If you have been diagnosed with teeth grinding and clenching habits, otherwise called bruxism, you might need to wear a custom night guard. This is what your dentist can recommend to prevent the serious side effects of girding and clenching on your teeth and oral structures. But when it comes to a night guard, there are different options. In this article, we will talk about custom night guards, their benefits and cost, and the options you have.
What is a night guard?
A night guard is a type of mouthguard made and designed to be worn while you sleep to protect teeth from grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism. However, depending on various designs, nightguards can also serve other health conditions such as sleep apnea, snoring, and TMJ jaw pain disorders.
Types of night guards
There are generally three types of night guard options:
- Stock mouthguards: These are pre-made over-the-counter types of mouthguards. This means they are one-size-fits-all and you can get them at any drugstore. Stock guards are the least ideal option with the least protection and safety. They are also uncomfortable to wear.
- Boil-and-bite: These are another cheap over-the-counter guard which you can buy from your local drugstore. They provide you with more customization since you boil your impression and bite it to mold it to your teeth size. However, they cannot still make a perfect option for medical conditions like teeth grinding. This is due to poor fit and less durable material used, especially the fact that no professionals are involved in creating them.
- Custom night guards: A custom night guard is designed and made specifically for you to fit properly on your teeth. They are made professionally by a dentist at the dental laboratory according to the impression that is taken from your mouth shape and teeth.
Types of custom night guards and how to get one made
There are two ways to get your custom night guard: directly from a dentist (dentist night guard) or through online companies (mail-order) that provide a custom night guard.
Dentist night guard
Getting a night guard from your dentist is the best option. Your dentist can take X-rays and check signs of teeth grinding and clenching. Depending on the severity of teeth grinding, your dentist provides you with the most suitable type of night guard and material.
There are more benefits when it comes to visiting a dentist for your mouthguard. If there is a problem with your teeth, your dentist can detect and determine whether you require dental work. Or, with an extreme case of malocclusion, you may need to see an orthodontist.
In addition, if you need a night guard to wear over your braces, or to treat or manage sleep apnea, snoring, or TMJ pains, you should get your dentist from your dentist.
Here are steps to getting a custom-made dentist night guard:
- Your dentist first does the necessary examinations and determines if a night guard is right for you.
- In the same dental visit or another session depending on your case, your dentist takes an impression of your teeth. The dentist can take the mold of your teeth using puffy-like material or use modern digital devices to generate your customized model.
- The impression is then sent to the lab to create the night guard.
- Finally, you will go back to the dental office to get your night guard. You can try the fitting and comfort of the night guard, and your dentist will make sure everything is done well.
Mail-order night guard
You can order a night guard through online companies that produce custom night guards. They offer a range of night guard options for teeth grinding such as hard guard, soft guard, flexible hard, and dual laminate guard or back cut.
Here are the easy steps to ordering a custom mouthguard online:
- First, you order the night guard you need which comes as an at-home dental impression kit which you use to take your own impression of your teeth. Follow the instruction and do each step as directed by the company’s guidance.
- Next, send back the impression to the company.
- Based on your impression, the dental lab creates your night guard and it will be shipped back to you.
What are the benefits of a custom-made night guard?
There are major differences between over-the-counter and custom night guards. A custom guard provides the best protection against bruxism and prevents tooth damage while you sleep. Here are some advantages of wearing a custom-fit night guard:
- Protects teeth from bruxism-related tooth damage by reducing the impact of teeth grinding and clenching
- Prevents tooth complications like pain, wearing of tooth enamel, and serious tooth fractures
- Provides relief from facial pain, headaches, and pain in the neck
- Reduces the stress and tension on jaw muscles and joints thus helpful for TMJ disorders
- Helps you have a natural resting bite and mouth
- Improves the quality of sleep
How much does a custom night guard cost?
The cost of a night guard from a dentist can range anywhere from $200 to $1,000, depending on your dentist, materials used, your oral health condition, and insurance coverage plans. When you purchase a mail-order custom-made night guard, you can expect to pay between $100 to $200 on average. The cost of mail-order night guard depends on which online retailer you buy from and what type of mouthguard you choose based on the severity of your bruxism.
A custom night guard is made to fit your teeth and mouth, so it feels comfortable and gives you the protection you need for bruxism. To get a custom night guard, you have two options. First, you can visit your dentist and get your guard directly from your dental professional. Or, you may prefer to purchase through online retailers which have a dental lab and professionally fabricate the night guard.
As long as your night guard is custom-fit and structured to your unique mouth and teeth features, you know that you have no worries but to wear the night guard to prevent further impacts of teeth grinding. However, it is wise and necessary to consult your dentist to make an informed decision to get safety, better protection, comfort, and custom-fit features for your night guard.
Frequently asked questions
A custom-fitted night guard fits snugly on teeth without rubbing and irritating your gums and soft tissues inside the mouth during sleep. They help cushion on the bite surface perfectly so as to prevent teeth-to-teeth grinding while reducing jaw muscle soreness.
Unlike over-the-counter guards which are typically bulky and don’t fit, custom night guards are made of higher quality material, ensure a proper fit, and are thin (2-3 mm in thickness), making them comfortable yet durable.
Custom night guards are made specifically for you based on your teeth impression. They are comfortable and offer a snug fit, whereases over-the-counter types fit poorly and are often bulky in your mouth.