We strive to provide the most accurate information possible. You should know that some individuals will require a specific custom night guard type that must be made through a dentist to treat various issues such as jaw alignment, TMJ, teeth misalignment, etc). A licensed dentist will be able to evaluate and determine which night guard (dental guard) type is best suited for your needs. The dental guards suggested for use in this article are for basic teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxing) or to protect your new veneers/crowns/bridges etc, or to be worn as an anti-aging device.
As if our society isn’t in enough debt, it’s everyday situations like these that make things even worse. People are applying for Care Credit (a medical credit card that allows you to make payments on your medical bill) for a custom fit night guard through their dentist. The average cost of these occlusal devices can be anywhere from $300-$1000 in a dental office. Online you can get them for as low as $80. What gives?
I was watching a documentary the other day that was filmed by Tom Shadyac (director of Ace Ventura) called “I Am” (if you get a chance watch it! good stuff) and it touched on something that I found myself thinking about over and over. Tom talked about how nature only takes what it needs and how we ,as humans, get into this mindset of “we need more”. Why is it that some people have more than enough while others are struggling to get by?
On a larger scale, medical cost is a huge political issue (and since I am just a tiny person) for the purpose of this article, I’m not going to try to tackle that giant. Maybe later. Right now, I just want to tap on a speck..a teeny tiny microscopic dot amongst a big giant blob of a problem.
The dentist and his night guards.
So below are five top reasons why you should not let a dentist make your night guard (unless ,of course, you can talk him down to a reasonable price).
1. You can get your night guard through an online dental lab for way less
Let’s cut straight to it. The #1 reason is because you can get the same exact product through an online dental lab. There is no difference in the material used to make the guard, the process, nunna that! Do not think you are getting a better quality guard through a dentist because you were duped into paying for it. It’s a sham. A ruse. A subterfuge.
2. No guarantee
Most dental offices offer no replacement warranty or satisfaction guarantee. Let’s say you pay $500 for a night guard. You then go spend the weekend at Aunt Bernie’s house in the Hamptons (bear with the scenario will you? We like to paint pictures.) You wear your new night guard like you’re supposed to. You come back home and realize HOLY CRAP! You left that $500 piece of royal plastic in the guest bathroom! You call her. That old bat can’t find your prized possession anywhere! You call your dentist. He offers to make you a new one at a discounted price (since he already has your stone mold of your teeth). How gracious. You shell out another $250 for a brand new night guard. Now, a dental lab isn’t going to just give you a free guard if you lose yours BUT they usually will give you a discount and since you got the guard at a reasonable cost in the first place, it won’t feel like getting a dagger to the heart.
3. Insurance probably will not cover you
9 times out of 10 the night guard is not covered by your insurance. This needs no further explanation. Good luck getting your insurance to cover even a portion of your night guard and why should they? Insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for something that is non-invasive, not terribly time consuming, and pretty inexpensive to make & neither should you! Also, if you have ever been confused by your own dental insurance plan (you’re not alone) here is an excellent Reddit thread that breaks down how your dental insurance works compared to regular medical insurance. https://www.reddit.com/r/Dentistry/comments/178lwm/dental_insurance/
4. Your night guard is being made by someone other than your dentist.
The dentist does not make your night guard. Nope. I know I know. Crushed right?? I mean, if I’m paying several hundred dollars for a professionally made custom fit occlusal guard, I want my dentist to be back in the lab constructing and cutting and polishing and doing everything else I imagine he should be doing to make my perfect fitting appliance. Instead, he sends the impression(s) (that most often HE didn’t take. I’ll bet my last dollar a dental assistant took your dental impression) off to a dental lab or relies on his trusty assistant to make it.
5. You can take your dental impression yourself.
You are perfectly capable of taking your own dental impression. We are talking about a plastic tray and some putty that resembles play dough. You mix the putty up, place it in the tray and submerge your teeth. That’s it! It’s not rocket science. If it was, dental assistants all over the world would be struggling daily.
Tip when ordering online: Read the directions carefully when taking your own dental impression. Do not take your own dental impression if you have loose teeth or loose dental work. Do not take your own dental impression if you have braces. That would be a terrible idea. If you mess up your dental impression for whatever reason, a reputable online night guard lab will send you a new kit free of charge.
So there ya have it folks
Many consumers tell us that they have ordered a night guard from their dentist only to be disappointed in the fit and/or usefulness, and ability to wear it comfortably at night. If you do decide to cough up the cash and pay a dentist you should know that he/she should work with you to your complete satisfaction. It’s one of the perks of going through a dentist. That is, the ability to get your night guard adjusted to your exact specifications if needed.
If you have started looking into the subject of bruxism and you’re trying to understand nighttime teeth grinding/jaw clenching, you’ve probably already noticed some real inconsistencies and downright contradictions out there. The NTI night guard ,for example, is controversial in its usefulness and effectiveness. Some even say the small device is dangerous (because of the potential to swallow piece during sleep). Yet it’s popular. Some dentists ONLY make the NTI guard in their office(s). Here’s a good community forum where real people are talking about using the NTI device.
TMJ is a twisted issue. Everyone is different and dental anatomy, habits and pathology vary so widely from person to person. As stated in the note at the beginning of this article, not everything is black and white. You may very well have to go through some trial and error to gain control of your bruxism and/or TMJ. There may be some reasons why you should let your dentist make your night guard. Pay attention to what your dentist tells you. Be proactive and seek to understand your disorder. Make changes in your lifestyle to lessen the severity or intensity of the grinding/clenching.
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