20 Percent Of Americans Grind Their Teeth – Do You?

While there are various reports suggesting that between 8 percent and 31 percent of Americans grind their teeth at night, the accepted percentage usually sits right at 20. There is a good chance that you may be a member of this group. Involuntary grinding of the teeth – also known as bruxism – is frequently accompanied by moderate to excessive clenching of the jaw in between episodes.

What are the Signs?

Tell-tale signs that you are a sufferer include headaches in the morning, jaw muscles that hurt for no reason, and heavily worn dental surfaces. If you have crowns or fillings installed in your back teeth, you may have noticed that they frequently break or wear out. Bruxism will often be diagnosed by your dentist after a checkup, as the signs will be fairly evident to them. While there is some evidence to suggest that bruxism is a hereditary condition, there are also some studies that suggest a connection between nightly teeth grinding and stress. Caffeine intake has also been linked to a higher incidence rate of bruxism. The causes are not always clear, but if you are experiencing increased sensitivity in your teeth, worn enamel, or cracked crowns or fillings, then you should definitely ask your dentist if you may be a sufferer.

Teeth Grinding Guards

Guard Options

To counteract the damaging wear on your teeth, SportingSmiles offers you a choice of four different types of grinding guards.

Soft night guard

Made of 3mm of flexible material, this type of night guard is comfortable and soft. If you clench your teeth more than you grind them, this guard is for you. However, if you are sensitive to things in your mouth and have experienced gagging with a night guard before, then you may want to experiment with a slimmer guard.

Single layer hard night guard

We have incorporated 1mm of a denser protective material to minimize the size of this grinding guard. If you clench your jaw but only grind your teeth moderately – and if you want a grinding guard that feels the most comfortable – try this model for nightly use.

Dual laminate night guard

This guard combines 1mm of softer core material and a 2mm strip of a shell-like exterior. If your clenching is moderate but you grind your teeth heavily, this guard prevents the motion from destroying the material and gives your guard a longer lifespan.

Hard flexible night guard

Made of 3mm of highly-dense materials, the guard is somewhat flexible and extremely durable. When you suffer from strong clenching as well as severe night grinding, this is the most effective guard to protect your teeth while being comfortable enough for nightly wear.

Contact us today to order your set of impression materials. Once you send us back your impressions, we will build your night guard to order. As soon as it’s ready we will ship it straight to you. Invest in your smile and protect your teeth from the damage caused by night grinding.

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Gagging On Teeth Grinding Guards

Teeth grinding is a problem that affects at least 8% of adults in America. Sufferers can experience tooth flattening, loss of enamel, and even cracking. It is also associated with jaw pain and migraines. It can also be difficult for partners of people who grind their teeth, as it can be quite loud and usually occurs at night. Thankfully, there are many good solutions available that can greatly reduce the impacts of teeth grinding. Getting a guard that doesn’t fit can result in it coming loose and causing gagging. Gagging on teeth grinding guards can be prevented though. 

Grinding Guards

The most commonly used and effective of these solutions are teeth grinding guards or ‘night guards’. However, many people find themselves not wearing their night guard because they are bulky or cause them to gag. A solution is only effective if you can use it without being uncomfortable, otherwise, you will likely stop using it regularly. Thankfully, there are a few things that can be done to make using your night guard more comfortable. The last thing you want is a guard that’s less comfortable than grinding your teeth. Follow our list below to ensure that you get a guard that will not end up collecting dust. 

How to Prevent Gagging

  1. Night GuardHave a custom thermo-formed night guard made that isn’t thicker than 3mm. From our testing at SportingSmiles, we found that most people do not find 3mm guards bulky, but some do find the 4mm to be bulky. If you find the 3mm to be too bulky then there is also a thin 1mm hard night guard available.
  2. The way the guard is trimmed will also affect the gag factor. You want to make sure the guard is thermo-formed, because this provides the tightest fit. Having a tight fit lets lab techs make the night guards with a lower profile and still have a snug fit that doesn’t feel like it fills up your mouth more than it has to.
  3. The length of the guard is also an important factor when dealing with comfort and gagging. If the guard is too long on the rear molars it can provoke gagging. Removing one or two molars from the mold of the guard can increase the comfort of the night guard. Speak to our team if you think that this is something that has affected you with your current guard and we will make adjustments to get a guard that works for you.
  4. Find a dentist and dental lab that is experienced in making night guards. There are many dentists and dental labs that aren’t familiar with the different types of modern materials and techniques. Do your research and make sure you are not spending hundreds of dollars on a guard that will end up sitting in a drawer because it is uncomfortable. At SportingSmiles we make thousands of teeth grinding guards every year and know all the tricks to make the guards as comfortable as possible.

Contact SportingSmiles if you have more questions about getting the right night guard for your needs. Our team is always ready and willing to listen to your needs and guide you to the right product.

How to Take a Dental Impression

At Sporting Smiles, we believe in providing you with only the highest-quality dental products to get you the smile that you deserve. We don’t cut any corners, so we only make custom-fitted guards, retainers, and whitening trays. Custom fitting means that you get the most comfortable, efficient experience from your dental solution. Going with Sporting Smiles means that you cut out the middle man and save money while getting the highest quality. The first step in getting a custom-fitted guard or retainer is taking a dental impression. You can have this done by a dentist, but it is much more cost effective to take your own impression at home with our impression kits, included with all orders of a custom guard, retainer, or tray.

How to take a dental impression

  1. Firstly, you need to thoroughly brush your teeth and make sure your hands are clean. Any material in the teeth can affect the impression, and hygiene is of the utmost importance when dealing with dental matters.
  2. Adjust the dental tray to the size of your mouth. They are adjustable in width by pulling the two halves of the tray apart. The tray can also be made smaller by snapping off a section(s) of the plastic in the rear of the impression tray. Your teeth should be centered in the tray when checking the size.
  3. Vigorously mix both parts (A & B) of the impression material together until a uniform color is reached. This step is time sensitive and should be done as quickly as possible (about 20 sec).
  4. The impression material should then be rolled into a 4 to 5-inch tube.
  5. Place impression material uniformly into the tray and firmly push the tray onto your teeth. Confirm that the teeth are evenly settled in the impression material before leaving it to set.
  6. It will take about 4 minutes for the material to fully harden. During this time you want to move as little as possible. After 4 minutes the material should feel firm to the touch and the impression can be removed.
  7. Remove the tray in a single, smooth motion by pulling either up or down with as little side-to-side movement as possible.
  8. Rinse the tray and seal in a closed bag.
  9. Send the impression to us and wait for your custom-fitted dental guard or retainer to arrive!

If you have any questions about your impression you can email a photo to [email protected]. Our team is always ready and willing to assist in making the process as easy as possible for you.


Do I Grind My Teeth When I’m Sleeping?

Most people who suffer from nocturnal teeth grinding are not aware that they grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. And why would they be? Usually, your dentist or a partner will be the one that lets you know that you have a problem. Teeth grinding is also known by the medical term of Bruxism and studies have shown that between 8 and 25% of all people grind or clench their teeth in one way or another. Grinding your teeth, while usually unnoticeable to the people that do it, can result in several long term dental issues and is definitely worth addressing as soon as possible.

At Sporting Smiles, our main concern is always the dental health of our customers. If you suspect that you are a sufferer of bruxism, our first recommendation is always to see your dentist. They will likely be able to identify the signs of nocturnal teeth grinding before you are fully experiencing them. However, we also want our customers to be as informed as possible about their own dental health. With that in mind, we have composed a list of some of the most obvious signs that you may be suffering from Bruxism.

The 4 Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

Worn Teeth

You or your dentist might notice that you have flat spots on your molars or have cracked teeth. Another telltale sign is regularly worn out or cracked dental fillings.

Audible Detection

Your sleep partner may hear your teeth grinding or clenching while sleeping. While grinding sounds coming from your side of the bed may well be an indicator of bruxism, you should certainly consult with your dentist to be sure.

Jaw Pain

Pain or soreness might be felt in the jaw muscles, especially after waking up. Clenching and grinding during your sleep will create tension in the jaw muscles.

Headaches or Migraines in the Morning

If you find yourself regularly waking up with a headache or migraine, it may be associated with tension caused by bruxism during sleep.

There are several other symptoms that are potentially connected with grinding your teeth, but these are the most common indicators. If you are concerned, we recommend visiting your dentist to get a professional recommendation. Typically, the first treatment for teeth grinding will be a night guard that is worn while sleeping.

There are a few different types of night guards available. Some of the materials work better than others for specific sufferers and their symptoms, depending on whether you are grinding or clenching and what the severity is of your bruxism. The harder materials tend to work better for teeth grinding, while the softer materials work better for teeth clenching. SportingSmiles makes both types of guard and also makes a combination hard and flexible night guard that is designed for both.

If you suspect that you might have Bruxism you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. Once the teeth are worn away, there is no way for them to repair themselves.

How Much do Dental Retainers Cost?

If you ask people how much dental retainers cost, most of them will probably just say “expensive!”. In the past, this would have been true. However, the price of quality dental retainers has been driven down via new technologies. In reality, the price of a replacement retainer can vary hugely depending on the type of retainer and where the retainers are purchased from. At the moment, there are three different types of retainer available on the market.

Hawley Retainers

Hawley Retainer

This type of retainer is also commonly referred to as a ‘wire retainer’. They are made using metal wire and dental acrylic. They are an older model that is somewhat less common these days. However, they do have the advantage of being adjustable, so they may still be prescribed in some cases. They can also be repaired in some cases if they’ve been damaged, unlike other retainer models.

One Hawley retainer costs approximately $175.00 – $325.00

Permanent Fixed Retainer

This type of retainer is a wire that is bonded on the lingual side of the teeth permanently to prevent the teeth from shifting. This is typically done on the lower teeth, but can also be done on the upper set in certain circumstances. This process has to be done by a dentist or orthodontist.

One fixed retainer costs approximately $250.00-$400.00

Essix Clear Retainer

Single Clear dental Retainers

These are the Invisalign type retainers made from 1mm Essix material. They are the more modern of the three retainer types and are therefore much more common. Because of the growing ease of homemade dental impressions, Essix clear retainers can vary massively in price depending on whether or not you decide to go through a dentist or cut out the middle man.

One Clear Retainer (from dentist) $150.00 – $300.00
One Clear Retainer (from SportingSmiles.com ) $65.00

The main factor in how much dental retainers cost is the dentist markup. Dentists with large overheads naturally have a higher markup. Most of the removable retainer types are not made in the dentist’s office, but rather off-site at a dental lab. These labs take an impression and turn it into a retainer. With the ability to take your own impression, there is really no reason to go through a dentist anymore to get your retainers. This can translate into massive savings, particularly if you often find yourself losing or breaking your retainer. If you’re looking at removing the middle man, Upper + Lower retainers can be purchased from SportingSmiles for less than $100.

Top 10 terms for teeth grinding guards.

We understand that sometimes buying your own dental guards online can seem a bit daunting. Going to a dentist might feel like an easier option, but the reality is that it is really quite simple to shop for your own custom teeth grinding guards. It can also save you a lot of money. We have found that, often, the confusion comes from the wide variety of terms and a lack of understanding about them, so we thought we would try and clear them up for you.

Common Terms for Teeth Grinding Guards

Occlusal Splint 

Occlusal is the relationship between the upper and lower teeth. Splint is a generic term for something that connects the teeth as one.

Bite Guard 

Your bite is another dental term for the occlusal surface.

Night Guard 

Since most people wear their teeth guard at night, this term has become popular.

TMJ Guard 

TMJ is the pain associated with the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. Typically, one of the first treatments for TMJ is to get a guard.

Bite Splint 

See 1 and 2.

Bruxism Guard 

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding/clenching.


Since the guard is in your mouth, this term has started to be used by some people as a term for grinding guards. However, mouthguard is actually the term for an athletic sports guard.

Sleep Guard 

Similar to the term night guard, since the guard is worn while sleeping.

Teeth Grinding Guard 

Teeth grinding guard and night guard are the two most common terms.

Dental Guards

This is a generic term for any type of guard that is used in the mouth. While accurate, it is somewhat vague.

Teeth Grinding Guards
SportingSmiles grinding Guards

These are just a few of the terms used for night guards. Sometimes even a mixture of the terms may be used, like Occlusal Guard, Bruxism Splint, Bite Guard, Sleep Splint, and TMJ Splint! Don’t worry though, if you talk to your dentist about a teeth grinding guard or night guard, they will know exactly what you mean. Our website only uses the more common, accurate terms so that there is no confusion about what you are purchasing. No matter what term you are using, the guards do the same thing. They protect your teeth at night from teeth grinding or clenching.  If you are interested in purchasing, please visit. http://www.SportingSmiles.com

Do You Want to Guest Blog for Us?

Would you be interested in writing a guest blog for SportingSmiles? We are always on the lookout for people to contribute to our blog. Whether you want to share your experience as a user of dental or orthodontic products or share your expertise as a dentist or orthodontist.

If you are interested, send us an email at [email protected] and let us know a little about yourself and the topic you would like to blog about.

How To Prevent Your Clear Essix Retainer From Breaking

At Sporting Smiles, we only stock the Clear Essix style of retainers for a reason. They are the most modern style of retainer, we firmly believe that they are the best retainer solution. They allow for custom-fitting at a low cost and are cheap and easy to replace for the same reasons. However, they do have a downside. They are somewhat fragile and can crack when not cared for properly. With proper care, your clear Essix retainer can last many years. We have put together a simple and easy to understand list of factors that can contribute to prolonging the lifespan of your retainers.

Prolong the life of your retainer


One of the most common reasons for cracking in retainers is users incorrectly removing their retainers. When removing your retainers, use both hands and pull the retainers off the teeth in a steady, smooth motion. Avoid any rotation, because when the retainers twist they can crack and break.


Cleaning incorrectly can also put unnecessary pressure and tension on your retainers. When cleaning your retainer, you want to cup it in one hand and clean with a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothbrush with the other hand. You can also lay them on a soft towel on a flat surface. Be careful not to brush them too hard. Soaking the retainers in Fresh Guard will make cleaning the retainers easier. Do not soak them in an alcohol-based mouthwash. The alcohol will dry the retainer out and lead to perishing and cracking.


The manufacturing process is also an important factor in the strength of retainers. If you are missing a tooth or have a gap, it is a weak point on the retainer. You want to make sure that your retainers are made by a dental lab that is very familiar with the creation of Essix retainers and only uses the highest quality material. If you find that your retainer is regularly breaking or cracking, then it may be worth exploring the Essix Plus material, which is just as thin as the existing Essix retainer material but much more durable.


We all love our four-legged friends, but sometimes they can be a bit of a nuisance, particularly when it comes to chewing things that they are not meant to be chewing! Unfortunately, Essix retainers are made from the exact same plastic material that dog chews are made from, so it can be confusing for your furry best friend. On top of that, dogs are attracted to the smell of our saliva on the retainers, so they just can’t help themselves. Always remember to keep your retainer well-hidden and inside its case to make sure your dog doesn’t mistake it for their favorite chew toy!

With proper care, a well-made custom retainer can last for years. If your retainer does break, be sure to check out www.sportingsmiles.com for your replacement.

How Much Should a Teeth Grinding Guard Cost?

If you have been diagnosed with teeth grinding (bruxism), you may be wondering what type of guard is best for your needs and budget. There are many different types of teeth grinding guards with extremely different prices. The first port of call to identify your night guard needs should be your dentist. However, once you know what type of guard you need for your form and level of grinding, there are several different price points that you will need to consider. We thought that we would give you a little breakdown of the options available to you. 

Over the counter  

OTC teeth grinding guards can be found in most drug stores and range in price from $10-$30. These guards are typically made by placing a universal sized guard in hot water and then forming it over your teeth. They typically don’t last long and the fitting is poor, making for an uncomfortable experience. An uncomfortable night guard can often lead to gagging or difficulty breathing. Discomfort will often cause people to stop using it regularly.

Custom Fit (From Dentist)

Custom-fitted night guards are a much better option for your comfort and dental health. They are shaped specifically for your teeth and are made from superior materials. Custom fit guards will last significantly longer than OTC options. Dentist-fitted custom guards range from $220-$600 depending on location and dentist. These are made by having a dentist take an impression of your teeth. The mold is then sent to a dental lab to be manufactured.  Many dentists only make a few night guards each year. As it is not their primary business, they are often not aware of the different types of material available. Often dentists will recommend a Dual Laminate teeth grinding guard, which is not the right guard for every type of bruxism sufferer.

Custom Fit (From SportingSmiles)

Night Guard The price range for a custom-fitted night guard from Sporting Smiles is from $65-$110. These guards are made using a self-impression kit that we send you. The impression is then mailed directly to the dental lab. This product is dramatically lower in price since there is no dentist markup. The quality is exactly the same as ones ordered through a dentist though. SportingSmiles has many different teeth guard styles to match your bruxism requirements. Because making guards is our business, we are able to identify exactly what guard type is correct for your specific needs.

Please visit SportingSmiles.com for more information on grinding guards.