For many people, getting a recommendation from their dentist that they need a night guard can be confusing, to say the least.
It’s a fairly frequent recommendation that can solve most or all of the problems that come with night grinding—which is technically known as bruxism—but it does come with several important questions.
Chief among them is where to get your night guard, the cost factors that are involved and what tradeoffs come with your buying decisions. There are several factors that go into this choice, so let’s explore the most important question of all–should I get a night guard from my dentist?
The Night Guard Issues
There are four things that matter when you go to buy a night guard—quality, durability, affordability and fit. It’s important that you get all four right, especially if the issues that prompted you to get the night guard are serious.
Let’s start with quality. Most of the issues related to this are obvious—you need a high-quality plastic that’s built to stand up to the demands of ongoing use, which means it has to conform to recognized dental standards as well as your own dentist’s requirements.
Durability is a less obvious factor, but it’s just as important for some wearers. Bruxism is often an ongoing problem can be difficult to solve, which means you may be wearing the night guard you buy for years. That means you want something that lasts, so you need to take that into account. The thickness of your night guard is a determinant of how long it will last. Quality of the plastic used to make your night guard also matters.
Affordability is somewhat subjective, but it matters to a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Some dentists recommend dentist made night guards that are on the pricey side, and many people simply don’t have the budget for this.
The expense may be covered by insurance, but that part can be hit and miss, so cost is another factor that needs to be factored into the mouth guard equation.
Finally, there’s the fit question. This is usually crucial—bruxism or alignment issues tend to be specific to your individual bite, and if you don’t get a night guard that can do the job you’re going to have an unpleasant and frustrating experience.
If you’re experiencing any issues other than teeth grinding and jaw clenching (such as bite alignment), you will need to purchase directly from your dentist. Always consult with your dentist to clarify if a standard dental night guard is right for you.
Purchasing directly from the dentist
Basically, you have three choices when you go to buy your mouthguard. The first choice is to buy it from your dentist, which will likely meet all of the necessary criteria other than affordability.
Cheap drugstore night guard
The low-end option is to buy something cheap from a drug store. This possibility may seem attractive from a distance, but you might not like the fit of what you buy, which means it may not solve the problem.
It may also leave you with durability questions, which can keep you returning to the drugstore every couple of months, in which case this option may not be as cheap as it looks.
Direct from night guard lab
The final and best choice is to buy a quality mouth guard online from a company like Sentinel. When you do this you’re getting a quality product, and the fitting process is virtually identical to the one your dentist would use. The savings can amount to hundreds of dollars, so it’s definitely worth looking into.
To get more information on Sentinel Mouthguards and how the Sentinel process works, go to sentinelmouthguards.com and visit our help center to answer any questions you may have.
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