Teeth grinding (bruxism) can cause serious damage to your teeth. With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that grinders are willing to spend a lot of money on custom occlusal guards (aka night guards) to protect their pearly whites. But how much is too much? Exactly how much should an occlusal guard cost?
The reason this question is so important is because a) not everyone who grinds has dental insurance, and b) dental insurance doesn’t always cover a night guard for teeth grinding. In fact, by some estimates, insurance pays up less than half the time – and not always for the full cost. Most of the time, dental night guard cost is your cost.
Occlusal Guard Price Varies by Dentist
In most cases, your dentist will take bite impressions in his or her office, and then mail them away to a lab for construction of the final product. Typically the cost of producing the actual mouth guard is a fraction of what the dentist will charge you, however. A typical price for an acrylic night guard is $300-400, but $500 or more is not uncommon.
If you get a price quote outside of that range, it may be worthwhile to call around to other dentists in your area. Taking a bite impression is a routine service that any competent dentist or dental hygienist should be able to perform.
Cutting Out the Middle Man
Clearly, dentists charge a lot for their time. Since creating bite impressions isn’t all that difficult, wouldn’t it be great if you could make your own impressions and send them directly to the lab? Well, actually you can. There are services that will send you a kit that has everything you need to make your own dental impressions. You simply mail them back and receive an occlusal guard made of the same high-quality material as the ones you get at the dentist.
Cost for this service? Usually $50-150.
The only potential downside here is that you have to be confident in your ability to make accurate impressions. If you’re slightly off, the mouth guard you get back will be off too.
Occlusal Guard Cost – Over the Counter
A lot of people insist that you need a custom dental night guard to solve your teeth grinding problem. This simply isn’t true. Plenty of teeth grinders get relief through cheap over-the-counter mouth guards. At around $20 for a highly rated occlusal guard, the price is certainly right.
That’s not to say you can go down to the drugstore, grab the first mouth guard you see, and expect your problem to be solved. There are a lot of different products on the market, and you may have to try more than one of them to hit on one you like.
Something to Chew On
If money is tight, we recommend trying an over-the-counter option first, simply because the price difference is so huge. You could try a dozen over-the-counter teeth grinding guards for less than what you would pay at the dentist’s office for one device. And if you find one you like, you will have cheap solution to your problem that you will be able to buy again and again. This is important, because no occlusal guard – no matter how well made – lasts forever. The sad truth is that many people who start off with an expensive mouth guard turn to cheaper options when it wears down after a year or so.