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Why Do Custom Night Guards Cost So Much?

Why Do Custom Night Guards Cost So Much?

04 May 2021

When it comes to oral hygiene, the last thing you want to do is cut corners. But when your dentist says you need a custom nightguard, you hear the price and immediately begin thinking of how you can get your hands on a cheaper mouthguard. After all, how dangerous can teeth grinding be?


The habit of grinding your teeth, also known as Bruxism, is something you may be doing without even realizing it. In fact, most people have to be told that they’re grinding their teeth by a dentist or their partner who lies awake at night to the sound of your gnashing teeth.


Battling Bruxism


Bruxism is usually a symptom of a larger issue. Unless you have a pre-existing condition you’re already aware of, more often than not, the culprit lies in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). 


Your TMJ is also known as your jaw joint and controls the movement of your jaw. Your jaw carries a ridiculous amount of tension. If that tension builds up, you can end up with a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). A TMD leads to teeth grinding, especially when you’re sleeping. 


When you grind your teeth, you wear away at the enamel coating each tooth. No matter how much you brush, floss, and use mouthwash, you’re still chipping away at the protective layer of your teeth. Less enamel means you run the risk of unwanted cavities, a cracked tooth, or other issues.


If a TMD goes untreated for a long time, you can begin to experience ear pain similar to an ear infection. 


As you can see, Bruxism isn’t life-threatening, but it can leave you with a great deal of pain. One way to alleviate some of this pain is with a nightguard to prevent you from grinding your teeth while asleep.


Finding the Right Mouthguard


If you get a custom night guard through your dentist, it can cost anywhere from $300-1000. And unfortunately, insurance policies rarely cover mouthguards. 


Many people have tried using an over-the-counter night guard. If you go to a sports store, you can get the kind of mouthguard that football and hockey players use to protect their teeth. But honestly, do you really want to sleep with an uncomfortable chunk of plastic in your mouth every night? 


Another option people reach for is a semi-custom “boil and bite” mouthguard. These mouthguards consist of a semi-circle of moldable plastic that you dunk in boiling water and then bite down on to create an impression of your teeth. 

The biggest issue with these guards is that they feel as bulky as the sports guards and don’t always stay put on your teeth. Most of them aren’t long enough to reach your back molars. Many people feel uncomfortable while wearing them, and the whole point of a nightguard is to make you feel more comfortable. 


This brings us full circle back to the custom nightguard. 


Seriously, Why Do They Cost So Much?


Buying a dental mouthguard directly from your dentist costs a ridiculous amount of money because they likely outsource the process. 


Your dentist looks at an insane number of teeth and gums every day. They have the task of fitting you for a nightguard, so they take an impression of your teeth. They don’t turn around and go to the dental laboratory in the back of the office to craft your mouthguard; they ship it off to a third-party provider.


The third-party provider employs professional technicians to craft a mouthguard precisely tapered to your teeth. Once your mouthguard is complete, they ship it back to your dentist. Once your dentist has it, they call you in for an appointment to try it on. If you try it on and it fits, then you’re good to go and will follow up with your dentist in a few weeks. If it doesn’t work, they ship it back to the technicians, and the process repeats itself.


All the back-and-forth can run up a hefty bill that you have to pay.


Unfortunately, footing the large dental bill for the custom guard or buying a cheap, uncomfortable guard from a drugstore have been the only two options for a long time.


That’s where online providers come in.


Cut Out the Middle Man and Save Money


Instead of having your dentist work with professional mouthguard technicians, you can work with the technicians yourself at a fraction of the cost.


Online mouthguards are made using the same FDA-approved process and materials that your dentist’s technicians use. If purchased from a reputable company, these mouthguards are BPA, silicone, and latex-free. 


So if online guards are just as good as the dentist’s guards, how are online custom guard companies able to offer them at such a low rate? These companies work with you directly so you don’t have to pay the extraneous fees that come with ordering your guard at the dentist’s office. 


Buying a custom mouthguard from a reputable online provider costs around $80-200. Even the most expensive custom nightguard online is way cheaper than the nightguard you’d get from your dentist. 


What do we mean by reputable exactly?


You want to get a guard from a company with an FDA-approved product developed by people in the dental industry. Read reviews to ensure that their customer base is happy and that there aren’t any major red flags about the product. (It is going in your mouth, after all.) Learn about the process they use and see what kind of customizations they offer. Your mouth is unique, and your mouthguard should be too.


We do a full breakdown of dentist’s custom guards vs. online custom guards here.


No matter which type of guard you go with, it’s essential to stay on top of your regular oral hygiene routine to keep your enamel healthy. Keep brushing, keep flossing, use ADA-approved toothpaste, use that tongue scraper, and relax your jaw.


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