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Boil-and-Bite Night Guard vs Custom Night Guard From a Dental Office

  • nightguard
1 min read
by JS Dental Lab |

There are some major differences. Let’s do a side-by-side comparison in terms of material used, pricecomfort level, and durability.

In the end, I’ll make my pitch on why our dental lab offering is the best for most bruxers.

Price and material used:

  • The OTC ones are mass-produced using very cheap EVA plastics. You can source them for less than $0.2 per piece from an ISO-certified manufacturer. As a matter of fact, if you are our customer, we give it away free of charge.
  • Dentists' ones range anywhere from roughly $200 to $500. The materials are of much higher quality as well. But a round disc of raw FDA-cleared custom night guard material already cost $4+.


  • The OTC ones:
    • They are one-size-fits-all. They are either too small or too big. That means you might have to trim the edges which can create sharp edges that irritate your gum.
    • So bulky you’ll not want to wear it or spit it out at night
    • Chewy texture: This is a BIG ONE. It can cause you to chew on it and make your jaw muscle sore.
  • Dentist ones:
    • Your own teeth impression is required which results in the most optimal fit possible. It is like getting a custom suit from a high-end tailor.
    • A dental technician will craft your guard using your unique impressions.
    • Your dentist might adjust the guard upon delivery to improve the comfort. This personalized service drives up the cost, and so does the outsourced cost to the dental lab.
    • Comfort levels can vary depending on the type. Acrylic ones can be too bulky and hard to use. We recommend the thermoforming counterparts


  • The OTC ones:
    • They last from a few days to a few months.
  • Dentist ones:
    • Acrylic ones are very hard and can be less comfortable, but they can last many years. We see super gross acrylic guards lasting over 10 years often.
    • Thermoforming ones: Can last anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

How do you choose?

  • Go for the OTC ones if you only need them short-term.
  • Go to the dentist if you don’t mind the cost, love in-person service, or have serious TMJ issues.

My recommendation for most bruxers: order directly from a dental lab

We are a Bay Area (California) based dental lab that delivers custom night guards directly to your door for a much more affordable price. Choose your preferred style, thickness, and material textures.

Take our night guard quiz below to find the perfect night guard for you!

night guard quiz

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