Dentist Custom Mouth Guard vs Store Bought

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Your dentist may have recommended that you order a custom night guard, especially if you’ve been grinding your teeth at night or clenching your jaw. However, custom dental night guards can be quite costly, and there are other options to consider.

In this post we will be detailing the pros and cons of a custom dental mouth guard vs. a store bought brand.

Why You Need a Dental Night Guard (Of Some Kind)

Regardless of the kind of mouth guard you select, there’s no denying that having a mouth guard is important for protecting your teeth.

Grinding and teeth clenching can severely damage your mouth, causing cracks and fractures in your teeth. This will ultimately mean getting root canals, crowns, bridges, and can even mean dentures for some.

Considering that these costly (and often painful) dental procedures cost patients thousands of dollars, using preventive measures like night guards is key.

What Kind of Night Guard Should I Get?

There are a number of night guard options you can choose from, ranging from cheap to expensive and varying in effectiveness. We’ll take a look at all the options here.

1. Sport Mouth Guard

You’re probably familiar with sport mouth guards from playing sports when you were younger, as these were mandatory for many sports.

Sports mouth guards are usually made of stiff plastic and aren’t very comfortable. Some can be boiled and molded to your teeth, but their extremely hard material isn’t comfortable to wear for long periods of time.

They are by far the cheapest option, but are not very effective as night dental guards as you’ll find this style of mouth guard impossible to sleep in.

sports mouth guard

Cost: $1-$20

What It’s Good For: Great for protecting teeth from impact during sports activities. Some can be boiled and fitted, but most come in a one-size-fits-all design.

PROS: Very affordable and tough. Ideal for protecting teeth during rough activities and sports.

CONS: Material is very thick, making it difficult to breathe. This design also makes these guards very uncomfortable (if not impossible) to sleep with.

2. Over-the-Counter Dental Night Guard

In some convenience stores, you’ll find over the counter night mouth guards made of softer plastic that can be boiled and fitted to your teeth.

In many ways, these sleeping mouth guards are similar to sports mouth guards, but the plastic is much softer and more comfortable for nighttime use.

mouth guards for teeth grinding

What It Does: This style of clear dental mouthguard can be molded to your teeth by boiling it in water. These guards can help prevent teeth grinding at night, and are often available in drug stores like CVS and Walgreens, as well as Amazon. Popular brands include DenTek and The Doctor’s.

Cost: $15 – $40

PROS: This style of mouth guard is relatively affordable and can adequately stop teeth from grinding against one another. This design can be bought online or purchased at pharmacies. Plastic is boiled and bitten to form shape, with thinner material that is more suitable for night time use.

CONS: While over-the-counter dental night guards use much thinner plastic than sports mouth guard, many individuals still find this style of guard uncomfortably thick for sleeping with.

3. Professional Night Guard From Dentist

What Is It? A custom dental night guard ordered from your dentist. Your dentist takes a mold of your teeth and sends it to a lab, where they create a customized dental night guard for your teeth.

Cost: Usually $300 – $700 (depending on dentist)

PROS: These night guards are super effective at preventing teeth grinding, since they are custom fitted for your teeth. These dental night guards vary in thickness depending on severity of grinding. They also help alleviate jaw strain and establish better jaw muscle positioning to prevent long-term teeth clenching and grinding during the day.

CONS: They are very expensive, and many dental insurance providers won’t cover them, which means you’re dealing with a big out-of-pocket cost.

4. Professional Night Guard From Private Seller

custom dental mouthguard

What Is It? Instead of ordering a custom night guard for teeth grinding from your dentist, you can order one through a private dental service.

Services such as Pro Teeth Guard and send you the supplies and instructions to help you take a mold of your teeth, which you then send directly to the lab.

The lab then produces the same high-quality dental night guard that you would get at the dentist’s office, and ships it directly to you.

Cost: $80 – $150

PROS: Much cheaper than going through the dentist, but with the same level of quality and custom comfort.

CONS: This process is a bit more of a hassle since you have to take the mold of your teeth and send it to the lab yourself.

Option #1: Pro Teeth Guard

Pro Teeth Guard is a reputable online seller of custom dental night guards. Pro Teeth Guard offers a number of specific advantages, including:

  • Professional quality you’d find at the dentist’s office
  • 5 Star rated customer support
  • 60 day 110% money back guarantee
  • 1 year warranty for most guards (6 month warranty for ultra-thin version)
  • Free adjustments and replacement kit if you’re not happy with the fit
  • Provide itemized receipt that may be used to submit for HSA/FSA insurance reimbursement (check with your insurance to ensure that this is an option).
  • Free shipping + handling for all orders in the US and Canada

Regardless of who you decide to buy with, both these companies are reputable, reliable dental labs that will give you a great custom mouth guard for a fair, affordable price.

Option #2: is a another seller of custom dental night guards, very similar to Pro Teeth Guard. reputable online seller of custom dental night guards. Pro Teeth Guard offers a number of specific advantages, including:

  • Same quality you’d find at your dentist’s office
  • 30 day 100% money back guarantee
  • Free adjustments or replacement mold kit if initial fit fails (although this is rare)
  • Accepts most HSA (Health Spending Account) and FSA (Flexible Spending Account) payment cards
  • Free shipping + handling for most orders
  • Use this link and code “teeth10” for 10% off your order!

Regardless of who you decide to buy with, both these companies are reputable, reliable dental labs that will give you a great custom mouth guard for a fair, affordable price.

Best Choice? Professional Dental Night Guard from Private Seller

While over-the-counter night guards are a decent temporary fix to help with teeth grinding, most individuals end up purchasing a professional dental guard, which can help provide long-lasting mouth support.

If you end up choosing to go with a professional, custom-molded night guard, you’ll have a number of other factors to consider when considering selecting a professional night guard for teeth grinding.

  • Thickness: Different mouth guards for teeth grinding vary in thickness and hardness, depending on the severity of your grinding.
  • Top or Bottom: You can order a custom dental night guard for teeth grinding that fits your top or bottom teeth. You choose to put the guard on you upper or lower teeth depending on what is more comfortable for you (most go with a night guard for their top teeth).

Check out our list of the top 4 mouth guards for teeth grinding – they’re all professional, custom dental mouth guards made from dentist-quality materials and are extremely affordable.

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about the author:
Meg Mars
Meg is a writer who is passionate about healthy eating. From Whole30 and South Beach Diet, to paleo and intermittent fasting, she's experimented with several healthy eating regiments and is passionate about helping readers find the perfect food plan match for their lifestyles.

13 thoughts on “Dentist Custom Mouth Guard vs Store Bought”

  1. I don’t think the writer of this piece has ever actually had a sports mouth guard. The material is softer than bite guards. I have had bit guards in the past but have had to get new ones made when I have had crowns put in.

    Personally, I’m going to try a sports mouth guard this time around but know that I will need to trim it after forming (make it more comfortable to sleep with) and also realize that I’ll need to replace it after a few months (I usually went through at least 2 per season when playing football in high school and college – they are soft and can be chewed through over time).

    • Not sure what you mean Vince – every sports guard I’ve ever used has been as hard as a rock and very thick. However, I haven’t played spots in 15 years so maybe the technology has changed. Regardless, sports guards are way too thick to sleep with. But give it a try if you want!

  2. I didn’t realize that there were so many different ways that someone could buy a mouth guard to protect their teeth. Although, based on the article, I can definitely agree that a professionally made, dental mouth guard would probably be the better option. After all, a certified dentist would have access to much more powerful tools and equipment to make the guard.

    • Hey Callum – actually, dentists don’t usually make the guards themselves. They ship the molds out to dental labs who make the guards (the same dental labs that will make night guards for you if you order them via a private service like some of the ones mentioned here).

      If you want the extra guidance, help, and small adjustments that can be made by a dentist, then go with a dentist. However, for many folks, ordering a night guard through a private service should be just fine.

  3. Yeah there are options when it comes down to protecting your teeth.
    I personally ordered my night guard online and it worked out great. The impression kit had easy to follow instructions, and it fitted great once I receive my night guard.
    I’ve also had dentist made ones that were covered by some of my benefits and it was about the same product except I spent $500 on it, and had to replace it because of a build up of mold through the year.

    Check out they’re pretty good. Hope this helps!

    • A build up of mold? You have to clean it daily so when you take it out in the morning, brush your teeth and clean your guard at the same time.

  4. Well written affiliate article. I like the H3 Bold headlines, the links are highlighted and you have a good call to action. But do you really know what guard is better? And what about severed grinding? I had a partial break because I could stomp chomping on it. Would you suggest wearing a guard I made during the day instead of my partial? I have one tooth on the partial so it doesn’t really matter in looks but I don’t want my jaw to keep trying g to break the hard plastic in my mouth.

    • Hi there. Honestly, these guards are all very similar and all come from dental labs, so quality should be pretty similar across the board.

      Most people have most severe grinding issues at night. Do you notice yourself grinding during the day? If so, might be worth considering wearing it during the day, but you might find it impractical.


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