Lancaster Dental

Healthy Smiles for the Whole Family

How to Choose a Mouthguard for Teeth Grinding

While all mouthguards for teeth grinding address the same problem, they vary widely in design. This may make certain mouthguards more appropriate for some sleepers than others.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Mouthguard

Mouthguards differ in their fit, materials, comfort, durability, style, and price. Understanding the differences can help you select the most comfortable and protective model for you.


Fit is one of the most critical criteria that affects a mouthguard’s comfort and usability. A mouthguard that is too thick may feel bulky in the mouth, while one that is too loose may be difficult to keep in place throughout the night. While one-size-fits-all models are available, many sleepers prefer custom-fit varieties to ensure the mouthguard stays put without taking up too much space.


Most mouthguards are made of durable, heat-cured plastic, though some use acrylic materials. Reputable labs should use safe, high-quality components that stand up to testing. Customers with latex allergies may want to read the product description carefully to ensure the mouthguard is latex-free, while some shoppers may also prefer to look for a BPA-free option.


Comfort is subjective, but it may depend on the fit, materials, and style of the mouthguard. Custom fits are often the most comfortable since they are crafted for the individual’s mouth. Some sleepers may prefer the feel of soft mouthguards, while others may like a rigid design. The style and shape of the mouthguard can also affect the feel, since some may be bulkier than others. Some models may be built for enhanced comfort, with modifications to take up less space in the mouth.


Mouthguards are built to hold up to grinding and clenching, but how long they last will depend on their durability. Those intended for heavy or severe grinding will likely be the most durable, while those designed for light grinding may wear out more quickly, especially when subjected to moderate to severe grinding.

Generally, heavy teeth grinders may need to replace their mouthguards more often for continued protection. Many custom mouthguard manufacturers take this into account and keep the customer’s teeth impressions on file for easy replacement. These services also typically charge less for subsequent mouthguards.


Manufacturers produce different styles and types of mouthguards to accommodate diverse needs and preferences. The most notable variation is often how the mouthguard is fitted to the teeth, either as a boil-and-bite, custom, or one-size-fits-all model.


Purchasing a mouth guard for teeth grinding online is usually more affordable than buying one from your dentist’s office. Many mouthguards fall in the $100 to $200 range, but durability may be as important as price when determining the overall value. A less durable option may need to be replaced every few months, potentially adding up to a higher total over time, while more durable models may cost more upfront but require less frequent replacement.

Which Type of Sleeping Mouthguard Should I Choose?

Several types of sleeping mouthguards are available, each with potential pros and cons. Learning more about them may make it easier to see which is the best fit for you.

Boil-and-Bite Style

Boil-and-bite style mouthguards have a customized fit without the need to send an impression of your teeth to a lab. Most models provide clear instructions on how to boil the mouthguard, take it out with tongs, run it under cold water, and place it in your mouth to mold to the shape of your teeth. Then, the mouthguard can typically be rinsed off and used without any downtime.

This design has several potential benefits, including a customized fit without the need to wait for the lab to process your order. Many boil-and-bite style mouthguards can also be remolded, which may be convenient if your teeth shift over time, or if you don’t get the right fit on the first try.

Mail-In Custom

With mail-in custom mouthguards, the buyer usually receives a free impression kit that they use to make a mold of their teeth. They then ship this mold to a lab, where technicians build a personalized mouthguard for the customer’s mouth. These mouthguards often have the best fit, but they can also be the most expensive. However, shoppers considering purchasing a mouthguard directly from their dentist may get a similar result at a lower price-point with a mail-in custom mouthguard.


One-size-fits-all mouthguards are intended to fit most sleepers, but they’re ideal for very few. They can provide a quick, affordable, and convenient solution, though users give them mixed reviews for comfort, fit, and effectiveness.

Mouthguards Not Designed for Teeth Grinding

While there are many mouthguards on the market for teeth grinding, others address different concerns. Sports mouthguards are built to protect the teeth in case of impact, and anti-snoring mouthpieces are designed to help reduce snoring by moving the lower jaw forward.

While you may be tempted to try using one of these mouthguards to protect against teeth grinding, they are not engineered for the task. The stresses of grinding may cause the materials to break down more quickly. They may also not provide effective protection against grinding, just as a mouthguard for grinding isn’t suitable for sports protection or snoring reduction. If you are unsure of what type of mouthguard is right for you, talk to your doctor or dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mouthguards

How do you clean a mouthguard?

The best way to clean a mouthguard is by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Most should be rinsed and gently brushed daily. Since toothpaste can be abrasive, some require gentler cleaning agents. Let your mouthguard dry before storing it.

Mouthguards also typically require regular deep cleanings, which can usually be done with a non-abrasive denture cleaner, mouthwash, or hydrogen peroxide. Be careful to follow the cleaning instructions provided with your mouthguard to keep your device clean without damaging it.

How do mouthguards work?

Anti-bruxism mouthguards act as a barrier between your teeth to provide a layer of cushioning. The mouthguard fits over your upper or lower teeth to prevent contact and protect tooth enamel.

Do I wear a mouthguard on my upper or lower teeth?

Sleepers may wear an upper or lower mouthguard depending on their personal preferences and dentist recommendations. Opinions vary between both dentists and users on which is more comfortable and better stays in place.

Mouthguards for teeth grinding are typically designed to be worn on either the top or bottom teeth, but not both at the same time. Some customizable options can be molded to accommodate the upper or lower teeth, while others are crafted specifically for one or the other. If you have a strong preference, pay careful attention to product descriptions to make sure the mouthguard you’re considering fits the bill.