Night Guards, Tips & Tricks

5 Reasons Not To Pay Your Dentist to Make Your Custom Night Guard

woman ordering custom night guard online

Reviewed and updated for accuracy on 06/24/23

Are you considering getting a night guard from your dentist but find yourself questioning the high cost? You’re not alone. Many individuals seeking relief from bruxism, the habit of grinding or clenching teeth during sleep, have concerns about the expenses associated with custom night guards offered by dental offices.

In this article, we delve into the world of dental night guard costs, exploring why these appliances can come with a hefty price tag. We’ll address common questions like why night guards from dentists are expensive and whether they are worth the investment. By shedding light on these issues, we aim to help you make an informed decision about your options for obtaining a night guard that suits both your budget and your dental health needs.

defend your teeth against the daily grind graphic

Why is a night guard from my dentist so expensive?

In a dental office, the average cost of the custom night guard can be anywhere from $300-$1000. Online, you can get them for as low as $100. What gives? Patients are even applying for Care Credit (a medical credit card through their dentist) to pay for their night guard.

When considering the cost of a night guard from your dentist, several factors contribute to the higher price tag. Understanding these reasons can provide insights into why dental night guards tend to be more expensive.

Here are some key factors:

  1. Customization and Expertise: Dentists create custom night guards tailored to your specific dental structure and bruxism needs. This level of customization requires their professional expertise, time, and specialized equipment. The meticulous process of taking impressions, fabricating the guard, and ensuring a precise fit adds to the overall cost.
  2. Quality Materials: Dentists typically use high-quality dental-grade materials to ensure durability, comfort, and effectiveness. These materials are specifically designed to withstand the forces of grinding and clenching while providing adequate protection for your teeth. The higher cost of these premium materials contributes to the overall expense of the night guard.
  3. Professional Services: When obtaining a night guard from a dentist, you are not only paying for the physical appliance but also for the professional services provided. This includes the dentist’s expertise in diagnosing bruxism, evaluating your specific needs, and monitoring your progress over time. The cost reflects the comprehensive care and follow-up that dentists offer as part of their service.
  4. Overhead Costs: Dental offices have various overhead expenses, such as rent, utilities, salaries, equipment maintenance, and staff training. These costs are factored into the pricing of dental services, including night guards. The expenses associated with running a dental practice contribute to the higher overall cost of the appliance.
  5. Liability and Insurance: Dentists assume liability for the quality and effectiveness of the night guard they provide. They are responsible for any issues or complications that may arise from the use of the appliance. Additionally, the costs associated with professional liability insurance coverage add to the overall expense of the night guard.

While the cost of a night guard from a dentist may initially seem steep, it’s essential to consider the expertise, customization, and professional services that come with it. However, it’s worth noting that alternative options are available that offer comparable quality at a lower price point. Exploring these alternatives can help you find a night guard solution that fits your budget without compromising on the protection and relief you need for your bruxism.

How much does a custom night guard cost at the dental office?

The cost of a custom night guard at a dental office can vary depending on various factors such as geographical location, the specific dental practice, and the complexity of your case. On average, the cost of a custom night guard from a dentist typically ranges from $300 to $800 or more.

Factors that can influence the cost include:

  1. Geographic Location: Dental fees can vary based on the region or city where the dental office is located. Urban areas or areas with a higher cost of living tend to have higher dental service prices.
  2. Dentist’s Expertise and Reputation: Dentists with extensive experience and a good reputation may charge higher fees for their services.
  3. Additional Dental Procedures: If your case requires additional dental work, such as tooth extractions or restorations, the cost of the night guard may increase to accommodate these procedures.
  4. Dental Insurance Coverage: Dental insurance plans may partially or fully cover the cost of a custom night guard. However, coverage limits and deductibles can affect the out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.

Are dental night guards covered by insurance?

Dental insurance coverage for night guards can vary depending on the specific insurance plan and the reason for needing the appliance. Here are some key points to consider regarding dental insurance coverage for night guards:

  1. Medical Necessity: Dental insurance plans typically cover procedures and treatments that are considered medically necessary. In the case of bruxism, if a night guard is deemed necessary to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching, there is a higher likelihood of insurance coverage.
  2. Type of Insurance Plan: The type of dental insurance plan you have plays a significant role in coverage. Some plans offer more comprehensive coverage that includes night guards, while others may have limitations or exclusions for certain dental appliances.
  3. Plan Limitations and Deductibles: Dental insurance plans often have specific limitations, waiting periods, or maximum benefit amounts for certain procedures, including night guards. It’s important to review your insurance policy to understand the coverage details, including any deductibles or copayments that may apply.
  4. Pre-authorization or Pre-approval: Some insurance plans require pre-authorization or pre-approval for certain treatments, including custom night guards. It is advisable to check with your insurance provider and obtain any necessary approvals before proceeding with the treatment.
  5. Alternative Options: Insurance coverage may vary depending on the type of night guard prescribed by your dentist. For example, basic or standard night guards may have different coverage compared to more advanced or specialized options. It’s best to discuss the available choices with your dentist and insurance provider to determine the coverage for each option.

5 Reasons Not To Pay Your Dentist to Make Your Custom Night Guard

  1. High Costs: One of the primary concerns individuals have when considering a custom night guard from a dentist is the cost. Dental procedures can be expensive, and the creation of a custom night guard is no exception. Dentists typically charge a premium for their services, including the fabrication of a custom-fit appliance. For individuals on a tight budget, this cost may be prohibitive, leading them to explore more cost-effective options.
  2. Overhead Expenses: Dental offices have significant overhead expenses, such as staff salaries, equipment maintenance, and office space. These expenses often contribute to the higher costs associated with custom night guards. By avoiding the dentist’s office, you can bypass these additional costs and potentially find a more affordable solution that suits your needs.
  3. Convenience and Accessibility: Pursuing a custom night guard through a dentist involves scheduling appointments, taking time off work, and potentially facing long waiting periods. This process may not be practical for individuals with busy schedules or those who live in remote areas with limited access to dental clinics. Fortunately, alternative options are available that offer greater convenience and accessibility, allowing you to address your bruxism without the added hassle.
  4. Technological Advances: Advancements in technology have made it possible to create effective, high-quality night guards from the comfort of your own home. Online companies specializing in dental appliances now offer custom night guards that can be easily ordered and delivered directly to your doorstep. These services often provide dental-grade materials and clear instructions for creating impressions at home, allowing for a precise fit without the need for in-person dental visits.
  5. Personalized Fit: Custom night guards from dentists are typically made by taking an impression of your teeth. However, advancements in at-home impression kits have made it possible to achieve comparable levels of accuracy. By following the instructions provided by reputable online companies, you can create an impression that will result in a personalized night guard tailored to fit your teeth perfectly. This approach saves you time and money while still ensuring a comfortable and effective solution for your bruxism.

While there are undoubtedly benefits to obtaining a custom night guard from a dentist, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks. The high costs, overhead expenses, lack of convenience, and technological advancements in the dental industry have opened up new possibilities for obtaining a custom night guard without relying solely on dental clinics.

By exploring alternative options, you can find affordable, convenient, and effective solutions to protect your teeth from the effects of bruxism. Remember to conduct thorough research and choose a reputable online company to ensure you receive a high-quality night guard that meets your specific needs.

Are there more affordable alternatives to getting a night guard from a dentist?

Yes, there are more affordable alternatives to obtaining a night guard from a dentist. Here are a few cost-effective options worth considering:

  1. Online Dental Labs: Several reputable online dental labs offer custom night guards at a fraction of the cost charged by traditional dental offices. These companies provide dental-grade materials and clear instructions for creating impressions at home. Once the impressions are sent back to the lab, they create a custom night guard that is shipped directly to you. Online dental labs eliminate the overhead costs associated with dental offices, making their prices more affordable.
  2. Over-the-Counter (OTC) Night Guards: Pharmacies and online retailers offer OTC night guards that can be purchased without a prescription. While these guards are not custom-fit, they come in various sizes and can be adjusted at home to provide a better fit. OTC night guards are generally more affordable, but they may not offer the same level of comfort and effectiveness as custom-made options.
  3. Boil-and-Bite Night Guards: Similar to OTC guards, boil-and-bite night guards are available at stores and online. These guards are made from a thermoplastic material that softens when boiled and can be molded to fit your teeth. While they offer a better fit than generic OTC guards, they still lack the customization of a professionally made night guard.

Did you know?
Mass produced OTC night guards are discouraged by most dental providers.

Why are mass produced OTC night guards are discouraged by most dental providers?

Most dental providers discourage the use of mass-produced over-the-counter (OTC) night guards due to several reasons:

  1. Poor Fit: OTC night guards are designed to fit a wide range of individuals, resulting in a generic fit. Since they are not custom-made for your specific teeth and bite, they may not provide an optimal fit, leading to discomfort, difficulty breathing, and potential oral health issues.
  2. Limited Adjustability: OTC night guards typically offer limited adjustability options. They may allow for basic adjustments, such as trimming or heating for minor modifications. However, these adjustments are often insufficient to achieve a truly customized fit that properly aligns with your teeth and jaw.
  3. Inadequate Protection: Custom night guards made by dental professionals are specifically designed to provide optimal protection against teeth grinding or clenching. They are made from durable, high-quality materials that can withstand the forces exerted during bruxism episodes. OTC night guards may not offer the same level of protection and durability, potentially compromising their effectiveness.
  4. Comfort and Compliance: Custom night guards are crafted with comfort in mind, taking into account the unique shape and contours of your teeth and bite. They are generally more comfortable to wear and less likely to interfere with sleep. OTC night guards may cause discomfort, interfere with proper breathing, or even fall out during the night, leading to non-compliance and reduced effectiveness.
  5. Long-Term Effects: Ill-fitting or poorly designed night guards can have long-term consequences. They may alter your bite, cause jaw misalignment, or contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Custom night guards are carefully crafted to minimize these risks and ensure optimal oral health outcomes.

Can I negotiate the price of a night guard with my dentist?

In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate the price of a night guard with your dentist. While negotiation is not guaranteed to be successful in every situation, it’s worth discussing the cost with your dentist and exploring potential options. Here are a few tips for negotiating the price of a night guard:

  1. Research and Comparison: Before approaching your dentist, do some research to get an idea of the average cost for night guards in your area. Compare prices from different dental practices or online dental labs to have a benchmark for negotiation.
  2. Express Your Concerns: Communicate openly with your dentist about your financial constraints and concerns regarding the cost of the night guard. They may be willing to work with you to find a solution that meets your needs.
  3. Ask for Alternative Options: Inquire about different night guard materials or variations that may be more cost-effective. Your dentist may have alternative options that can provide adequate protection at a lower price point.
  4. Mention Insurance Coverage: If you have dental insurance, discuss the coverage details and ask your dentist to explore possibilities for maximizing insurance benefits to reduce your out-of-pocket expenses.
  5. Consider Payment Plans: Inquire about any payment plans or financing options that the dental office may offer. Some practices provide flexible payment arrangements that can help make the cost more manageable over time.

It’s important to approach the negotiation process respectfully and professionally. Dentists understand that cost can be a concern for their patients, and they may be open to working out a mutually agreeable arrangement. However, keep in mind that not all dentists may be able to accommodate negotiations due to factors like their practice policies or limitations set by insurance companies.

Remember, the primary focus should be on finding a night guard solution that suits your needs and protects your dental health. If negotiation with your current dentist does not yield satisfactory results, exploring alternative options, such as Sentinel Mouthguards, may be worth considering.

Is it easy to take my own dental impression?

night guard for teeth grinding

Taking your own dental impression is easy but requires careful attention to detail and following specific instructions.

Many people have successfully taken their own dental impressions at home using impression kits provided by online dental labs. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Instructions: Read and understand the instructions provided with the impression kit thoroughly before starting the process. Take note of any specific steps or requirements to ensure accurate results.
  2. Patience and Practice: Taking a dental impression requires patience and practice. It may take more than one attempt to become comfortable with the process and achieve the desired result. Take your time and follow the instructions carefully.
  3. Preparation: Prepare the impression materials as instructed. Make sure to have everything you need within reach, such as trays, putty, mixing tips, a timer, and a mirror, to streamline the process.
  4. Positioning: Properly position the tray and ensure it covers the necessary teeth or areas as indicated. Pay attention to the depth and alignment of the tray to capture an accurate impression.
  5. Timing: Timing is crucial when working with impression materials. Follow the instructions provided to mix the materials and insert the tray within the recommended time frame. Be mindful of any specific time limits for setting or hardening.
  6. Assistance: If you feel unsure or uncomfortable taking the impression on your own, consider enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member. They can assist with positioning the tray and provide additional support during the process.

Guidelines and tips 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, loose dental work or if you have braces.

Interested in ordering your custom night guard online?

Your most common questions answered:

How does it work?

First, take our 60 sec. quiz and find out which night guard type is right for you. One common question we are asked is which thickness to choose. On each product page, in the drop down menu, you will see the following thickness options:

Thin for light teeth grinding/clenching

Thicker for moderate teeth grinding/clenching

Thickest for heavy teeth grinding/clenching (only available as a soft night guard or our 3mm Extreme Hard Night Guard.

To give a reference point for how thick the guards are, our thin guard is 1mm. Our thicker guard is 2mm (thickness of a nickel coin) and our thickest guard is 3mm.

Dental Night Guard Thickness: Which To Choose?

Hard, Soft, or Dual Laminated Night Guard: Which is right for me?

Once your order has been placed you will receive a do-it-yourself dental impression kit. This kit contains two plastic trays (choose which one fits best), blue and white putty paks, instructions, and a prepaid return mailer.

Taking your dental impression is EASY! Check out our “how to” video. Upon receipt of your dental impression, we will make your custom appliance within 3-4 business days. That’s it!

What if I don’t take my dental impression correctly?

We will mail your a dental impression kit free of charge.

Can my night guard be used to prevent the look of aging?

Yes! One of the major effects of teeth grinding is the flattening or shortening of the teeth. This is an indicator of age. Wearing a dental night guard consistently to protect your teeth from become shorter is a great addition to your nighttime regimen.

What if my night guard does not fit correctly?

Keep in mind that the Sentinel warranty and return policy is unlike any other. We stand by our products and will always work with you. This means that if you are dissatisfied with your product for any reason, you can either contact Sentinel within 30 days for a full refund or opt to continue working with us until you get a great fitting guard. Our commitment to you is 100% satisfaction.



While there are valid reasons to consider alternatives to paying your dentist for a custom night guard, it’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons. While the cost of a night guard from a dental office may seem high, it is often reflective of the expertise, customization, and quality of materials provided.

However, it is worth exploring more affordable alternatives, such as online dental labs or over-the-counter options, especially if cost is a significant factor. Online dental labs can offer custom night guards at a fraction of the price, while still maintaining quality and effectiveness. Over-the-counter night guards, although not custom-fit, can provide a temporary solution for mild cases of bruxism.

When considering alternatives, it’s crucial to prioritize the protection of your dental health and consult with dental professionals. They can provide guidance on the most suitable option based on your specific needs and budget. Keep in mind that poorly fitting or low-quality night guards may compromise their effectiveness and potentially lead to long-term oral health issues.

Ultimately, the decision regarding how to obtain a night guard should be based on a thorough assessment of your individual situation, budget, and the severity of your bruxism. Prioritize finding a solution that offers a balance between cost-effectiveness and quality to ensure the protection of your teeth and overall well-being.

We’d love to stay in touch! Find us on social media to follow for more tips, promotions, cool “behind the scenes” videos and more!

One response to “5 Reasons Not To Pay Your Dentist to Make Your Custom Night Guard

5 Reasons Not To Pay Your Dentist to Make Your Custom Night Guard
Comments are closed.


sentinel mouthguards author
Ashely Notarmaso

Ashely Notarmaso is the author behind the Sentinel Mouth Guard Blog. She is the CEO and founder of Sentinel Mouth Guards (Founded in 2012) Her long-time work in the dental mouth guard arena and her excellent ability to listen to customer concerns in this often contradictory field has laid the groundwork to explore night guard/mouth guard fabrication in-depth and address real concerns. With the help of her team, she has created a unique fabrication method that promises a great fitting custom oral appliance every time. Amazon’s choice for #1 mouth guard! Visit the online store

Verified By

Related Posts