?

A. Besides damage to your teeth and dental work, people who regularly grind their teeth at night may also develop facial pain, headaches, or severe jaw pain. Bruxism could lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), a condition in which the jaw pops, clicks, or may even get stuck.

Q. Should I see a doctor?

A. Any time you have a health concern, it's a good idea to let your healthcare provider know. Bruxism may come and go, which makes it hard to diagnose. But if you’re suffering from any of the symptoms or complications mentioned in this article, give your dentist a call.

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