Night Guards

Dental Night Guard Thickness: Everything You Need to Know

how thick should a dental night guard be?

Article updated for accuracy on 06/05/22

When searching for the right night guard for your teeth grinding and jaw clenching needs, you’ll quickly discover that night guards come in several different material types and thickness options. Top complaints include “my night guard is too bulky” and “my night guard is not thick enough”.

In this article, we explore the different night guard thicknesses and help to guide you in choosing the best night guard for you.

How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?

Short answer: Below are three standard thickness options to choose from.

Thin (1mm thick)- This is very thin (think invisalign thin). This thickness is suitable for daytime clenching and grinding or very light nighttime bruxism.

Moderate/Medium (2mm thick)- For reference, a nickel coin is 2mm thick. This is the most common night guard thickness and works well to combat the effects of most teeth grinding and jaw clenching habits.

Heavy duty (3mm+) – Any night guard that is 3mm thick or more is for heavy, intense episodes of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. The thicker the night guard, the more durable it becomes. Beware that this type may take longer to feel comfortable in the mouth.

Note: There is no universally perfect night guard on the market that is made for every single individual. It simply doesn’t exist. The reason why is because every one of us has a different mouth shape, teeth arch, and dental anatomy. To go beyond that, we also have different levels of intensity when dealing with grinding and clenching habits. Some of us will grind right through a thin guard within a few months, while a thin type may last longer for a less intense teeth grinder.

How Do I Know Which Night Guard to Choose?

choose my night guard

Many customers that ring our line here at Sentinel Mouth Guards® have one question:

First, determine your own teeth grinding habits.

A dentist can evaluate your teeth and determine if you’re a light, moderate or heavy duty teeth grinder.

If your only experience with night guards has been the use of a cheap store bought kind, you will be happy to learn that even our thickest night guard is smaller and less bulky than most mass produced, bulky stock types.

Second, accept that finding a dental night guard that works for you might include a little trial and error.

Sentinel Mouthguards® 90 Day Satisfaction Guarantee

One great thing about our company is that we work with you under your 90 day satisfaction guarantee to make sure you receive the right night guard type for you. That’s right! You’re not stuck with your initial purchase. We’ll work hard to make sure you’re smiling or your money back! Visit our help center to learn more.

thin dental night guard

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition that makes you grind, clench or gnash your teeth during sleep.

If a person has the condition, they may grind their teeth during the day or they may also grind/clench their teeth while asleep.

Night bruxism is more common and tends to raise more concern compared to experiencing the condition during the day. This is because we grind and/or clench significantly harder at nighttime.

Why Wear a Dental Night Guard?

Wearing a night guard is a preventative measure. Even a person with mild bruxism may have major dental issues down the road – if the condition persists and they opt to forego wearing a protective appliance for their teeth.

Bruxism can make life uncomfortable, not to mention expensive (costly dental repairs).

Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep disorder. Some research has indicated that it can be caused by other sleep complications/conditions such as sleep apnea, snoring & disturbed sleep patterns of the individual.

The reason for this is most likely an unconscious response to the collapsed airways by tightening the jaw muscles to prevent restrictions of airflow.

If you have even a mild form of the condition, through years of continuous grinding or clenching action, it can lead to damaged teeth, gum recession, jaw disorders and bad headaches. It is thus important for you to seek treatment from a qualified dentist.

If you have visited a dentist and a diagnosis has confirmed, it is important to manage the condition.

Bottom line: Don’t sweep this one under the rug. Untreated bruxism can cause major and expensive dental work down the road). The only known, surefire way to protect your teeth from the effects of bruxing is the consistent use of a dental night guard.

best material for night guard

You already know that the best way to go is to avoid mass produced “one size fits all types” and order a custom dental night guard from a reputable company.

How Does Ordering a Night Guard Online Work?

Sentinel Mouthguards® makes it easy for you to take an impression of your teeth by providing a kit that allows you do it from the comfort of your home.

Once our lab receives your impression, we are able to customize and produce a dental night guard that fits your teeth like a glove.

Still have questions? Below is some additional advice to help you choose the right thickness.

Dental Night Guards: Choosing the Right Thickness

1MM Thin Night Guard (optimal for daytime use)

If you are looking for a dental night guard that you can wear during the day, a 1mm thin dental guard may be the best option for you. This is because it allows you to conduct your daily activities, including speaking, without a problem.

This type of dental night guard is available in a thickness of 1mm, and its slimline design allows you wear it comfortably and speak with ease for the duration of your day.

Always remove your daytime guard while eating and drinking.

Pictured below is the Sentinel Hard Dental Night Guard (1mm thick) for your daytime needs.

thinnest night guard for teeth grinding
1mm thickness (for light teeth grinders)

Medium/Moderate Thickness Night guard (2MM)

If you have a case of night bruxism that is moderate, you’re better off settling for a dental night guard of medium thickness.

This guard will have the capacity to protect your teeth while being comfortable in the mouth. This thickness is not bulky. A nickel coin is a great reference point to get an idea of a 2mm thick night guard.

The nickel is almost exactly two millimeters thick. 

3MM Thick Dental Night Guard (For Heavy Teeth Grinding/Jaw Clenching)

In case you have a severe form of the condition that is adversely affecting your teeth, it may be advisable to choose a thicker (3mm) dental night guard. Always check with your dentist to determine whethere a thicker night guard is right for you.

The Sentinel Mouthguards® Extreme Hard Dental Night Guard is a full 3mm of thickness between the chewing surfaces of the teeth, so you can expect complete protection no matter how serious your condition is.

Does Sentinel Mouthguards® Offer a 3MM Soft Night Guard Too?

We do! We offer a 3mm Soft (flexible) Night Guard and an Extreme Hard Dental Night Guard.

How Long Do Dental Night Guards Last?

Dental Night Guard Longevity Guide:

1MM Thin Night Guard

This type of dental guard is likely to serve you for a period of between 6 months to 2 years.

2MM Medium/Moderate Night Guard

This thickness is suggested for most general teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Your 2mm night guard should last 2 to 4 years.

3MM Thick Night Guard

Since the material is thick enough to withstand your heavy duty grinding and clenching, you can expect your 3mm night guard to serve you for a period of between 2 to 7 years.

All Sentinel Mouthguard products are backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This means we are working hard to make you smile or your money back!


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

medically reviewed by dr lara coseo
Dr. Lara Coseo

Baylor College of Dentistry

Dr. Lara Coseo, (DDS, FAGD) is a 2004 graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. Having practiced general dentistry for 13 years, Dr. Lara currently serves as an Associate Professor at Texas A&M College of Dentistry.