Which night guard should I get?
An estimated 10 percent of people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. If you’re one of the many who suffer from bruxism, investing in a night guard may help prevent adverse effects, including chipped or cracked teeth, damaged fillings, jaw pain and headaches.
There are plenty of night guard options available, but knowing what to look for and choosing the right one can be challenging. We’ll go over all the benefits and features of high-quality night guards, detailing some of our top picks, including the enCore Guards Custom Dental Night Guard, which allows you to choose from four different styles and provides a custom fit.
What to know before you buy a night guard
How do night guards work?
It might surprise you, but night guards’ design doesn’t prevent you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. Instead, these guards will provide a barrier, reducing tension and eliminating the harsh contact between your upper and lower teeth.
Do I need a night guard?
If you’re experiencing increased tooth pain or sensitivity, wake up often with jaw tightness and suffer from dull headaches, there is a good chance you’ve been grinding your teeth. Sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms of bruxism, so checking with your dentist is always a bright idea.
Night guard benefits
- Reduces the chance of chips, fractures, loose teeth, loss of enamel and damage to dental work
- Improves TMJ symptoms associated with nightly clenching and grinding
- Promotes deep and restful sleep by relaxing jaw muscles
- Helps prevent snoring
There are several causes of bruxism. Underlying stress and anxiety can play a role in nighttime jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Those who have a misaligned or crooked bite, or those who are missing teeth, are more likely to grind their teeth. Medical conditions such as sleep apnea have been known to cause bruxism.
What to look for in a quality night guard
Night guard materials come in soft, hybrid and hard varieties. Soft night guards are made from flexible rubber and are best for light grinders. Hybrid or dual night guards utilize a soft inner layer and hard plastic outer layer, ideal for moderate grinders. Hard night guards are composed of strong acrylic to create a tough barrier for the most severe grinders.
The better the fit, the more effective your night guard will be. There are a few different fit and sizing styles that you can choose from when selecting a night guard.
- One-size-fits-all: These types of night guards will usually be cheap but won’t provide a customized fit and may not work for mouths of all sizes.
- Moldable: Another relatively inexpensive option, moldable guards, will conform to the shape of your mouth. By placing the guard in boiling water for a few seconds, you’ll be able to press and shape the rubber material to get a custom fit around your teeth.
- Custom night guards: For this style, you’ll either use an at-home kit or have your dentist take impressions of your teeth to create a personal custom-fit night guard.
Thick night guards can take some getting used to when wearing them for the first time, but you’ll be able to choose from 1mm, 2mm or 3mm models in general. 1mm options are less noticeable and can be worn even during the day, though they offer less protection. 2mm night guards are an excellent middle-ground option, while 3mm night guards can feel bulky in your mouth at first but provide the most cushioning.
How much can you expect to spend on a night guard?
Inexpensive stock and moldable models will cost anywhere from $10-$25. Customized at-home models can cost upwards of $50, with professional dental guards costing $300-$700.
Night guard FAQ
How do I care for my night guard?
A. Certain night guards may have specific care instructions, but you should rinse most night guards after wearing and lightly brush with a toothbrush or washed with dish soap daily. Let your night guard dry before placing it in a storage case. Deep cleaning your night guard weekly using cleaning tablets can help prolong its lifespan.
When should I replace my night guard?
A. Depending on the quality, a good night guard can last several years. However, if you notice your night guard is worn down, damaged or highly discolored, you should consider replacing it. Thinner models will wear down more quickly than thicker ones.
What’s the best night guard to buy?
Top night guards
What you need to know: Provides a professionally molded fit for those who want a fully customized night guard.
What you’ll love: With four different guard styles to choose from, you can pick the one that works best for your level of grinding.
What you should consider: Somewhat more expensive than other models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top night guard for the money
What you need to know: A great value option, you’ll get a convenient three-pack for a low price.
What you’ll love: These night guards are simple and easy to mold and trim to your desired size.
What you should consider: There is no storage case included.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This model is thin, durable, odor-free and can be fully customized to any mouth size.
What you’ll love: The small perforations allow you to drink while wearing, and the anti-bacterial case makes storing easy.
What you should consider: Slightly harder and stiffer than some other models.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matthew Young writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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