Night Guards

How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?

how thick should a dental night guard be?

Dental Night Guard Thickness: “How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

How thick should a dental night guard be?

Most customers that ring our line here at Sentinel have two questions:

night guard thickness

Short answer: 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.

“So How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

Custom Night Guard

Effective night guards are specific to the individual

We’ve found that the best way to find the solution to these two questions is to first determine your own grinding habits.

Are you a severe teeth grinder or clencher? Light to moderate? Have you worn a night guard in the past? Was it a thick or thin night guard? Tolerable, or not?

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.

We hope to nail it the first time around (and we most often do!) But just in case you receive your dental night guard and think “I wish I would have gone thicker (or thinner)” or “I wish I would have chosen a different type” DO NOT WORRY! We’re here to get you a great fitting guard.

This means working with you until you say “Yep! This one is perfect for me.” Period.

thin dental night guard

A Little Background Information on 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.

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.

The Use of a Dental Night Guard

If you have visited a dentist and a diagnosis has confirmed that you do indeed have the problem, 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.

While shopping around, most shoppers encounter a dilemma right off the bat:

Dental Night Guard Thickness: “How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

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.

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.

However, there are still a few decisions to make here. Below is some advice to help steer you towards choosing 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. This type of dental nightguard is likely to serve you for a period of between 6 months to 2 years. 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)

This is a thin 1mm dental night guard for day or night use.

Medium Thickness Night guard (2mm)

If, on the other hand, 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. The medium thickness dental night guard is likely to serve you for a period of between 1 to 3 years.

how thick does dentist make night guard

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 (always check with your dentist) to choose a thicker (3mm) dental night guard.

These guards are 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.

However, due to their thickness, the thicker guard may take some initial “getting used to” and most often requires some adjustments.

Since they are thick enough to withstand your grinding, you can expect them to serve you for a period of between 2 to 5 years.

We offer a 3mm soft (flexible) night guard and an extreme durability 3mm hard night guard. We do not offer the 3mm thickness in the dual laminate type because of the complex fabrication of this thicker appliance & greater need for adjustments.

It is best to purchase this type in the hard dual laminated materials through your dentist so that he/she can fit you correctly.

how to wear a night guard

“How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

All Sentinel Mouthguards and Nightguards are backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. This doesn’t just mean we’ll give you your money back if it doesn’t work out the first time around – it means we will work with you continuously (if you so choose) to get you a night guard that is a perfect fit for you.


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.