The 8 Best Night Guards for Grinding Teeth in 2023
Jul 21, 2023
Our experts recommend the Chomper Labs Hybrid Night Guard for relief from grinding
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Verywell Health / Kristin Kempa
Sleeping should be the one daily activity when your entire body is at rest, but that’s not always the case. Some health problems don’t stop just because you fall asleep, causing you to wake up in the morning with sleep-related aches and pains; one of the most common of these is bruxism, or grinding your teeth, and according to Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, CEO of TruGlo Modern Dental, it’s often brought on by snoring, stress, sleep deprivation, and sleep apnea.
“Pain in the jaw or lower face when waking up in the morning is a common sign a person was clenching or grinding while they were sleeping,” she explained to Verywell Health. “Some patients may find it hard to yawn or chew through the day [and] some patients may even experience headaches or neck pain along with their jaw pain.”
What can you do to ease the pain of bruxism? In addition to treating any root causes of your nightly grinding (like addressing your sleep apnea, for example), you can wear a night guard, a device that Kalasho said will keep your jaw muscles at rest, relieving any negative impact on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Not all night guards are created equal, however, and since wearing one with a proper and comfortable fit is one of the most important things to consider, you need to know how to find a night guard that can offer relief without exacerbating existing issues. In general, dentists recommend being fitted for a night guard through your dentist’s office to ensure a perfect fit, but we know that’s not always possible or even affordable. We researched the options for over-the-counter (OTC) and mail-order night guards to see which ones could reliably stand in for professionally fitted devices.
Hard outside, soft inside
100-day trial for free returns
For moderate to heavy clenching and grinding
One of the toughest parts of choosing a night guard for yourself is figuring out which type you need. Should you pick hard or soft? Thin or thick? And how hard, exactly, do you grind your teeth at night, anyway?
The Hybrid Night Guard from Chomper Labs gets our best overall pick because it eliminates the need for you to have all these questions answered. Its unique hybrid design means you get the best of both worlds, with a hard exterior to protect against even heavy grinding and a soft interior that gently conforms to your teeth. It also sits in the middle as far as thickness goes at 2.5 millimeters, neither the thinnest nor the thickest option available at Chomper Labs.
As far as everything else, we like the business model of Chomper Labs: This mail-order company sends you an impression kit for free, complete with instructions and a prepaid return mailer, then turns your night guard around in an impressive amount of time (you should get it back about a week after they receive your impression). Chomper Labs also promises to keep tweaking your night guard, free of charge, until it fits exactly right, and also offers a 100-day return policy and six-month warranty for damage.
Price at time of publication: $169
Key Specs:Material: Polyester/EVA | Coverage: Upper and/or lower
Hard outside, soft inside
Backup guards offered at a discount when bundled
Only a 30-day warranty
Longer shipping time than competitors
If you like the idea of working with a mail-order company to receive a customized night guard but want to keep the cost under $100, the Dual Laminate Sporting Smiles night guard is a more affordable alternative to the hybrid night guard from Chomper Labs. It features the same hard-on-the-outside but soft-on-the-inside style of construction, which makes it appropriate for moderate grinding and clenching, though it is just a little bit thicker at 3 millimeters.
What really makes this night guard our best budget pick—on top of its lower base cost—is the fact that you can add extra or backup night guards onto your order upfront and save money. Instead of buying two separate guards at $95 a piece, for example, you can add an extra for only $50.
Price at time of publication: $95
Key Specs:Material: Laminate/EVA | Coverage: Upper and/or lower
Three-month renewal plan saves you money
Three thickness options
Kid-friendly multicolored night guards available
Less options for hard vs. soft or hybrid guards
Buying and wearing a night guard when you also have braces can be difficult, and in many cases, a professionally-fit night guard from your dentist or orthodontist is the best way to go. When you have braces, your mouth is changing all the time; a professional fitting allows you to get exactly what you need without damaging your braces is often the best approach, says Jaclyn Tomsic, MD, oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Ohio’s Center for Oral, Facial, and Implant Surgery.
But having to get a brand new night guard from your dentist every few months can get pretty expensive. If that’s not for you, we suggest signing up for the night guard subscription plan at ClearClub: Not only are the night guards more affordably-priced than they are through a dentist, but you can save a good deal of money by subscribing to a renewal plan upfront.
With a renewal plan, ClearClub will send you a new night guard every three, four, or six months for less than a one-time purchase. A new impression wouldn’t be necessary each time, but if your braces are changing the shape of your teeth frequently, you can make a new impression and always have a night guard that fits your current mouth. Finally, we love that ClearClub offers cool multi-color night guards, sure to appeal to the tween and teen braces-wearing set.
Price at time of publication: $155
Key Specs:Material: Acrylic/EVA | Coverage: Upper and/or lower
Mold your night guard right at home
Easy steps for heating and shaping
Less comfortable than mail-order or dentist-made guards
If you’re not interested in fussing with an impression kit that you have to send back to a company before sitting around and waiting to receive your night guard, you can custom-fit a night guard for yourself right at home with the Dentek Professional-Fit Dental Guard kit. This is a “boil and bite” type of mold that’s often sold OTC, and the process is simple: You heat the dental guard in a forming tray, wait for it to cool down a bit, then bite down onto the night guard in the tray to make an impression of your teeth. Once the guard has cooled and hardened, you have a customized device to wear right away.
This is an option that’s both affordable and convenient, but keep in mind that it’ll never be quite as comfortable as a mail-order night guard or one fitted through your dentist’s office. These types of night guards are often bulkier than others, too, but we chose the Dentek because it’s designed to have a slimmer profile and be less awkward in your mouth. It also guarantees six months of wear without damage (or you can contact Dentek for a refund).
Price at time of publication: $20
Key Specs:Material: Unspecified plastic | Coverage: Upper
Thin construction allows for speaking while wearing
Barely visible to others
100-day trial for free returns
Subsequent replacements are almost as expensive as the original
Grinding and clenching your teeth may not only happen while you’re sleeping—stress and anxiety can cause you to grind during the daytime, too. Although there are other ways to cope with daytime grinding, like meditation and relaxation techniques, sometimes you just need to be able to pop a dental guard in your mouth to protect your teeth. Some people may also use a night guard like this during the day to prevent cheek or nail biting.
We recommend the Daytime Ultra Thin Night Guard from Chomper Labs if this sounds like you. Because it was designed with daytime wear in mind, it’s significantly thinner than other night guards (only 0.8 millimeters) so it won’t interfere with your speech. The hard plastic is comfortable and discreet, protecting your teeth while staying in place. You can also choose whether to fit the guard for your upper or lower teeth, depending on what’s more comfortable for you during the day.
Some retailers offer discounts for replacement guards, the cost is $120 at Chompers Lab, just $30 shy of the original price.
Price at time of publication: $149
Key Specs:Material: Polyester/EVA | Coverage: Upper and/or lower
Pro Teeth Guard
Available in a variety of sizes
60-day warranty/return policy
May last between two and five years
If you know you’re putting a ton of stress and strain on your teeth at night while you sleep, you need to step up your night guard game—and the Pro Teeth Hard Night Guard is the strong defense you need against heavy nighttime grinding and clenching.
Made from elasticized acrylic, this hard night guard is about 1.5 millimeters thick, so even though it’s tough on grinding, it’s not overly bulky or uncomfortable to wear while you sleep. We also like that the acrylic construction allows the night guard to be firm and protective but still somewhat flexible: Pro Teeth says that you can soak or rinse the night guard in warm water before inserting it if you need to slightly adjust the fit. Finally, Pro Teeth suggests this night guard may be able to last anywhere from two to five years, making it an ultra-durable option on top of its other benefits.
Price at time of publication: $210
Key Specs:Material: Elasticized acrylic | Coverage: Upper and/or lower
Each guard can be used for three nights
No boiling or fitting required
Interchangeable upper/lower teeth design
Won’t be as comfortable as a customized guard
Maybe you only grind your teeth when you travel or when you’re sick, or maybe you’re getting some dental work done and don’t want to cause any unnecessary damage while you sleep. Whatever the reason, there may be a time when you just need occasional protection against grinding and clenching, and these disposable night guards by Plackers may be the perfect temporary solution.
These partial coverage night guards are ready to be used right out of the box, no shaping or trimming required (which is good in some cases, but they won’t give you any kind of customized fit). They’re designed to keep your back teeth separated with a small bite plate, so they don’t need to be fitted over every single one of your teeth; this reduces the possibility of irritation and discomfort.
You get 16 disposable mouth guards in each package, but each one can be used for up to three nights for a maximum of 48 nights of coverage. We also like that they have a unique reversible design, which makes them work for either your upper or lower teeth.
Price at time of publication: $20
Key Specs:Material: Unspecified plastic | Coverage: Upper or lower
Brux Night Guard
Customize your fit at home
Remold the shape at any time
Fits over the front teeth only
Larger than some other guards
Not for use with braces or other oral appliances
If you don’t like the idea of sticking a piece of plastic into your mouth that covers all the teeth on your upper or lower jaw, we get it. That’s why we chose the Brux Night Guard as our best pick for the minimalists, i.e. the people who just want a little bit of extra grinding protection without all the traditional night guard coverage.
The Brux Night Guard is designed to fit over your front teeth on either the upper or lower jaw; in doing so, it holds your mouth open just enough to keep your back teeth apart, ensuring that none of your teeth will come into contact with one another while you sleep. We also like that the Brux is fitted at home, with a boil and bite customization process, and can actually be remolded at home in the same way any time you need to change or update your fit. It’s a bit bulkier than other night guard options, but since it only covers a small section of your teeth, it may still be more comfortable for some users than a full upper or lower guard.
Price at time of publication: $59
Key Specs:Material: Unspecified plastic | Coverage: Upper and/or lower
To find the best night guards for grinding your teeth, we asked dentists to tell us what to look for when choosing a guard from someplace other than your dentist’s office. (While springing for a professionally-fitted night guard is the best practice, there may be times when you need a cheaper or more temporary option.) They emphasized the importance of overall fit, profile, and coverage, as well as making sure you choose a guard that works for bruxism and isn’t designed for other activities, like contact sports.
We searched for night guards for a variety of different needs, as well as guards that could be customized for the correct fit, either at home or through a mail-order service. For the most part, we steered clear of stock night guards without any custom-fitting options since those can cause more problems than they aim to solve.
The experts we talked to included:
There are essentially three types of molds you can choose from outside of your dentist’s office, and they each serve a different purpose.
One thing to note with the boil and bite molds is that sports mouthguards featuring this technology are not the same as night guards for bruxism, so make sure you don’t buy a sports guard, said Thomas J. McCarthy, DDS, director of product development at SportingSmiles: “When you form a boil and bite sports mouthguard, you get an impression of your opposing teeth on the mouthguard—this can lock in your jaw, causing more issues than [the] teeth grinding.”
Overall comfort and fit is an important part of finding the right night guard. If your night guard is painful or ill-fitting, you probably won’t wear it, defeating the purpose of getting one in the first place.
A good place to start is by looking for a slimmer or lower-profile night guard, McCarthy said. Many OTC guards are bulky and awkward, turning people off the first time they try to sleep with one. On the other hand, several of the mail-order customized guards are designed to be thinner, not only fitting more comfortably over your teeth but also becoming less visible to others while you wear them.
There are night guards that can be worn on your upper teeth, ones that can be worn on your lower teeth, and several that can be customized to fit either your lower or upper teeth. So which one do you need? Honestly, it’s mostly up to you.
“Either is appropriate and often [it’s your] preference,” Tomsic said. “Lower bite guards are often more common for clenchers and grinders, and uppers are more common to treat TMJ [temporomandibular joint disorders].”
The same is essentially true for night guards that cover all of the teeth on your upper or lower jaw versus the ones that provide only partial coverage, either by connecting bite plates together with a thin strip or only affixing to your front teeth. When it comes to choosing, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference or comfort.
Most night guards are made of some kind of plastic; usually a composite of multiple synthetic plastics, like polyester, polyurethane, and acrylic. Many of them are also thermodynamic, becoming more flexible after coming into contact with warm water, for minor adjustments.
All night guards are manufactured differently, but many of the ones included on our list specify that they are made with plastics that are free of BPA, latex, and phthalates. However, if you’re concerned about the material content of your night guard, be sure to check with the individual retailer or manufacturer of any product before choosing one.
According to Kalasho, if night guards are well-kept and regularly cleaned, they should last you around five years. There’s a lot of variation here, though; OTC night guards likely won’t last nearly as long, while some professionally-fitted brands might last even longer. If you’re purchasing a mail-order night guard, take a look at how often the retailer recommends replacing it and learn to recognize the signs of wear, such as altered fit, cracks or tears, discoloration, and oral sores or injuries. You might also want to consider the retailer’s warranty or return policy.
As for how to care for your night guard, you should wash it every day with regular soap and water, said Kalasho, but “resist using your toothbrush to clean the guard, as that can end up staining [it].” You should also always store your night guard in a protective case when not in use.
You can take a simple approach, rinsing your night guard with warm water and a designated toothbrush. You can also use oral cleaning tablets weekly or monthly to cleanse and disinfect your night guard, said Matt Asaro, DDS, of Asaro Dental Aesthetics in Los Angeles, California. He recommends a product like Retainer Brite, available on Amazon.
Just keep in mind that if you choose to brush your night guard with a toothbrush, it should be a separate one you only use for cleaning your night guard. As Kalasho said, using your regular toothbrush can cause staining.
It’s important to understand exactly what a night guard does for bruxism, said Asaro: “Night guards don’t correct any symptoms…it won’t make you stop grinding, it will only protect the teeth during sleep.”
In other words, you shouldn’t be waiting around for weeks for your night guard to stop you from grinding your teeth—it won’t actually do that at all! But it will start protecting your teeth from your grinding and clenching right away, starting the first night you put it in. Soon after that, you should notice a decrease in any bruxism symptoms you were having, like jaw pain or headaches, as your sore muscles relax, recover, and heal.
It depends on how severely you grind or clench your teeth at night, said Tomsic: “Patients with more severe grinding and clenching typically use a hard night guard, [while] people with mild bruxism, or isolated clenchers but not grinders, [can] use a soft night guard.”
Sarah Bradley has been writing health content since 2017—everything from product roundups and illness FAQs to nutrition explainers and the dish on diet trends. She knows how important it is to receive trustworthy and expert-approved advice about over-the-counter products that manage everyday health conditions, from GI issues and allergies to chronic headaches and joint pain.Price at time of publication:$169Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $95Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $155Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $20Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $149Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $210Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $20Key Specs:MaterialCoveragePrice at time of publication: $59Key Specs:MaterialCoverage