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The Difference Between Custom Mouthguards and a Mouthguard from the Pharmacy

November 21, 2023
The Difference Between

A custom mouthguard, also known as an oral appliance is manufactured to perfectly fit your teeth, protect your bite, and feel comfortable when wearing. By contrast, a mouthguard from the pharmacy, retailer, or online outlet is touted to be one-size-fits-all, but in reality, rarely fits comfortably.  Here is why a custom mouthguard is far superior to a “boil and bite” mouthguard.  

A Custom Fit is Necessary to Protect Your Teeth, Bite, and Jaw

Custom mouthguards are made from impressions of your teeth and mouth, taking into account your bite, your jaw, and the size and shape of your teeth. They are designed to precisely fit and protect your teeth without shifting them or causing strain on the teeth or jaw. 


A custom mouthguard, worn while playing sports or while you sleep, offers benefits such as:

  • Fits snugly on your teeth
  • Maintains the alignment of your teeth
  • Reduces wear and strain on the teeth
  • Does not require clenching to keep it in place
  • Preserves your bite
  • Comfort (though they may feel awkward for the first few days of wear)


On the other hand, pharmacy mouthguards are made from thick, bulky plastic that may be much larger or much smaller than you need. This can lead to consequences such as: 


  • A poor-fitting mouthguard can cause the teeth to shift, altering your bite
  • A store-bought mouthguard may require clenching to keep it in place, leading to jaw pain or TMJ.
  • A large, bulky pharmacy mouthguard may damage the gums or soft tissues of the mouth
  • A mouthguard that doesn’t fit properly can pose a choking hazard

Premium Quality Materials Vs. Cheap Materials

Custom oral appliances are typically much thinner than mouthguards from the pharmacy. The reason? Custom mouthguards are made from higher quality material than the plastic used in over-the-counter mouthguards. Incidentally, the premium quality materials used to create your custom mouthguard also make them more durable than store-bought mouthguards.

Who Should Use a Custom Mouthguard?

Children, teens, and adults who engage in contact sports should see their dentist for a custom mouthguard. Additionally, those who suffer from bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth) should also wear a custom oral appliance to prevent wear and tear on the teeth and stress on the jaw joint. People diagnosed with TMJ may also benefit from a custom night guard. 


Lastly, custom oral appliances may also be recommended as snoring therapy, and to treat obstructive sleep apnea. 

Schedule an Appointment for a Custom Sports Guard or Night Guard in Holyoke, MA

If you or your child are active in sports, schedule an appointment at Oakdale Dental Associates to be fitted for a custom mouthguard. Likewise, if you suspect you or your child are grinding your teeth at night, come see our team to learn if an oral appliance is right for you. To book your constellation call 413-536-1782 or send us a message

Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Accept Financing for Custom Mouthguards?

Yes. At Oakdale Dental Associates, we accept all major credit cards, along with CareCredit financing for custom oral appliances.


How Long Will a Custom Nightguard Last?

Custom night guards often last several years when properly cared for. Be sure to clean your night guard daily and store it in a safe, cool place where small children and pets cannot find it.

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Oakdale Dental Associates
1820 Northampton Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Tel: 413-536-1782 | Fax: 413-532-1400
Monday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Thursday | 8:00am - 5:00pm
Friday | 8:00am - 1:00pm
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1820 Northampton Street Holyoke, MA 01040
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