How Much Does a Teeth-Grinding Night Guard Cost?

by Andrea Burton
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Waking up with an aching jaw and a headache is no way to start the day. But did you ever think the problem could be from your sleep habits?

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Teeth grinding and clenching can leave you feeling miserable in the morning, and that's before you even hit the shower. But is a night guard the right solution, and how much is a night guard anyway?

Mouthguard or Night Guard?

These two phrases are often used interchangeably. For example, if you need a mouth device to prevent unwanted behaviors during sleep (and occasionally throughout the day), you might use either term — mouthguard or night guard.

However, a mouthguard is preferred if you're looking for something to protect your teeth during sports or high-risk situations.

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Reasons for a Night Guard

While we sleep, we may unconsciously perform actions that strain our teeth and jaw muscles. And some sleep disorders can adversely affect other body functions. Night guards help lessen the effects of sleep habits, such as:

  • Bruxism: Grinding or tightly clenching your teeth during sleep (or even while watching TV or working) can cause excess enamel wear. In addition, it puts unnecessary strain on jaw muscles and joints.
  • Sleep apnea: People with sleep apnea may temporarily pause their breathing during the night due to loose throat muscles or irregular brain impulses. Loud snoring often accompanies sleep apnea.

If you have either of the above sleep problems, your doctor or dentist may recommend a night guard as a treatment aid. Night guards can:

  • Prevent upper and lower teeth from grinding, which can damage tooth enamel
  • Keep your jaw properly aligned to help relax tense muscles, prevent spasms and open the airway
  • Relieve symptoms associated with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), such as headaches and jaw pain
  • Protect recent dental work, especially if you have new restorations

Types of Dental Night Guards

Before looking into the cost of a dental night guard, you should learn the two primary categories, since pricing varies accordingly.

  • Generic mouthguards may come in small, medium and large sizes or a one-size-fits-all design. They're sometimes called boil-and-bite mouthguards.
  • Custom-fit night guards are unique to your jaw and teeth, making them a more expensive option. They may come with an impression kit, or your dentist may take a digital or physical mold of your jaw and teeth.

Does Insurance Cover Dental Night Guards?

Since high-quality night guards can be a significant investment, you'll likely want to know if your night guard is covered by insurance. Eligibility depends greatly on your diagnosis (or reason for needing the mouthguard) and insurance plan. Also, while some insurance plans may pay for part or all of an oral appliance, lab fees or kits may not be covered.

  • Sleep apnea: Some health insurance plans will pay for at least part of the cost of a night guard or oral appliance specifically designed for sleep apnea.
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder: Although many insurance companies pay for the testing and treatment of TMJ disorders, they may not pay for oral appliances, such as mouthguards.
  • Bruxism: A mouthguard for teeth grinding is typically considered a preventive dental device and usually isn't covered.

However, every insurance policy is different, so check your plan for eligibility information. Dental insurance often provides more coverage for mouthguards than medical health insurance.

Also, don't forget to check your Health or Flexible Savings Accounts (HSA or FSA). In most cases, you can use money from these accounts to help with night guard costs, although you should get a statement of need from your dentist.

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How Much Does a Night Guard From the Dentist Cost With Insurance?

The amount your insurance pays for a night guard depends on individual policy benefits, including deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket minimums. Most insurance policies only cover partial costs of a mouthguard and have limitations on frequency, such as one device every five years.

How Much Does a Night Guard From the Dentist Cost Without Insurance?

A custom-fit night guard from your dentist will cost more than an over-the-counter model from your local store, ranging from $300 to over $1,000 (CAD 400 to CAD 1,337), according to GoodRx. However, a mouthguard shaped to your teeth can provide greater comfort and jaw protection. In addition, your dentist can examine the fit before you wear it to ensure you get the most benefit from your device.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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