Choosing Night Guards: Generic Or Customized?

If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw in your sleep, you know that it can have awful side effects during the day that can become permanent if you don't get help. But to get a dental night guard made by a dentist, you have to go to an appointment, have the mold of your mouth taken, wait for the guard to be made, have it adjusted... or just buy one online that you can soften in hot water and then place in your mouth to mold it to your teeth. That last one sounds appealing, but is it really the best choice? It might not be.

Immediacy Vs. Price

Certainly, if you do not have the funds for a customized dental night guard and your teeth-grinding is causing you real problems, a generic guard is better than nothing. Be sure you find one that people seem to like, and search for problems related to that brand.

But if you can, once you get the generic guard in, talk to a dentist about ways to fund a customized guard. Sometimes there are credit programs you can apply to, or there are payment plans the dentist can set up. Or, worst comes to worst, you find out the total cost and save up over time. A generic guard is OK as a stopgap, but it may not give you the help you need over a prolonged period of time.

Custom Care and Fit

Dental night guards that your dentist creates for you are made for your teeth, your gumline, and your jaw size and shape. Generic guards could be too tall, jabbing your gum line repeatedly; they could be too big, causing a gag reflex as the ends of the guards sit too far back in your mouth. Or, they could be too narrow toward the curved center (where your front teeth would sit) and too difficult to widen even after you softened them up. You may be able to get generic guards quickly and cheaply, but those are advantages only if the guard fits well.

Material Quality

Generic guards can often be of lower quality than dental custom guards. With dental custom guards, you get state-of-the-art materials that are thick enough to withstand a lot of pressure. The generic guards vary in quality, might not use the latest materials, and be too thin to really last that long if you're a dedicated jaw-clencher.

Again, talk to your dentist about ways to pay for the guard. If money isn't an issue, get to your dentist now to get a guard made. Your teeth and jaws will be the better for it. Visit a site like for more help.