Teeth Care

Mouth Guards: The Good, The Bad, and the Best.

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Checked and updated for accuracy on March 2nd, 2023

You’ve decided that you need a mouth guard but not just any mouth guard. You’re looking for the best mouth guard:

  •  Comfortable. Easy to wear, breath and communicate in.
  • Durable. Lasts a long time.
  • Protective. High quality material. Absorbs impact.
  • Did we mention comfortable?

Maybe you’re an athlete playing basketball, jiu jitsu, MMA, bjj, lacrosse, hockey, rugby, wrestling or maybe you grind your teeth at night. Maybe you already use a mouth guard and want an upgrade or a replacement. Whatever your circumstances, you’ve made a good choice. Take care of your teeth, and they’ll take care of you.

But where to begin? Worry not.

We’re happy to lay it all out for you and demystify the process of finding the best mouth guard for you.

First, are you looking for a sports mouth guard or a dental night guard?

A sports mouth guard cannot be used for teeth grinding and vice versa. Make sure you understand the difference between the two.

We understand your need for the best mouth guard.

If you’re an athlete or just trying to get a good nights’ rest wearing a night mouth guard, you need to be able to do what you do without being worried about a mouth guard that is too big for you or too thick or just plain uncomfortable.

In essence, there are three types of mouth guards: bad, good, and great. If those labels seem a bit judgmental, that’s because they are. When it comes to the health and well-being of your most precious bodily aperture (your mouth), we think you should get the best.

While you may find some of the popular information on mouth guards to be obscure, irrelevant, or even contradictory, you can rest assured that the key factor that determines the quality of your mouth guard is actually pretty simple (even obvious).

What is this key factor you ask? That’s easy! THE FIT! 

Below is a rundown of your main quality and fit options.

Stock Mouth Guard


Sometimes, you can “customize” these by cutting them with scissors if they’re too big. They generally don’t fit very well, they’re usually uncomfortable, and they’re pretty much useless. You will find teeth grinding versions of these in places like Walgreens in the dental night guard aisle. It’s best to avoid this type of mouth guard.

Boil & Bite Mouth Guard


You may have heard these described as “boil-and-bite”. These aren’t bad for certain uses and budgets. They do offer some degree of customization over “stock” guards, and they’re generally inexpensive. They’re made of a thermoplastic material, which is a fancy way of saying that they change shape when heated. This type of guard provides a level of customization, though limited when compared to custom-built mouth guards (see below).

Custom Made Mouth Guards


 Where good mouth guards provide some degree of personal fit, great mouth guards are handmade specifically for you in a laboratory.

Pretty cool, right? This type also has more options for materials and thickness, to guarantee that they’re spot-on for your individual needs. And the kicker is that while this kind of mouth guard is usually crafted by a dentist with a hefty price tag to cover overhead, dental school loans, and who know what else, it doesn’t have to be that way.

best night guard for grinding


A night guard for teeth grinding should be custom made to your dental anatomy. Taking your dental impression at home has been made as easy as 1-2-3. If you mess up, no worries! We supply an extra pack of putty for a retry if needed.

At Sentinel Mouthguards, we make all custom products in our laboratory with dentist grade materials. Same materials, methods and machinery at a fraction of the dental office cost.

Sentinel Mouth Guards:

  • Phthalate FREE
  • Silicon & Latex Free
  • 100% safe dentist-grade materials

We hope this article has helped you decide what kind of mouthguard is right for you. If you’re still unsure, get in touch with us and we’ll be glad to talk you through it. The bottom line: “Boil-and-bite” mouth guards aren’t bad, but custom-built mouth guards are better. In fact, they’re the best mouth guard. 


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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