Customized Mouth Guards in Bakersfield, CA

Simple Custom Methods for Smile Protection

At Gentle Family Dentistry, led by dedicated Bakersfield dentist Dr. Jonathan Garger, we understand the importance of safeguarding your dental health and overall well-being. We’re proud to offer custom mouth guards, including sports and night guards, tailored to suit your needs. 

Whether you require protection during sports or relief from teeth grinding and clenching, our team is here to ensure that your smile remains bright, your oral health intact, and your nights restful. To learn more about our personalized solutions, contact us at 661-664-9900 or continue reading to discover how custom mouth guards can make a difference in your life.


Nightguards, also known as nocturnal bite splints or occlusal splints, are dental appliances designed to protect your teeth and jaw while you sleep. These custom guards are typically made of durable plastic and fitted to the unique shape of your mouth.

Benefits of Nightguards

  • Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Nightguards are often prescribed to individuals who suffer from bruxism, a condition characterized by the involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep. Nightguards separate the teeth and, in doing so, prevent damage to the teeth. This separation provides a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, reducing the impact of grinding and preventing further dental issues.
  • TMJ Disorders: Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders can cause jaw pain and discomfort, often exacerbated during sleep due to clenching or grinding. Nightguards can help alleviate these symptoms by promoting a relaxed jaw position and minimizing stress on the TMJ.
  • Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Certain night guards are designed to reposition the lower jaw slightly forward, helping open the airway and alleviate snoring and mild obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Tooth Protection: Nightguards can safeguard dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, or veneers, from damage caused by bruxism.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Store-Bought Night Guards

Using store-bought boil-and-bite guards can seem like a convenient and cost-effective solution to address teeth grinding and clenching headaches. However, there are compelling reasons why they aren’t recommended for managing these issues.

Makes Teeth Grinding Worse

First and foremost, store-bought guards, despite their initial ability to separate the teeth, are typically made from soft and chewy materials. This bouncy texture may offer some cushioning, but it lacks the necessary durability to address bruxism or teeth grinding effectively.

One of the key drawbacks is that this soft material won’t effectively stop the jaws from clenching. It can even inadvertently worsen the problem by providing a degree of resistance that encourages further clenching and grinding. This can lead to sore jaw muscles, jaw joint pain, and discomfort that exacerbates the issues you’re trying to treat or resolve.

Bulky & Uncomfortable

Another concern with store-bought guards is their bulkiness. These guards are often one-size-fits-all, and the generic design may not suit your mouth’s unique shape and size. As a result, they can feel uncomfortable and bulky when worn at night, making it more likely that you’ll remove them during sleep, defeating their purpose.

In contrast, custom-made night guards, like those crafted by a dentist such as Dr. Garger at Gentle Family Dentistry, are precisely tailored to fit your mouth. They offer a snug and comfortable fit, effectively preventing teeth from clenching together and grinding while minimizing muscle and joint strain. Choosing a custom night guard from a dental professional ensures a more effective, comfortable, and long-lasting solution for bruxism and related issues, ultimately promoting better oral health and quality of life.

What Are Sports Guards?

Sports guards are mouth guards worn as required equipment in contact sports such as boxing, hockey, and football. They’re made of a soft, spongy material that absorbs the shock from blows to the face and head common to those sports.

Benefits of Sports Guards

  • Dental Injury Prevention: One of the primary benefits of sports guards is their ability to reduce the risk of dental injuries during sports. They cushion and shield the teeth from impact, reducing the likelihood of chipped, broken, or knocked-out teeth.
  • Jaw Protection: Sports guards not only safeguard the teeth but also protect the jaw from traumatic injuries. They help absorb the force of impact and distribute it evenly, reducing the risk of jaw fractures or dislocations.
  • Concussion Prevention: While not a guarantee, some studies suggest that well-fitted mouthguards may help reduce the risk of concussions by minimizing the shock from blows to the head. 
  • Lip and Soft Tissue Protection: Sports guards also provide a barrier between the teeth and lips, cheeks, and tongue. This reduces the risk of cuts, lacerations, and soft tissue injuries in the mouth.
  • Improved Breathing and Communication: Well-fitted sports guards don’t obstruct breathing or hinder communication, allowing athletes to focus on their performance without discomfort or distraction.
  • Customized Fit: Custom-made sports guards designed by a dentist offer the best fit, comfort, and protection. They’re molded to the athlete’s unique mouth shape, ensuring optimal performance and safety.
  • Longevity and Durability: High-quality sports guards are durable and can withstand regular use. Custom guards, in particular, are made from sturdy materials, providing long-lasting protection.
  • Optimal Performance: Athletes often perform better when they’re confident and comfortable. Wearing a sports guard can provide peace of mind and allow athletes to concentrate on their game without worrying about dental injuries.
  • Hygienic: Sports guards are easy to clean and maintain. Proper care ensures that they remain effective and free from bacteria or odors.

Why You Should Avoid Boil and Bite Sports Guards

While it may be tempting to choose convenience and affordability, opting for boil-and-bite sports guards may not be in your best interest when it comes to safeguarding your oral health during physical activities. There are several compelling reasons to avoid these one-size-fits-all, over-the-counter options:

Limited Protection

Boil-and-bite sports guards offer limited protection compared to custom-made mouthguards. They may not provide a secure fit, leaving gaps that can compromise their effectiveness. In high-contact sports or activities, inadequate protection can lead to dental injuries and other health issues.

Inferior Fit

Boil-and-bite guards are often more uncomfortable and may obstruct breathing and communication. A poorly fitting mouthguard can cause facial pain and discomfort, making it less likely for athletes to wear them consistently.

Difficulty in Boiling and Shaping

The process of heating the mouth guard up and biting down to shape it to your teeth can be challenging. If not done correctly, it can result in an ill-fitting mouthguard that provides minimal protection and may even cause discomfort.

Shorter Lifespan

Boil-and-bite mouthguards have a shorter lifespan compared to custom-made guards. They’re more prone to wear and tear and may need frequent replacement, ultimately costing more over time.

Inadequate Shock Absorption

Boil-and-bite guards may not offer the same level of shock absorption as custom guards, potentially increasing the risk of dental injuries and concussions during contact sports.

Hygiene Concerns

Over time, boil-and-bite mouthguards can become breeding grounds for bacteria due to their porous materials. Proper hygiene can be challenging, potentially leading to unpleasant odors and oral health issues.

For the most reliable protection and optimal oral health during sports and physical activities, we strongly recommend investing in a custom-made sports guard crafted by a dental professional. These guards provide a secure, comfortable fit and offer superior protection, ensuring peace of mind while you enjoy your chosen sport.

The Custom Mouthguard Process


The first step in obtaining a custom mouthguard is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Garger. During this appointment, you will discuss the reasons for needing a mouthguard such as protection during sports or athletic activities, managing teeth, grinding teeth (bruxism), or for the treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Dr. Garger will assess your oral health and recommend the appropriate type of mouthguard based on your specific needs.

Impressions or Digital Scanning

If a custom mouthguard is recommended, the next step is to create a mold of your teeth. This can be done using traditional dental impressions or digital scanning technology. For traditional impressions, a putty-like material is pressed into your mouth to capture the shape of your teeth. Alternatively, digital scanning involves using a handheld scanner to create a 3D model of your teeth. Dr. Garger will choose the method that best suits your situation.

Custom Design

Once the impressions or digital scan is complete, Dr. Garger sends the data to a dental lab where the custom mouthguard is designed. The lab will use the mold or digital model to create a mouthguard that fits your teeth perfectly. The design can also incorporate additional features such as extra cushioning for comfort or added protection.


The dental lab manufactures the custom mouthguard based on the design specifications. The material used is typically a durable, FDA-approved plastic that can withstand the intended use. The mouthguard is fabricated to custom fit the exact dimensions of your teeth and gums for maximum comfort and protection.


Once the custom mouthguard is ready, you will return to Gentle Family Dentistry for a fitting. Your Bakersfield dentist will ensure that the mouthguard fits properly and make any necessary adjustments for comfort and effectiveness. He’ll also provide you with instructions on how to wear and care for the mouthguard.

Regular Check-Ups

During your routine dental check-ups, Dr. Garger will assess the condition of your custom mouthguard and make any necessary adjustments or replacements if it shows signs of wear and tear. It’s crucial to have your mouthguard checked periodically to ensure it continues to provide optimal protection.

Mouthguard Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your mouthguard is vital to ensure it serves its intended purpose effectively and lasts as long as possible. By following these care guidelines, you can keep your mouthguard clean, hygienic, and comfortable:

  • Rinse After Use: After wearing your mouthguard, rinse it thoroughly with cold water. This helps remove debris and saliva, preventing bacterial growth.
  • Brush Gently: Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and mild soap to clean the mouthguard. Avoid abrasive toothpaste or harsh chemicals that can damage the material.
  • Air Dry: Allow your mouthguard to air dry thoroughly before storing it. Moisture can promote bacterial growth, so ensure it’s completely dry before storage.
  • Store Properly: Keep your mouthguard in a well-ventilated case when not in use. Avoid placing it in an airtight container, which can trap moisture and encourage bacteria.
  • Protect from Heat: Avoid exposing your mouthguard to high temperatures, such as direct sunlight or hot water. Heat can distort the shape of the mouthguard, compromising its fit.
  • Inspect Regularly: Periodically inspect your mouthguard for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, sharp edges, or deterioration. If you notice any damage, contact your dentist for replacement.
  • Replace as Needed: The lifespan of mouthguards can vary, but they may need replacement due to wear and changes in your dental structure. Regular dental check-ups allow Dr. Garger to assess your mouthguard’s condition and recommend a replacement when necessary.
  • Keep Away from Pets: Pets are often attracted to the scent of mouthguards, so make sure to keep them out of their reach to avoid damage.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Learn More About Mouthguards and Night Guards, Call Today!

Gentle Family Dentistry is here to help you protect your smile while you’re sleeping or playing. Call our Bakersfield dental office at 661-664-9900 or fill out and submit the online contact form below. We serve new and returning patients from Bakersfield and surrounding areas such as Gosford, Alameda, and Lakeview, CA. Discover how custom mouthguards can keep your smile healthy!

Gentle Family Dentistry

9900 Stockdale Hwy.
Suite 201
Bakersfield, CA 93311

Office Hours

8am – 5pm
8am – 1pm *every other Friday