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Custom Vs. Over-The-counter Mouthguards

Are you someone who grinds your teeth while sleeping? Or are you a sportsperson who needs protection from harsh hits to your face? In both cases, you need a mouth guard that will protect your teeth from natural wear and tear.

You may be unaware, but teeth grinding may be the start of your dental problems. It wears off the enamel. Over time, grinding loses your teeth, and you might need a dental crown in Chandler to keep your smile intact.

The question that bugs most people is whether they should go for custom mouthguards or affordable over-the-counter mouthguards. So here is a comparison of both and which one you should choose.

What Are Over-The-Counter Mouthguards?

Over-the-counter mouthguards are affordable options if you regularly use them. They are readily available in pharmacies and are thus named over-the-counter mouthguards. There are two types of OTC mouthguards. First is the regular plastic one, which comes in a fixed shape and fits most of the mouth. The second is the “boil and bite” guard. They are made of thin plastic.

The method of fitting “boil and bite” guards are simple. You must read the instructions on the packaging and boil the mouthguards in the water for the specified time. Once softer, they are placed in the mouth and bitten upon. It molds the plastic into the shape of your teeth. Once cooled down, you can cut the excess material, and your mouthguards are ready.


OTC mouthguards are cheaper than custom mouthguards. They are available at any pharmacy or drugstore. The cost ranges from $15 to $35.


OTC mouthguards are made of plastic; if you are a regular user of these, they might not last more than a few months. They last less than custom mouthguards.

Pros and Cons Of Over-The-Counter Mouthguards


  • You can go for OTC guards if you are on a tight budget.
  • They are readily available in any pharmacy.
  • You can quickly mold them to your teeth by boiling them in hot water.


  • The quality of OTC mouthguards differs based on their pricing, but all of these are made of plastic which cannot bear excessive grinding. So if you are a forceful grinder, these are not for you.
  • These guards are designed to fit most mouths. However, these might not fit if you have crooked teeth.
  • These are not suitable for sportspersons as they can’t withstand much force.
  • The plastic doesn’t last for long.

Custom Mouthguards

As the name suggests, custom mouthguards are created for your mouth by your dentist. If you grind your teeth at night, you should visit your dentist. Also, look for a dental crown in Chandler if your habit has caused your teeth to loosen.

So, how do custom mouthguards work? It’s simple. You visit your dentist, and they can tell whether your teeth  are damaged from bruxism. Based on the damage, the dentist will prescribe whether you need a mouthguard or should go for dental crowns.

The process of getting custom mouthguards is simple. First, your dentist takes an impression of your teeth. Then, dental putty is used to make a mold off your teeth. The mold is sent to a lab, creating custom mouthguards for you that fit your teeth and cause no discomfort. They are made of durable thermoplastic polymer and are not prone to breakage like plastic.


Custom mouthguards are more expensive than OTC mouthguards. The price ranges from $250-$800.


Custom-made mouthguards don’t break, and thus, these can last for years. Custom mouthguards are a good investment for adults whose teeth are no longer changing. If you maintain them properly, their longevity will surprise you. However, you may need to replace them in case of wear and tear or if they no longer fit your mouth.

Pros and Cons Of Custom Mouthguards


  • Even though they cost more, they are worth the investment if your habit of grinding your teeth is not going away anytime soon.
  • Since they are designed for your teeth, they fit perfectly and offer the best protection without any discomfort, which is quite usual in OTC mouthguards.


  • Custom mouthguards are not for you if you are on a tight budget.
  • Not suitable for kids whose teeth are still changing.
  • It will need a week to get them made. So, not suitable for the emergency requirement.

Why Do You Need A Mouthguard?

People use mouthguards for two reasons. First, they are sportspersons, and a direct hit to the jaw can damage teeth severely.

The second reason is violent grinding, gnashing, and clenching, which wears off tooth enamel and even loosens the tooth socket. It is called bruxism which can lead to dental problems in the future.

Experts suggest that you visit a dentist and get a pair of custom mouthguards for comfort and effective results. Plastic OTC mouthguards are a good option in an emergency, but you are advised to get them custom-made for long-term use.

At Peace of Mind Dental Studio, we believe in offering only the best. You get the best advice based on your needs; we offer mouthguards and dental crowns in Chandler. Visit us!

Written by Dr. Silverman

Dr. Silverman is the co-founder of Peace of Mind Dental, a Chandler Arizona, general dentistry practice.