Maria Cardenas patient




Over the counter (OTC) night guards and custom night guards provided by dentists are not the same and differ in several key aspects. Here's a comparison between the two:

Fit and Comfort

OTC Night Guards: OTC night guards are typically one-size-fits-all and may require boiling or heating before molding to your teeth. They might not fit as precisely as custom guards, which could lead to discomfort in the short term, but in the long run may cause improper bite alignment, which can be irreversible.
Custom Night Guards: Custom night guards are created based on impressions of your teeth taken by a dentist. This ensures a tailored fit that is more comfortable, and the bite is designed to fit your current situation or to improve issues like TMD, snoring, teeth grinding or clenching.


OTC Night Guards: OTC guards are designed to fit a wide range of people and do not consider individual variations in dental anatomy or bite alignment.
Custom Night Guards: Custom guards are designed specifically for your mouth. They consider your unique bite and jaw alignment, offering better protection and comfort.

Level of Protection

OTC Night Guards: OTC guards might provide some protection against teeth grinding and clenching, but the level of protection can vary based on the design and materials used. Often, the soft/chewy materials used for OTC cause more grinding or clenching, when the goal is the opposite. Think about working out with elastic bands, the OTC night guard will allow your jaw muscles to tense and squeeze the material, strengthening the muscles. This can cause further joint and teeth damage.
Custom Night Guards: Custom guards are designed with the specific purpose of providing optimal protection against teeth grinding and clenching. They are often more effective at distributing forces and preventing damage to teeth. The material selection also helps reduce the clenching and grinding forces to minimize teeth damage.


OTC Night Guards: OTC guards might be made from less durable materials, which can wear down more quickly over time.
Custom Night Guards: Custom guards are typically made from higher-quality materials that are designed to withstand the forces of grinding and clenching for a longer period.

Bite Adjustment and Bite Alignment:

OTC Night Guards: OTC guards might not provide the necessary adjustments for your specific bite, potentially causing issues with your jaw alignment over time.
Custom Night Guards: Custom guards can be designed to accommodate your bite and align your jaw properly, reducing the risk of jaw discomfort or related issues.


In summary, while OTC night guards are readily available and may be more affordable, they do not offer the same level of protection, comfort, and benefits as custom night guards provided by your dentist. Custom guards, though more expensive, are often considered more effective and comfortable for addressing teeth grinding and clenching. If you're considering a night guard, it's recommended to consult with a dentist who can assess your needs and recommend the most suitable option for your situation.


Maria Cardenas DMD:
Custom Night Guards in Greater Boston

Here at Maria Cardenas DMD, we always want to be as transparent as possible with our patients and make sure you have all the information before starting any type of treatment.

Our goal is to provide our patients with the best oral health care and education while building lasting relationships. We believe in getting to know the person behind the smile. You’ll be sure to enjoy a first-class experience whether it’s your first or fiftieth visit at our boutique dental practice.

In addition to offering custom night guards in Wellesley, Maria Cardenas DMD is proud to offer a wide variety of cosmetic, restorative, and general dental services. From Invisalign to crowns and onlays and more, we are here to help with all your dental needs!

For more information about custom night guards in Greater Boston or to get scheduled at our Wellesley dental clinic, please feel free to call or text us at 781-235-1900. After hours, you can also fill out our contact form and we will reach out to you as soon as we are back in the office.