There are a lot of inexpensive alternatives to buying a mouth guard from your dentist. An easy way to reduce the cost of custom dental guards for bruxism or teeth grinding is to try an at home kit. They are commonly known as ‘boil and bite’ guards, meaning that you just heat up a mold, put it into your mouth and bite down to get the right fit. Obviously a $20 at home kit isn’t going to work as well as the $500 custom piece that you get from your dentist, but if you are willing to test them out you may find that some of these inexpensive at home kits can really help with your bruxism.
When shopping for a night mouth guard, there are a number of things you should consider. You want something that will protect your teeth, be comfortable to wear, and will fit into your budget. The past few years has seen a sharp improvement with the type of boil and bite mouth products that have come to market. Generally the newer models are much easier to customize for your mouth, many brands come with a few different sizes of mold to choose from and are designed in a way that they are easy to trim so you get the best fit. Most new products are made with safer material than the previous generation of products and they are easy to find online, at Walmart or your local drug stores. To help get you started, we review what you need to know when shopping for an inexpensive mouth guard and recommend so of the most popular products.
Why Use a Mouth Guard
The main reason is to stop teeth grinding and to prevent serious damage to your teeth. Teeth grinding can wear down the surface of your tooth causing issues like tooth flattening, chipping, cracking the enamel, or breaking a filling. Large portions of the general population are nighttime tooth grinders, the grinding can be cause by many different things including stress, anxiety, or taking antidepressants.
If your tooth grinding is left untreated it can cause things like headaches, pain in the muscles on your face, pain in your jaw, pain in your neck and insomnia. Night guards can help to prevent some of the issues that teeth grinding can cause.
What to Look for
Does it help with Bruxism – There are a number of different uses for mouth guards, so when you are looking around at the different products that are available, make sure you are buying a product that makes specific claims to help with bruxism or teeth grinding. Some are intended to be used for sports protection or teeth whitening. These days there are so many products available that are designed specifically for teeth grinding, there is no need to try to make do with a sports guard.
Cleaning – You should clean your night guard every day after using it since bacteria will grow on it. There are a number of different ways to clean these type of dental products, you can clean them with:
- Tooth paste and brush
- Soap and water
- Mouth wash
- Mouth Guard cleaning tablets
- Dental Sanitizers
Material – Since you are going to be putting the guard into your mouth for long periods of time, it’s pretty important to make sure that the material it is made of is, at the minimum, BPA and latex free. You should also make sure it is made of FDA approved material.
Hardness of the Material – If you have severe bruxism you will need to look for a product that is made of a very strong, thick acrylic. Unfortunately, it is thick and made with a heavy material it will be less comfortable. If you have only moderate to mild bruxism, you can probably get away with the types of design that have a soft inside layer for cushioning and a hard outside layer.
Molding and Fitting Process – If you have never tried an at home molding kit, you may be surprised to find that they can be a fair bit harder to get a good fit than you expect. Look for products that reviewers say are easy to mold and get a good fit, it will make all of the difference. Many products allow you to re-mold the guard if your first attempt doesn’t go well. If you don’t get a good fit you can expect your mouth to feel sore the next day.
Comfort – The word comfort isn’t something you usually associate with night guards. In order to get the most comfortable product you need to make sure you get a good fit. Some manufacturers offer free replacements if you mess up the molding process. The other problem you may run into is that it may take a bit of time to get used to, this is something that happens even with $500 custom guards from the dentist. You may wear the guard and feel there is some small part of it that doesn’t feel right and needs to be adjusted or re-molded, or you may just get used to it after a few uses.
Braces or Loose Teeth– Not all products can be worn with braces or loose teeth. Look specifically for products that say they work with dental work or contact the support for the product you are interested in purchasing to double check that it will work for your particular situation.
How long will they last? The life of a mouth guard depends on the product, how severe your teeth grinding is, and how well you take care of it. Some of the higher end at home products will last up to a year.
Best Product Reviews
1. ProDental BPA Free Teeth Grinding Night Guard
These ProDental 3 in 1 are a good quality at home kit that is made in the USA.What is unusual about this product is that it has direct dentist support. If you need help with the fitting process, you just contact the ProDental support and they have a dentist on staff you can consult with. The ProDental comes as a set of three guards that lets you trim them easily before molding, so you can use it to fit almost any size mouth. If you do run into trouble with the molding process (which is pretty common), you can contact the company and they will give you a free replacement. You should be able to get around 12 months of wear from each mold if they are used daily. This brand has a reputation for being longer lasting and more comfortable than many of its competitors. If you are concerned about safety of the material you can rest assured because they are made of BPA-free ethyl vinyl acetate (EVA) resins that are used to make other FDA approved dental devices. They do not contain acrylic or phthalates.
2. DentalCare Labs Anti Grinding Teeth Custom Moldable Dental Night Guard
If you have tried other mouth guards in the past and have had trouble with fit, you may want to have a look at this Dentalcare Labs Guard. It comes with four molds in two different sizes. They are easy to trim and can adapt to different teeth sizes and alignments. They are one of the cheapest and best review nighttime guards available. You can use them on upper or lower teeth and they are suitable for men, women and children. The mouth guards are BPA and latex free, and they come with an unconditional money back guarantee and replacement policy.
3. EZ Sleep Professional Dental Guard
Designed by a dentist, these EZ Sleep 3-in-1 mouth guards can be used as an anti-grind night guard, a sports guard, or a teeth whitening tray. It is similar to the two brands listed above, in that it can be easily trimmed to fit any mouth size. It is by most accounts very comfortable, and can help you to relax your jaw muscles. It comes with 4 molds in the pack.
4. Plackers Mouth Guard Grind No More Night Time Use
For those who don’t like the traditional bulky design of most designs, these Plackers Guards may be the product for you. You use them for a few days and then throw them away. They work really well for those who don’t like the tight, constricting feeling of other mouth guards. This design won’t be the best option for everyone, but since they are smaller and a very different design than most guards, if you have had trouble with other products you may really like these ones.You can wear them on the upper or lower teeth, and you don’t need to boil or mold this product.
5. OzDenta Wizard Custom Fit Night Mouth Guard
This OzDental guard is another great, inexpensive option to consider if you are looking for a comfortable night guard to help you prevent teeth grinding. The OzDental comes with two moldable guards that can be trimmed as much as you would like to be able to fit into your mouth. They can be used on the upper or lower teeth and can be used with dentures and braces. The material that they are made of is BPA and Latex Free as well as FDA approved. You also get an antibacterial case, an unconditional money back guarantee, and a replacement policy.
6. The Doctor’s NightGuard Advanced Comfort Dental Protector for Teeth Grinding
The Doctor’s NightGuard was specifically designed by a team of dentist to protect your teeth from the negative effects of teeth grinding. The company that created this product (The Doctors) tested over 1,200 prototypes before settling on the current premium comfort design. The 2 layer design has a soft top layer for comfort and a firm bottom layer to stop the grinding. The slim fitting channel provides a secure fit, so it shouldn’t fall out when you are sleeping. The front is slanted to create a more comfortable fit for the user because it keeps the guard away from the lips and gums. It comes with a guaranteed fit, which means if it doesn’t work you can send it back.
8. Intelliguard Pro Mouthpiece Adjustable Night Guard Bruxism Sleep Aid
This is one of the more deluxe (or expensive) at home designs. You are paying a little more for this product because the process of the molding allows you to get a better fit than other products. It is also higher quality and a bit better designed than some of the cheaper products. The molding process has a few unique features to it including having the mold sit inside a hard plastic casing that has air holes. There are also a number of notches to choose from, so you can find the perfect jaw position. It also allows you to dip the mouthpiece in cold water for 3 seconds before you put it into your mouth, so you don’t have to worry about burning your mouth. As an added bonus, it also can help with snoring.
Who Should not Use At Home Mouth Guards
As a general guideline you should check with your dentist before using an at home mouth guard if:
- If you are under 18 years old.
- If you have loose teeth.
- If you have TMJ.
- If you wear dentures, braces, or other dental equipment
- If you have severe pain in your jaw.
If the night guard doesn’t fit properly your tooth grinding may actually get worse, you may find you have more tooth, jaw, facial or neck pain or soreness. It is also possible for a night guard to worsen sleep apnea symptoms. If you have pain for more than a week while using a mouth guard you should consult with your dentist.