Teeth Care

Choosing the Best Custom Night Guard: Expert Guide & Advice

ultimate guide to custom night guards

Custom night guards stand as crucial guardians against the sometimes not-so-silent havoc of bruxism—a condition marked by unconscious teeth grinding and clenching during sleep. These personalized oral devices offer a tailored shield, not just for teeth but for overall oral health.

Unlike generic alternatives, custom night guards boast a meticulous fit crafted to individual contours, ensuring maximal comfort and effectiveness. Their significance extends beyond protection; they contribute to restorative sleep, preventing wear and tear on teeth and alleviating associated jaw pain.

custom night guard buy now graphic

Understanding Bruxism and Teeth Grinding

Insights into Nocturnal Teeth Grinding: Understanding Bruxism and Its Impact

Bruxism, a common yet often overlooked condition, is the unconscious habit of grinding or clenching teeth, typically during sleep. Stress, anxiety, misaligned teeth, or sleep disorders can trigger this involuntary action, leading to potential dental complications and discomfort.

Recognizing the signs of bruxism—such as tooth wear, jaw pain, or headaches—is key in addressing this concern. Left unchecked, bruxism can compromise dental health, causing enamel erosion, fractures, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues.

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and potential impact of bruxism empowers individuals to seek timely intervention, protecting their oral health and ensuring restorative sleep patterns.

Different Types of Night Guards

Custom, Boil-and-Bite, and Stock Guards: Exploring Varieties for Dental Protection

Night guards come in various forms, each catering to distinct preferences and needs. Custom-fit night guards, the pinnacle of personalized protection, are crafted based on individual dental impressions, offering superior comfort and efficacy.

Boil-and-bite guards, a common over-the-counter option, provide a semi-custom fit after softening in hot water and molding to teeth. While more affordable, they may lack the precise fit of custom options.

Stock mouthguards, pre-formed and ready-to-wear, offer convenience but often compromise on comfort and effectiveness due to their one-size-fits-all design. Understanding the differences between these types—custom-fit, boil-and-bite, and stock—empowers individuals to make an informed choice aligned with their comfort, budget, and oral care needs.

Benefits of Custom-Fit Night Guards

Enhancing Oral Health and Rest with Custom-Fit Night Guards

Custom-fit night guards stand as the pinnacle of dental protection, offering an array of benefits beyond mere tooth preservation. Their personalized design ensures an impeccable fit tailored to individual contours, providing unparalleled comfort during sleep.

This precise fit not only prevents teeth grinding but also alleviates associated jaw discomfort and muscle tension. Additionally, custom night guards mitigate the risks of enamel erosion and tooth fractures, preserving dental integrity.

By promoting a balanced bite and reducing the impact of bruxism, these guards foster restorative sleep, contributing to overall well-being. Their durable construction ensures longevity, offering a reliable shield against nightly grinding while endorsing optimal oral health and undisturbed sleep patterns.

Process of Obtaining a Custom Night Guard

Securing Your Custom Night Guard: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Perfect Fit

Obtaining a custom night guard involves a streamlined process geared towards personalized protection and comfort. Typically, the journey begins with a consultation with a dental professional or an online service specializing in custom oral appliances.

Impressions of the teeth are then taken, ensuring precise measurements for a tailored fit. Using these impressions, the custom night guard is crafted with high-quality materials, accounting for individual dental contours and specific needs. Whether through an in-person dental visit or an online ordering process, the goal remains consistent: to provide individuals with a custom-fit night guard that offers optimal comfort and protection.

Steps to ordering online:

  1. Visit the Website: Go to the official website of Sentinel Mouthguards. Oh! You’re already here! Perfect.
  2. Select the Night Guard Type: Choose the type of night guard that suits your needs. Sentinel Mouthguards may offer different options, such as soft or hard night guards. Take our 60 second quiz to find out which night guard is right for you.
  3. Choose the Material: Some night guards are made from different materials, each with its own set of benefits. Select the material that you prefer or that is recommended for your specific situation.
  4. Select the Thickness: Night guards come in various thicknesses. Thicker guards are more suitable for heavy teeth grinding, while thinner guards are appropriate for lighter grinding or clenching.
  5. Take an Impression: Sentinel Mouthguards requires you to take an impression of your teeth. We provide a kit with detailed instructions on how to do this. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure an accurate impression.
  6. Submit Impression: Once you have taken the impression, follow the instructions to send it back to Sentinel Mouthguards. Feel free to upload a picture to our email for approval prior to sending.
  7. Receive your custom night guard: Your impression will be used to create a stone cast of your teeth. Your custom night guard is made from the stone cast for a precise fit. Enjoy your new custom night guard!

Maintaining and Caring for a Custom Night Guard

Tips for Keeping Your Custom Night Guard Clean and Long-Lasting

how to clean your night guard

Proper maintenance is key to maximizing the lifespan and efficacy of a custom night guard. Regular cleaning using a gentle brush and mild soap or non-abrasive toothpaste helps remove plaque and debris, preventing bacterial buildup.

Rinse the night guard thoroughly and store it in a well-ventilated container when not in use, keeping it away from direct sunlight or extreme heat to avoid damage. Periodic checks for wear or damage are essential; consult a dental professional if any concerns arise.

Avoid using hot water or abrasive cleaners that might alter the night guard’s shape or material integrity. With consistent care and proper storage, a custom night guard can continue to offer optimal protection and comfort, ensuring a prolonged and effective shield against teeth grinding and preserving oral health.

Cleaning your dental night guard daily is important to maintain proper oral hygiene and ensure the longevity of the guard. Here are some quick and easy steps to clean your dental night guard:

  1. Rinse Immediately After Use: As soon as you wake up, remove your night guard and rinse it under cool or lukewarm water to remove saliva and any loose debris.
  2. Use a Soft Toothbrush: Gently brush your night guard using a soft toothbrush. Avoid using a hard or abrasive brush, as it may damage the material.
  3. Use Mild Soap or Denture Cleaner: Apply a small amount of mild soap or a non-abrasive denture cleaner to your toothbrush, and then brush the night guard. This helps to remove bacteria and any remaining debris.
  4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Do not use toothpaste on your night guard, as many toothpaste brands are abrasive and can scratch the surface of the guard. Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals or alcohol-based mouthwashes, as they can damage the material.
  5. Soak in Antimicrobial Solution (Optional): If recommended by your dentist or night guard provider, you can soak your night guard in an antimicrobial solution for additional disinfection. Follow the specific instructions provided for the solution.
  6. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning, rinse your night guard thoroughly under running water to remove any soap, cleaner, or soaking solution residue.
  7. Pat Dry with a Clean Towel: Gently pat your night guard dry with a clean, soft towel. Avoid using paper towels or tissues, as they may leave behind fibers.
  8. Store Properly: Store your night guard in its case when not in use. Make sure the case is clean and dry to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  9. Clean the Case: Regularly clean the case of your night guard. Use a mild soap or a diluted solution of water and vinegar to clean the case. Allow it to air dry completely before placing your night guard inside.
  10. Regularly Inspect for Damage: Check your night guard regularly for any signs of wear, damage, or discoloration. If you notice any issues, consult your dentist for guidance on whether repair or replacement is necessary.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively clean your dental night guard on a daily basis, promoting good oral hygiene and ensuring the continued effectiveness of the night guard in protecting your teeth.

Faq’s About Custom Night Guards

Common Questions Addressed: Shedding Light on FAQs About Custom Night Guards

Exploring common queries regarding custom night guards helps individuals make informed decisions about their oral health. Frequently asked questions often revolve around the process of obtaining custom night guards, their effectiveness in preventing teeth grinding, and the maintenance required for optimal use. Understanding the differences between custom-fit, boil-and-bite, and stock mouthguards, as well as the costs and insurance coverage, addresses many concerns.

Additionally, FAQs often encompass comfort, durability, and potential adjustments required for these personalized oral devices. Clearing misconceptions and offering expert guidance through FAQs empowers individuals to choose the most suitable night guard aligned with their specific needs, promoting better oral health and quality sleep.

Are custom night guards worth it?

The worth of custom night guards often depends on individual needs and circumstances. Custom night guards offer a tailored fit, providing superior comfort and protection compared to over-the-counter options. They’re specifically designed to address teeth grinding and jaw clenching during sleep, protecting teeth from wear and minimizing discomfort associated with bruxism.

For individuals experiencing regular teeth grinding or jaw pain, custom night guards are often recommended by dental professionals to prevent dental damage and alleviate related symptoms. While they may have a higher upfront cost compared to generic options, their precise fit and durability can offer long-term benefits, potentially reducing the need for extensive dental treatments caused by untreated bruxism.

How much do custom night guards cost?

The cost of custom night guards can vary based on several factors, including the dentist or dental clinic providing the service, the materials used, and the location. On average, custom night guards may range from approximately $300 to $800 or more.

Factors influencing the cost:

  1. Dentist’s Fees: Different dental practices may have varying pricing structures based on their expertise and location.
  2. Materials Used: Night guards can be made from different materials, each with its own cost implications. Some materials might be more durable or offer specific features, affecting the overall price.
  3. Insurance Coverage: Some dental insurance plans may partially cover the cost of a custom night guard, reducing the out-of-pocket expenses for the patient.

Can I wear a custom night guard with braces?

Yes, it’s possible to wear a custom night guard while having braces; however, there are considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Comfort: Custom night guards are designed to fit the unique contours of your teeth. While wearing braces, the guard may need adjustments or modifications to accommodate the brackets and wires. A dentist can tailor the night guard to ensure a comfortable fit without interfering with the orthodontic treatment.
  2. Orthodontic Progress: Braces gradually shift teeth into their correct positions. A custom night guard should not hinder this process. Regular consultations with both the orthodontist and dentist are essential to monitor progress and ensure the night guard does not interfere with the braces’ effectiveness.
  3. Maintenance: Keeping both the braces and the night guard clean is crucial. Brushing your teeth and cleaning the night guard properly before use is essential to maintain oral hygiene.

Consulting both your orthodontist and dentist is highly recommended. They can assess your specific situation and provide guidance on the use of a custom night guard while undergoing orthodontic treatment with braces.

Can I order online and take my own dental impression if I have braces or do I have to go through a dentist?

No, it’s not advisable to take your own dental impression if you have braces. The impression putty used to create molds for custom night guards can potentially get stuck in the braces, causing discomfort and complications. The presence of braces makes it more challenging to achieve accurate and safe impressions without professional guidance.

Seeking assistance from a dentist or orthodontist who has experience working with braces is essential. They have the expertise to navigate around the braces, ensuring the impression process is done correctly, without risking damage to the braces or causing discomfort. Professional guidance is crucial to obtain accurate impressions for a well-fitting night guard while maintaining the safety and effectiveness of the orthodontic treatment.

How long do custom night guards last?

The lifespan of a custom night guard can vary based on several factors, including the material used, the frequency of use, and how well it’s maintained. On average, a well-cared-for custom night guard can last between 1 to 5 years.

Factors affecting the longevity of a custom night guard:

  1. Material Quality: Different materials have different durability levels. Hard acrylic or dual-laminate guards tend to be more durable than softer materials but may vary in lifespan.
  2. Grinding Intensity: Individuals with severe bruxism may wear down their night guard faster due to increased grinding pressure.
  3. Maintenance: Proper care and maintenance significantly impact the lifespan of a night guard. Regular cleaning and proper storage help prevent deterioration.
  4. Changes in Bite: Over time, changes in tooth alignment or bite due to orthodontic treatment or natural shifting can affect the fit and longevity of the night guard.

It’s essential to monitor the night guard for signs of wear, tear, or changes in fit. If it becomes uncomfortable, shows signs of damage, or doesn’t fit properly, it may be time to replace it. Regular dental check-ups can help assess the condition of the night guard and ensure it continues to provide effective protection against teeth grinding.

Do custom night guards stop teeth grinding completely?

Custom night guards are highly effective in reducing the impact of teeth grinding (bruxism) by providing a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth. They serve to cushion the teeth and jaws, minimizing the damage caused by grinding and clenching during sleep.

However, while custom night guards can significantly decrease the effects of teeth grinding, they might not entirely eliminate the habit. Bruxism is often a subconscious action triggered by various factors such as stress, anxiety, or misaligned teeth, and a night guard addresses the consequences rather than the underlying causes.

The primary goal of a custom night guard is to prevent dental damage, alleviate jaw pain, and reduce the impact of bruxism on oral health. It can effectively distribute the forces generated during grinding, protecting teeth from excessive wear and fractures.

For some individuals, using a night guard might help reduce the intensity of grinding, but it might not completely stop the habit. Managing stress, practicing relaxation techniques, and addressing underlying causes of bruxism are also essential components of comprehensive treatment along with using a night guard.

Can I clean my custom night guard with household products?

Yes, you can clean your custom night guard with household products, but it’s important to choose gentle options to avoid damaging the night guard’s material. Here are some household cleaning options that are safe for cleaning custom night guards:

  1. Mild Soap: Use a small amount of mild, fragrance-free liquid soap or dishwashing liquid with lukewarm water. Gently scrub the night guard with a soft toothbrush to remove debris.
  2. Baking Soda: Create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply this paste to the night guard, gently scrubbing with a soft toothbrush, then rinse thoroughly.
  3. Vinegar: Dilute white vinegar with water (1:1 ratio) and soak the night guard for 15-30 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly afterward.

Avoid using harsh chemicals, bleach, or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the material of the night guard. Additionally, hot water should be avoided as it might warp or deform the night guard.

Regularly cleaning your night guard after each use and storing it properly in a clean, dry case can help maintain its cleanliness and prolong its lifespan. If unsure about the cleaning method, consult your dentist for specific recommendations on how to clean your particular type of night guard.

Can custom night guards be used for daytime teeth grinding?

Custom night guards are primarily designed for nighttime use to protect teeth against the effects of bruxism during sleep. However, in some cases, individuals may also grind or clench their teeth during the daytime due to stress, anxiety, or other factors.

Exploring options like the Sentinel Mouthguards Day Mouth Guard, specifically designed for daytime use, will offer protection from daytime clenching and grinding.


In conclusion, custom night guards stand as indispensable allies in safeguarding oral health and ensuring restorative sleep. These personalized oral devices, tailored to individual contours, offer superior comfort and protection against the detrimental effects of teeth grinding during sleep. From understanding bruxism to exploring the benefits of custom-fit solutions, this comprehensive guide has delved into the significance of these guards in preserving dental integrity and promoting better sleep quality. By addressing common queries and misconceptions through FAQs, individuals are empowered to make informed choices about their oral care. Choosing a custom night guard means prioritizing not just tooth protection but overall well-being. It’s an investment in oral health harmony and undisturbed sleep, contributing to a healthier, happier lifestyle.


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 http://sentinelmouthguards.com

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