General |3 min read

Different Types of NightGuards for Teeth Protection

A man placing his nightguards

Nightguards, those handy little devices that help protect our teeth from harmful night grinding and TMJ, are more complex than you might think. 

The simple fact is they come in various shapes and sizes, and each type offers different benefits. 

Let’s chew on this topic for a bit.

The importance of nightguards

First off, why do we even need nightguards? 

Many people grind or clench their teeth during sleep, often without realizing it. 

This grinding, known as bruxism, can lead to dental problems, such as worn-down teeth, jaw pain, headaches, and tooth loss. 

Enter the nightguard – a protective tool designed to prevent these issues.

Different types of nightguards

Soft nightguards

Soft nightguards are a popular choice for occasional teeth grinders or clenchers. They’re made of a comfortable, flexible material that is easy to use.

Dual laminate nightguards

Dual laminate nightguards are an excellent option for the more heavy-duty teeth grinders. These are soft inside for comfort but have a hard exterior for durability.

Hard nightguards

Hard nightguards are typically made from acrylic. They’re durable and can be customized to a person’s bite, making them an excellent choice for severe teeth grinders.

A deep dive into the different types of nightguards

Pros and cons of soft nightguards

Soft nightguards are comfortable and affordable but may wear out faster because of the softer material. So, they’re like your favorite pajamas – cozy and easy to wear but might need frequent replacement.

Pros and cons of dual laminate nightguards

Dual laminate nightguards provide a happy medium between comfort and durability. They’re like wearing a suit with a comfy T-shirt underneath. However, they can be more expensive than soft nightguards.

Pros and cons of hard nightguards

Hard nightguards are the most durable, lasting longer than their softer counterparts, similar to well-constructed boots. However, some people might find them uncomfortable initially.

Selecting the right nightguard for you

Choosing a nightguard is a personal decision. It’s like picking the right pair of shoes – it needs to fit well and be comfortable for long periods. It also needs to address the dental issue adequately.

How to care for your nightguard

Just like you care for your teeth, your nightguard needs love too. Regular cleaning and proper storage can extend its life significantly.

The role of a dentist in nightguard selection

Always pay attention to the expertise of a dentist when choosing a nightguard. They’re like your personal shopper but for dental health.

Nightguard alternatives

While nightguards are a common solution for teeth grinding, there are alternatives. These include lifestyle changes, exercises, and even Botox.


Are there any side effects to wearing nightguards?

Some people might experience minor discomfort initially, but this usually disappears with regular use.

How often should I replace my nightguard?

This depends on the type of nightguard and the severity of your teeth grinding. Soft ones need replacement every year, while hard ones can last several years.

Can I use a sports mouthguard instead of a nightguard?

While similar in appearance, sports mouthguards and nightguards serve different purposes and aren’t interchangeable.

Are over-the-counter nightguards as effective as custom ones?

Custom nightguards offer a better fit and are more effective, but over-the-counter options can be a good starting point for some people.

How should I clean my nightguard?

You can clean your nightguard with a toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste, and it should be thoroughly rinsed and dried before storage.


Nightguards are a fantastic solution for people with teeth grinding or clenching during sleep. 

Choosing the right one can seem as tricky as picking out the perfect outfit, but with the help of a professional dentist, you’ll be able to make an informed decision.


Lance Collier, DMD, LLC is located in Columbus, GA, and we happily welcome folks from neighboring areas.