So you've been diagnosed with bruxism.
Your dentist has probably recommended a custom dental guard (also called an occlusal splint), leaving you wondering about the price. So, how much is a mouth guard?
Buying a mouth guard from your dentist may cost as much as $500. However, ordering one online can reduce the cost without any loss of quality. Depending upon the severity of your bruxism and your specific mouth guard needs, a custom mouth guard can cost $140-$200 when purchased online, and it will last anywhere from six months to 5 years.
How much is a mouth guard?
When you’re ordering your night mouth guard, it is important that you choose a guard that will best protect your teeth. There are a number of factors to consider from price to material, to vendor, and each is critical in your search for the right mouth guard.
Averaging $300-$500 per custom mouth guard, purchasing a dental guard through your dentist is the most expensive option. You are paying a markup for the dentist to take a mold of your teeth, while the mouth guard itself costs less than $200.
How much does a stock sports mouth guard cost?
The absolute cheapest option for mouth guards is a stock sports mouth guard. So, how much does a mouth guard cost?
These guards can cost less than $20, but they do not mold to your teeth and are often large and uncomfortable. These bulky guards may also cause difficulty breathing, which may lead to further insomnia and sleep difficulties if used as a night guard.
Only slightly more expensive, boil and bite mouth guards are also available in sporting goods stores. Though these mouth guards can be molded to teeth by heating and pressing them onto the teeth with your fingers, they are often still bulky. Furthermore, due to the overly soft inner layer, they may even damage the alignment of your teeth (Okeson, 1987) if worn for prolonged periods of time.
From an Online Custom Mouth Guard Store
Landing between the expensive mouth guards from the dentist and the cheap sporting dental guards, dental night guards can also be purchased from online custom mouth guard stores, such as Pro Teeth Guard. Prices range from $140 to $200 per guard, but the mouth guards are still of the same custom fit and high quality as those purchased from a dentist. So, why the difference in price?
When ordering from an online clinic, you will be sent a do-it-yourself kit that shows you how to easily create a bite impression, which is then returned to the company to create your teeth mold. The only real difference is the price and who creates your teeth mold — the quality is identical.
Custom mouth guards vs Generic mouth guards
Wherever you get your custom mouth guard the cost should include a custom fit so that you ensure a comfortable night's sleep.
Generic mouth guards, even those that can be molded to your teeth before wearing, are often thicker and bulkier than custom mouth guards. This additional bulkiness can cause discomfort, difficulty speaking or breathing, and may even damage your tooth alignment. Everyone's mouth is a different shape and size, so trying to use a one-size-fits-all mouth guard is unlikely to result in a proper fit.
A custom fitting involves creating a mold of your unique jaw and teeth, upon which the guard is formed. This allows a perfect fit, even with rigid acrylic that could not be remolded with every use. This allows the mouth guard to be thinner and more discrete. In fact, a thin acrylic mouth guard can even be worn during the day without affecting breathing or speaking. You can custom fit a bite guard.
These thinner mouth guards are not designed, like sports guards are, to protect your teeth from a kick or punch, but are more than sufficient to cushion the jaw to prevent pain from clenching, and to protect the enamel from teeth grinding. A more comfortable custom-fitted dental guard can help you ease the symptoms of bruxism without additional breathing, speaking or sleeping difficulties.
Hardness and Material
Within custom dental guards, there is still variation in terms of thickness, material and intended use.
How much does a mouth guard cost for bruxism?
Let’s explain in detail how much does a mouth guard cost if you need to buy one for teeth grinding.
Normally you would purchase a dental mouth guard through your dentist. Dentists charge a premium with the cost usually being between $300 and $500 dollars. They take an impression of your teeth which acts as a mold that is sent off to a dental lab to create the mouth guard.
By ordering online from Pro Teeth Guard, custom mouth guards are in the range of $139 to $189 for the exact same mouth guard.
This price range depends on the type of mouth guard needed, which are listed below.
The heaviest teeth grinding requires the thickest, strongest custom dental night guard. These durable guards usually last 2-5 years and are made of 2-3 mm thick rigid acrylic. Though they are typically the most expensive dental night guards, if you are suffering from severe bruxism, these heavier guards are the best way to protect your tooth enamel over time.
If you have somewhat less intense teeth grinding and some clenching, a hybrid mouth guard is your best choice. These custom mouth guards are 2-3mm thick and last 1-3 years. The inside layer is soft to provide cushioning for clenching while the outside layer is rigid plastic to provide durability and protection for your tooth enamel.
Light Bruxism and Clenching
Soft mouth guards made of 2mm thick rubber are also available for light bruxism and clenching. The soft rubber provides extra cushioning to prevent jaw pain from clenching, while also helping to protect the enamel from grinding for six months to two years.
If your bruxism is not limited to sleep, you can also purchase daytime guards that are thin, lightweight and barely noticeable. These ultra-thin mouth guards are made of 1.5mm thick hard acrylic. However, they are light and flexible enough to allow natural speaking while still protecting your teeth from the damage of clenching and grinding during the day. These lightweight mouth guards last from six months to two years.
How much is a mouth guard? - Conclusion
Healthy teeth are vital to your comfort and well-being. If you have bruxism, however, your teeth are at risk of erosion and pain.
Dentists generally suggest expensive mouthguards for grinding teeth, but by purchasing the same high-quality custom-shaped mouth guard from an online dental clinic, you can save hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, at the same time, you will be getting the same comfort and protection you can expect from a mouth guard purchased through your dentist. It is worth taking a look at the range of options before you spend $300-$500 at your dentist's office.
We hope we gave you a detailed overview of the subject, and that we answered the primary question: how much is a mouth guard?
Okeson, J.P. (1987). The effects of hard and soft occlusal splints on nocturnal bruxism. Journal of the American Dental Association, 114(6), 788-791.