Since every tenth American is grinding teeth, the industry which manufacturers mouth guards is growing rapidly. It is worth more than one billion dollars in the US alone. Mouth guards, also called occlusal guards, night guards, occlusal splints and bite plates are cheap and easily available. But, they are not all made the same and while some are a little more than a piece of plastic designed to make the manufacturer rich, others are top quality, high tech custom made for each user and provide superb protection for your teeth.
Two basic types of dental guards, or commonly called night guards, are:
- Off the counter guards
- Custom made guards
Off the Counter Guards
Cheap ready made night guards are sold everywhere – at your corner store, neighborhood pharmacy, even larger gas stations. They are made as “one-size-fits-all” and are often not providing a very good fit. They are often too bulky, keep falling out or make breathing difficult. Also, they are not making you very attractive to your sleeping partner. But, they are cheap, and they can give you a temporary protection until you can get your much more comfortable custom guard.
There are many different types of night guards on the market and some are better than others. Guards that are made of thermoplastic can be much more comfortable and can fit pretty well. They are designed to be heated in hot water to become pliable and molded to your teeth for better fit. This kind of plastic is unfortunately not very durable.
Cheap off the counter guards are often a financial necessity. To help you find the best possible ready made night guard for your particular needs, we have reviewed the ten best commercially available guards. Check the reviews here.
Ready made night guards are available online as well, at the Amazon, Sears and many other online stores. Once you read our reviews and find the best guard for you, compare the prices in the online stores to get the best deal. Keep in mind that higher price means better quality and durability.
While off the counter mouth guards will provide you with the necessary protection if you are grinding your teeth, you should see them as a temporary solution and look at the options for custom guards. You will be surprised how affordable they can be, in spite of what your dentist told you.
In most cases, people learn that they are grinding their teeth from their dentists, at their regular dental check up. Your dentist will tell you that your teeth are showing signs of wear, misalignment or are becoming loose and cracked from pressure. As soon as your dentist tells you that you are grinding your teeth, he or she will also tell you that you need to protect your teeth from further damage with a mouth guard. You will learn that there are many different types of mouth guards, some cheap, off the counter and not very comfortable. And he will also tell you that your best option are custom made mouth guards, made specifically for you, which are of excellent quality,, durable and comfortable. Your dentist is right, of course, and you will be more than eager to get yourself protected with such superior product. Then you will get the bad news: the price. Dentists charge from $500 to more than $1000 for a custom made mouth guard. Ouch!
What your dentist is not telling you is that he is not making the mouth guard in his back office. He is taking the impression of your teeth and sending it to a specialized lab to be made. The cost is less than $100. Dental Labs charges dentists about $40 – $70 for a custom guard. But, the dentist needs to keep his kids in an expensive school and maintain his BMW. Should you pay for that? Fortunately, you do not have to. There is another solution.
A number of companies have designed a kit, which allows you to take the impression of your teeth yourself and send it to their lab for a custom made mouth guard. You bypass your dentist, save hundreds of dollars and still get the custom made, comfortable, high quality mouth guard.
The best manufacturers of custom made mouth guards can be found here. Have a look at the lab reviews on our website to see how easy it is to take impression of your own teeth and how the lab uses it to make your custom mouth guard. Cost? Between $50 and $150 depending on the model. So, getting a cheap off the counter mouth guard does not make sense even financially.
Continue to Part 4 – Custom Mouthguards 101 – All You Have To Know About Custom Mouth Guards.