I see you. Lady in the dental hygiene section of Walmart. An Oral-B Night Guard in one hand. Doctor’s Choice Night Guard in the other.
You look perplexed. Confused.
I imagine you’re wondering if either Walmart mouth guard brand will work for you.
Is it a waste of $30? You think of your last dental office visit and roll your eyes. $600 for a night guard?
Forget it. With an unsure shrug, you head to the cashier and hope for the best.
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone did the leg work for you and researched all the popular brands of over-the-counter dental night guards?
The Oral-B Dental Night Guard alone gets hundreds of google searches per day. People are wondering if these cheaper Walmart mouth guard versions do the trick, and we’re here to investigate.
So here’s what we did.
We went to the store and bought..well..all of them. All of the over-the-counter dental night guards are now in our possession. Okay, fine. We narrowed it down to five of the most popular store bought brands.
We will follow the instructions and mold each type on our teeth model. We’ll provide pictures and videos of the molding process (if any) as well as our findings and humble opinions.
We’ll also continue to add to this article as new brands pop up on the market and/or if current manufacturers make any changes that would effect you and your decision to purchase.
The Oral-B Night Guard
The Oral-B Dental Nighttime Guard packaging looks like this (Below)
You will need a microwave, the package contents, and a mirror
Step #1 Place guard in your mouth to become familiar with placement. Remove guard.
Step#2 Put the mouth guard in the white case. Fill the white case with tap water and snap closed.
Step #3 Place filled/closed storage case in the microwave for 1 minute and 15 seconds on the high temperature setting.
Step #4 Remove case by holding the front of the case. Be careful! It can be very hot.
Step #5 Flush the case with the vent holes for 3 seconds.
Step #6 Be sure to center the tray to match the middle of your teeth.
Step #7 Immediately pickup the guard and tray with two hands, and place the guard into your mouth.
Step #8 Firmly bite down into the guard and keep in place for 1 minute. Using your thumbs, press the green tray into your molars – and then press the fingers into the front teeth. Use pressure to make sure the guard forms to the teeth completely and evenly.
Step #9 Remove guard from your mouth and place it in water for 15 seconds
Step #10 Leave the molded guard in the green tray for 15 minutes while the material hardens
Step #11 After 15 minutes, gently remove the guard from the tray by lifting from each open end working your way toward the front and center of the guard until it releases.
That’s it! If the guard feels too tight or too loose, you can repeat the process.
- This guard is thinner than most store bought guards, which is nice if comfort is your main concern.
- You can get a good fit.
- The durability is not as great because of the fact that the plastic is a mass produced, cheap plastic.
- This is not the same quality of plastic that you find in a dental office or lab.
- You may wear through this guard much faster than a dentist quality night guard.
The average price of the Oral-B Night Guard is $14 – $20
Our verdict: This is our favorite of the store bought guards. For ~$16 it is worth a try. In any event, you get what you pay, for but this store bought guard gets a big thumbs up from us!
The Doctor’s Night Guard
Claims they’re different by having deeper channels (sides) for a more secure fit, a hard & smooth base for protection &
A slim & and flexible design so that you can sleep comfortably.
How you mold the night guard.
Step #1 Fill a microwave-safe mug with water.
Step #2 Heat in microwave for 30 Seconds.
Step #3 Place your night guard face down in the water for 2 minutes.
Remove your night guard from the water with a fork so that you don’t burn yourself.
Step#4 Use a fork and place night guard on a plate, then allow it to cool for 10 seconds. Take the plate to a mirror so that you can use the mirror’s reflection to help you in the following steps.
Step #5 Pick the night guard up and place it in your mouth. Be sure to touch the base of the night guard only.
Step #6 Position the guard in your mouth and bite down. Use your fingers to form the guard around the outside of your teeth. Then use your fingers to smoothen and mold the guard around the inside of your teeth.
Step #7 Bite down again and count to 30 seconds.
You will know it is time to remove your night guard if it stays in place when you open your mouth.
Open your mouth fully and gently remove the night guard.
If it doesn’t fit properly the first time, go back to your instructions and try try again.
Average Price $30.00 – $37.00
Verdict: Okay, the reviews on this one are not good. Many people say that they couldn’t ever get a good fit, even after multiple attempts.
We advise that you research this one yourself. There are some nasty reviews about this product. We did not have a great experience with this one. Thumbs down for the Doctor’s Choice Night Guard.
What You Need To Mold Your Night Guard
You’ll need a coffee cup, a glass of cold water, metal fork, timer, and a mirror
Step #1 Push two tines of the fork into the open groove on the hard, bottom part of the Smart Guard.
Step #2 Place the mug of water in the microwave or stove and heat it until it boils.
Step #3 Once the water has reached a boiling point, remove the mug from the microwave and submerge the Smart Guard into the water. Wait 50 seconds.
Do not let the Smart Guard to touch the bottom or sides of the mug
Step #4 Take a large sip of cool water and swish it around in your mouth before taking the Smart Guard out of the hot water. Then dip your index finger and thumb into the cold water to prepare to hold the warm Smart Guard.
Step #5 Remove the Smart Guard from the fork.
Step #6 Insert the Smart Guard into your mouth. Make sure your thumbs are on the hard bottom part, then push it up into place. Make sure the “V” part is lined up between the upper teeth.
Step #7 Bite down with medium pressure and suck the moisture out of the guard. Use your fingers to mold the front area. Keep the guard in your mouth for 90 seconds before removing it.
Step #8 Rinse the guard in cold water for 15 seconds. Your mouth guard should be formed and ready for use.
Thoughts: It only covers the front portion of the teeth. It is bulky and does not seem to stay in place.
What Amazon customers are saying:
Can’t get a tight enough grip on my teeth, I followed instructions but it just falls out of my mouth and is completely ineffective.
Dental Duty Night Guard
With over 2800 Amazon reviews and an average of 4 stars per customer, we have high hopes for the Dental Duty Night Guard. Let’s get started!
The Dental Duty Night Guard separates itself from the competition by having two different styles to choose from.
What you need:
The mold, a paper towel, a spoon, a mirror, and pre-heated, rolling water this is ready to go.
Step #1 Pay attention to the time! 18-20 seconds is perfect. Now the key is to not leave the appliance out of the water too long before you make your mold. If it cools too much you will not be able to get a good imprint of your teeth.
Step #2 Place mouth guard into the hot water. Watch the time. Watch for the sides to start curling in.
Step #3 Remove from the hot water. Place it on a paper towel. Separate the walls a bit. Now place onto your teeth, and bite.
Step #4 With your mouth closed, apply pressure on the skin and mouth around the front of your teeth.
- It forms very well. The indentation is there.
- If you couldn’t get it right the first time, you can contact the company and they’ll send you another mold, free of charge.
- Lots of excess material.
- The mold dimensions are too big (height).
- The inner area has a lot of excess plastic. This can make it feel like there’s too much material in the mouth for a comfortable nights’ sleep.
Dentek Professional Night Guard
Weighing in with over 1500 Amazon reviews at an average of 3.5 stars, let’s see what this company has to offer!
I immediately notice it is different because it comes with a white plastic tray, and the clear, moldable night guard sits in the plastic “guiding” tray. The instructions are clear, easy and straight forward.
The guard is very bulky, soft and flexible. It is also a bit short in length. You will most likely not be able to include your molars (depending on the size of your mouth). It does have excess material on it (particularly in the lingual- tongue side). This can be uncomfortable as the excess material is a negative result of the “one size fits all” style.
The molding process took about 5 minutes in total. It was quick and easy. I wondered though – If you mess up, can you remold?
The outcome seemed pretty final.
How to mold the guard:
Step #1 Stand in front of a mirror and practice aligning/positioning the white plastic tray to your teeth. (It’s okay if the clear guard is inside the white tray.)
Step #2 Place the appliance, face down, in a bowl of water. Microwave the bowl for 2 minutes .
Step #3 Rinse appliance for 3 seconds so it cools down.
Step #4 Submerge all your teeth into the tray. Remember the position you practiced. Submerge the teeth and stay completely still for 2 minutes.
Step#5 Rinse the appliance in water for 20 seconds.
Step #6 Gently remove guard from white tray.
It’s thick – about 5mm in the occlusal surfaces – and has a flat bottom.
Though there is some molding to the teeth that occurs after heating, the guard does not have the length to cover the 2nd molar, and in a larger mouth, it may not cover any molars at all.
When people say “it feels like you’re biting down on a hockey puck” this may be what they mean.
I worry that the thickness and the lack of a solid fit could disrupt jaw alignment.
Our Verdict: This style may work for some, but I worry about the thickness and resulting discomfort.
Now it’s time for the big baller – The top tier in mouth protection.
The Custom Dental Night Guard
What makes this fella different? A lot actually. The material fits over your dental anatomy like a glove.
It’s thin (no unnecessary bulkiness) and comfortable.
To take a dental impression of your teeth, you need a timer, clean hands, a mirror, white & blue putty, and a plastic tray.
While in front of the mirror, practice placing the plastic tray in your mouth and pretend to submerge the teeth. Practicing with the empty tray will familiarize you with placement.
How to take the dental impression for your Custom Mouth Guard
Step #1 Mix putty quickly for 1 minute.
Step #2 Roll putty into a hot-dog shape and place it into the tray. Smoothen out the putty.
Step #3 Submerge all the whites of your teeth into the putty. Hold completely still for 3 minutes.
Step #4 Remove the tray from your mouth. Do not remove the putty from the tray.
Step #5 Place the impression in the clear bag provided, and mail it back to Sentinel Mouthguards, LLC.
Once your package is received by the Sentinel Lab, your impression is checked in and a stone cast of your teeth is poured up.
Your stone cast is then trimmed and sprayed with a non-stick spray.
The stone mold is then loaded into our Drufomat scanner.
The Drufomat scanner is a high-tech machine that combines both high heat and pressure in Mouth Guard creation.
ProForm Night Guard material is placed in a circular ring above the stone mold. A timer is set, and the heat begins to melt/soften the material.
The shaft is then pressed down onto the stone mold. The heat and pressure forms the material to the exact anatomy of the stone mold. This is why it is imperative to take an accurate impression of your teeth.
The custom fit of a lab made guard is unlike anything you can purchase in a store. The quality of the material is high and made to withstand intense grinding and/or clenching. The Sentinel Night Guard starts at $98 and the price ranges between $98 – $130 depending on which style or thickness you choose.
This is at a significantly lower cost than opting to buy through your dentist.
- Professional, thin & comfortable fit
- BPA, Silicon & Latex Free
- 1 year warranty
- High quality night guard material
- Several material options to choose from (ranging from hard plastic to soft plastic)
- You can choose the thickness of your guard
- Easy refund policy
- If for any reason you don’t take your impression correctly the first time, Sentinel will mail you a re-do kit, free of charge.
- You must pay special attention to the impression instructions and take an accurate mold of your teeth for the fit to be perfect.
We hope you have found this article useful! If you have had experience with custom made night guards or store bought night guards and would like to share your story, please use the comment section below!
We would love to chat with you.