What is a Night Guard?

When you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping, you may have bruxism. Continuous clenching and grinding can cause damage to the occlusal surfaces of your teeth. In this case, you may need an occlusal guard- commonly referred to as a night guard. An occlusal guard is similar to a sports mouth guard but made of a smoother and thinner plastic. Therefore, they are less bulky and easier to wear.

You can find ready-to-wear and boil-and-bite mouthguards at your local drugstore or online. These are one-size-fits-most, which means it may or may not work in your mouth. If you have a smaller-than-average or larger-than-average mouth, these may not be comfortable.

Another option is to get a custom-fitted mouthguard from Legacy Dental. We will start with an exam, x-rays, and creating an impression of your mouth. The mouthguard will be fabricated based on the impression. This will guarantee a good fit.

While a mouthguard will not stop bruxism, it will protect your teeth from damage. In addition, it will alleviate other symptoms associated with bruxism, including:

  • Head/neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Tooth wear/fracture
  • Headaches
  • Tooth sensitivity

If you believe you may benefit from using a night guard, schedule a consultation with the team at Legacy Dental. We can help you determine if you need a night guard and the type of night guard that would be best for you.

Types of Night Guards

There are three common types of night guards:


The ready-to-wear night guards are labeled as one-size-fits-all. They are easy to find at your local drugstore or online and they are the most affordable option. However, they are not high quality and may not fit your mouth properly.


  • Ready-to-wear, no prep required
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to find


  • May not fit well, especially if your mouth is larger or smaller than average
  • May be uncomfortable
  • Made with cheap materials
  • Doesn’t protect teeth as well as other options


The boil-and-bite mouthguards are a lot like the ready-to-wear option, only they can be customized to fit your teeth better. They are made from thermoplastic, which softens when exposed to heat.

Simply drop it in hot water to make it soft. Then, place it in your mouth and bite down. Once you feel comfortable, place it in cold water to set it. If you need to, you can trim it down so that it fits better.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Can be fitted to your mouth
  • More comfortable than ready-to-wear
  • Easy to find online and at your local drug store


  • Doesn’t fit as well as custom-made night guards
  • May be uncomfortable
  • Made from mid-grade materials, so may not last as long as a custom-made night guard


A custom-made night guard is tailored to fit your mouth perfectly. They last longer because they are made from more durable materials. In order to create your custom mouthguard, we will create an impression of your bite. This will be sent to the lab so that your mouthguard can be fabricated.

This will be the most effective and most comfortable option, especially if you have dental appliances such as braces or dental implants. The store-bought options won’t fit around these.


  • Professionally fabricated to fit your mouth perfectly
  • Made with high-quality, long-lasting materials
  • More comfortable than store-bought options


  • May be more expensive than other options

Common Reasons to Wear Night Guard

There are a few reasons why you may want to consider wearing a night guard:

Prevents Damage to Teeth

While your teeth are designed to handle the pressure from chewing/biting, they are not able to withstand continuous clenching and grinding.

When you grind your teeth while sleeping, you wear away the enamel- which eventually causes tooth sensitivity. Therefore, you may reach a point where you can’t stand hot/cold beverages or foods. Additionally, without the enamel, your teeth are more susceptible to decay, which can increase your risk of infection.

Grinding can also cause weak teeth to fracture and can wear out any fillings you may have. When teeth begin to fracture and crack, you may experience pain and require emergency dental treatment. In some cases, a damaged tooth can be repaired, but sometimes, you may need more expensive treatments such as root canal, crowns, extraction, or tooth replacement with dental implants or bridges.

Prevents TMJ Disorder

Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the joint that connects your skull with your jaw and impacts your chewing muscles. When you clench your teeth, pressure is applied to the TMJ, which creates misalignment and ultimately, TMJ dysfunction.

TMJ dysfunction is characterized by difficulty chewing, headaches, and pain in/around the ear. If left untreated, you may damage the articular disc, causing disc displacement, which can cause the jaw to lock. A nightguard will ease tension in the muscles, preventing disc displacement.

Prevents Chronic Headaches

Since TMJ typically manifests through migraines, chronic headaches and neck pain could be a sign of bruxism. Headaches are the result of tensed muscles in the jaw, neck, mouth, and shoulders.

This doesn’t mean that just because you have headaches, you can diagnose yourself with bruxism. You will need to check with the dentist to find out if your headaches are due to teeth clenching and grinding. In order to do this, we will check the surfaces of your teeth. They should be pointed. If they are flat, you likely suffer from bruxism.

Another factor we consider is receding gums and bone, which result from continuous clenching. A nightguard can eliminate headaches because the muscles are no longer tensed up.

Should You Wear a Night Guard?

If any of the following apply to you, it might be worth discussing getting a night guard with the team at Legacy Dental. We can evaluate your condition and determine the best course of treatment:

  • You awaken with jaw soreness
  • You have chronic headaches
  • You have been diagnosed or suspect you have TMJ Disorder
  • You have unexplained damage to your teeth
  • Your loved ones have told you that you grind your teeth

Benefits of Wearing a Night Guard

There are several benefits associated with wearing a night guard while you sleep:

  • Reduces tooth/jaw pain
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduces headaches
  • Reduces snoring
  • Saves money in the long-run

How Much Does a Night Guard Cost?

Ready-to-wear and boil-and-bite mouthguards can be found online or at your local drugstore. Typically, these will cost you $30 or less.

Custom mouthguards typically cost more because they are custom. You can expect to pay $100+ for a custom mouthguard. You can get these online, but the best option is to get it through the dental clinic because we have a personal understanding of your unique situation and the condition of your mouth.

Dental insurance may or may not cover a mouthguard. Our friendly office staff will be happy to contact your insurance provider to determine your coverage. Before you leave the office after your consultation, we will have a quote for you.

Schedule Your Night Guard Consultation Today with Legacy Dental

If you believe that you may benefit from using a night guard, schedule your consultation right away with the team at Legacy Dental.

Night Guard FAQs

If you’re like most of our patients, you have questions about night guards. Some of the most common questions we hear are:
If you awaken during the night or in the mornings with a headache or neck/jaw pain, you have tooth sensitivity, or you’ve been told by your loved ones that you grind your teeth while you sleep, you may benefit from using a night guard.

For the best results, a mouthguard should fit tightly against your teeth and should be comfortable. It should stay in place and should never feel bulky. If your night guard does not fit properly, it can cause damage to your teeth. Therefore, a custom mouthguard is best.

There are three basic types of night guards:

  • Ready-to-wear
  • Boil-and-bite
  • Custom

Night guards are made of a variety of materials, including chromium cobalt, vinyl, acrylic, rubber, or acetate. All materials are BPA-free. The higher-quality guards are made of ethyl vinyl acetate, which gives you a better fit.

How to reach us in and around Salt Lake City, Utah

Monday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Tuesday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Wednesday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Thursday: 8.00am – 8:00pm
Friday: 8.00am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 8.00am – 2:00pm
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