Night guards can be a real lifesaver for people who grind their teeth at night (also known as bruxism). And since many people are afflicted with bruxism, there are a lot of options on the market for mouth guards. Do-it-yourself (DIY) night guards that you create at home are a less expensive option than getting a professionally-made one at the dentist, and this affordability makes them a very appealing choice. However, you may end up paying for that affordability in other ways,
What Is A DIY Night Guard?
Do-it-yourself night guards are kits, often ordered online or bought in a store. These are sometimes called “boil and bite” night guards. This type of night guard is specifically marketed toward solving issues with teeth grinding, and is not to be confused with mouth guards for sports.
The kit comes with a set of impression trays. You then use the impression trays to create molds of your upper and lower teeth. These trays are sent to the company that makes the kit, and they create a custom night guard that fits your mouth. This custom-made night guard can then be worn to prevent nighttime teeth grinding.
What Are The Advantages Of A DIY Night Guard?
- Convenience – With an at-home night guard kit, you never have to go in to the dentist’s office. You can create the molds on your own time without having to schedule an appointment.
- Affordability – No visits to the dentist means that you don’t have to pay the copays or fees associated with that visit. DIY night guards also tend to cost less than what you would pay at the dentist.
- Fit and comfort – DIY night guard kits have a significant comfort advantage compared to over-the-counter, non-fitted night guards. Since the night guard is molded to your mouth specifically, it should be close to a perfect fit.
What Are The Disadvantages Of A DIY Night Guard?
- Errors in fitting – The quality of your fit depends entirely on your skill in creating the mold.If you don’t have a lot of practice with this, you could make some slight errors that could affect your fit and comfort.
- Substandard materials – Some low-cost night guard manufacturers will use lower quality materials to reduce costs and prices. You might seem like you’re getting a deal on your mouthguard, but if it’s made cheaply it might fall apart after a few weeks or months.
- Subscription models and hidden fees – Some DIY night guard companies might pressure you into a subscription model. Lots of these companies base their business model on subscriptions, which means their night guards deteriorate quickly so you have to keep getting new ones on the subscription.
Why Choose A Dentist-Made Night Guard Over A DIY One?
Getting a night guard from your dentist might be more expensive, but it’s worth it. In general, you’re going to get a better quality experience and better health outcomes from a professionally-made mouth guard.
For starters, a dentist is going to be able to create a much more accurate mold of your teeth. The accuracy of the mold affects the fit of the mouth guard. A dentist-made mouth guard will fit more exactly, leading to superior comfort compared to a DIY night guard.
Dentist-made night guards are also made of higher quality materials. This makes then more durable than DIY options. DIY mouthguards are built to last months. Dentist-made nightguards are built to last years.
Perhaps most importantly, seeing a dentist for your mouthguard allows you to address the underlying causes of your bruxism. A visit to your dentist could help determine if additional treatments are needed to mitigate or solve your teeth grinding. DIY night guard companies only care about treating the symptoms of your bruxism. They don’t need to solve your teeth grinding because it’s much more profitable to them if you keep grinding your teeth and buying more night guards. A dentist will have the best interests of your health in mind.
A DIY mouth guard is certainly a cheaper option, but it’s not necessarily a better one. It’s best to keep your dentist involved in your bruxism treatment. If you’re suffering from teeth grinding and you’d like to get some help, please contact our office today to set up an appointment!