Bruxism / nightguard
January 3, 2007 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Bruxism filter: Getting a nightguard sans dentist.

I need a nightguard to prevent me from grinding my teeth. Getting them done at the dentist is expensive. I found this place:
which sends you molds, then you send them back, then they send you the nightguard. Does anybody have experience with this or other DIY type places?
posted by allelopath to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have been using a really cheap one from a drug store to see if it helped. The Doctor's Nightguard is simple enough to do at home, and very cheap.

Before any dentists or spine doctor type people tell me how awful this thing is for my jaw & such, I will be getting a real, fitted one from a dentist. And same to the OP -I am not sure this is a healthy longterm solution.
posted by kellyblah at 4:24 PM on January 3, 2007

Making a good mold of your teeth isn't exactly easy. I wouldn't try it on myself, having gone through several professional molding experiences (ugh). Even the pros often have to do it a few times to get it right.

You have my sympathies here but I think you get what you pay for in this case.
posted by chairface at 4:56 PM on January 3, 2007

If your really strapped for cash, you might want to give it a try, but if you notice that you bite is shifting and that you have more tension in your jaw in the daytime, stop using it.

IANAD, but I had problems getting my mouth-guard fitted professionally, so I am a little sceptical. Before I had mine properly adjusted, I found myself grinding my teeth even more, and even in the day-time. My boyfriend thought I was developing TMJ. Whenever I go for a check-up my dentist checks it and adjusts it to account for wear.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 5:25 PM on January 3, 2007

Seconding chairface, it can be really hard to get a patient to sit still, and then pulling the mold off the teeth can be tough. There really is a precision to it that comes with practice. Beyond that, the angles are odd, and putting the alginate into the mold so you don't get bubbles, and then getting it in so it doesn't slide across the teeth wrong is also not something to be trying in your own mouth.

Besides all that, the proper molds are actually pretty big, and I wouldn't want to be trying to get one into my own face.

So, now I'm gonna tell you a small secret. The molds? They are generally the same from dentist to dentist, though there are different brands of alginate. You can go to a dentist and ask to have study models made. Study models are used by dentists to check out how your teeth line up and for them to point at when they talk about what needs to get done. Then you can, with any luck, convince the dental office to release them to you after you've declined whatever cosmetic stuff they suggest. You'll pay for the study models, and you'll probably pay for a consultation, but you certainly won't pay the mouthguard fee. If the office is really cool, you might even tell the dentist honestly that you can't afford whatever they charge for mouthguards, but there's this service where you can mail the molds. Worth a shot.

Also, have you tried CareCredit? They might be worth looking into in case you can't find a dentist to release the study models to you.
posted by bilabial at 5:43 PM on January 3, 2007

I use the buy-at-drugstore, boil-at-home kind, I have for a few years now. Never had any major problems as a result, but perhaps it's just that the grinding was worse than the result of the non-prescription Nightguard.
posted by etoile at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2007

I bought a guard at a sporting goods store, and took a magnesium supplement. I also think it is important to address the stresses which are causing you to grind your teeth, and/or to change diet--alcohol and sugar can exacerbate bruxism.
posted by Riverine at 5:56 PM on January 3, 2007

I use this one and find it works pretty well. I like that the goal is ostensibly to try to help with clenching as well, rather than just preventing wear and tear. I have no idea if it actually works this way, but it definitely cuts down on the headaches, so my non-scientific conclusion is that I am clenching my jaw less vigorously when I wear it.

However, I have asked my dentist about a custom guard (which I plan to get eventually), and they ran an insurance estimate on it. It's about $400-$500, but your insurance may cover a significant portion of the cost (as mine did) -- the ultimate estimate I was given was about $180, which isn't *quite* as punishing.
posted by tigerbelly at 6:56 PM on January 3, 2007

I've used three nightguards made by a dentist (a fourth I chewed through in a week). Then when I switched dentists the new one told me to get a cheap sports mouthguard and I've been using them ever since.

I can refit (or replace) them when the shape of my mouth changes. I trim each one down to the minimum size so I'm not gagging on it. Cheap and modifiable and effective.

Also, see this thread.
posted by booth at 7:50 PM on January 3, 2007

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