Over 20% of U.S. adults wake up with face and neck pain, struggle with moving their jaw, and deal with worn-down or cracked molars. The culprit? Bruxism, or the unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth, usually while sleeping.
While night guards do not cure bruxism, they can stop the damage and pain it causes. And mail-order options make protecting your teeth and jaw more affordable. Cheeky lets you get regular night guard deliveries with their annual subscription option, but are they the right company for you? This review covers all the details you need to decide.
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How Do Night Guards Work?
Clenching and grinding your teeth creates or exacerbates a wide variety of health issues — and not just those localized to the mouth. From neck, shoulder, and ear pain to general fatigue throughout the day, there are many side effects of chronic bruxism. But how do night guards control this habit?
First, they prevent the upper teeth from directly contacting the lower ones, preventing them from grinding against each other and wearing down the teeth. Even if you still grind your teeth, the guard will take damage instead of your smile.
Second, they place 1–3 millimeters of plastic between the teeth, keeping the bite slightly open and reducing stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). So, even if you continue to clench against the guard, that slight openness can reduce or eliminate many of the symptoms it causes.
To get the most out of your night guard, you need to make sure you get the right one for you — but which is best depends on your level of bruxism and your preferences. Most companies offer at least two models with different levels of thickness, and some sell up to six different types. To help you start thinking about your perfect night guard, here are the four primary types:
- Soft Night Guard: Flexible and slightly gummy to the bite, they are comfortable and good for light grinding and clenching. Usually, they are around three millimeters thick.
- Single-Layer Hard Night Guard: Commonly called the retainer-style night guard, these guards are made from one layer of rigid plastic. They are best for mild clenching and grinding and usually one millimeter thick.
- Dual Laminate Night Guard: This night guard combines two different materials — a harder outer shell and a soft inner layer — to balance rigidity with flexibility. It is good for moderate clenching and grinding and usually three millimeters thick.
- Hard Flexible Night Guard: Severe bruxism is best addressed with the hard flexible night guard. The material is less gummy than the soft guard but still flexible enough for comfort. It is typically three millimeters thick.
No matter which night guard type you get, you will need to replace it now and then. Always inspect your night guard for cracks or tears before wearing it.
Is Cheeky a Good Option? Our Perspective
Cheeky is our number-five choice for the best mail-order night guards. They’re a solid company that offers some pretty clear advantages, like accepting insurance and offering customization. But they’re not perfect. Here are the primary advantages and disadvantages to keep in mind.
- Accepts Insurance: Pretty much all night guard companies are HSA and FSA eligible, but nearly none directly accept insurance. In fact, Cheeky is the only company we reviewed that says they’ll work directly with your insurance company.
- Solid Money-Back Guarantee: They don’t offer many details on their guarantee, but what they do say is promising: you’re either happy or you get your money back.
- Offers Discounts on Additional Products: If you buy Cheeky night guards, you get 20% off all other items you purchase at the same time. They have a whitening kit, electric toothbrush, and water flossers.
- Customization: Cheeky lets you set the thickness of your guard if you choose their soft model. This lets you choose the ideal model for your comfort while also addressing symptoms of bruxism.
- New Night Guards Every Three Months: This could be an advantage, depending on your perspective. However, we think this is too frequent for most people. You can request less frequent shipments, but Cheeky pushes quarterly replacement.
- Less Guidance: Most providers have a guide or a quiz that helps you figure out the right night guard model and thickness for your level of bruxism. Cheeky doesn’t, so if you aren’t a seasoned night guard user, you may need to do some research first.
- Just Two Models: Usually, companies will offer 3–4 different night guard models, and some have up to six. Cheeky only has two. You can customize the thickness of their soft guard, but if you need a hard night guard, you get no choice.
Who Is a Good Match for Cheeky?
If you want to use your insurance benefits, prefer a subscription-based service, or want a solid discount on other oral health products, Cheeky could be an excellent fit. However, if you want variety or need a little hand-holding as you enter the world of night guards, you might be better off with another provider.
Quality is the universal must-have feature for night guards. If it doesn’t help reduce the symptoms of your bruxism, it’s not a good investment. Fortunately, Cheeky offers high-quality night guards.
Cheeky was founded in 2018, giving them plenty of experience.
While that hardly makes it an old company, most of their competitors are several years younger. This means they have had more time to fine-tune their processes and learn from their mistakes, and they apply this knowledge when creating their high-quality products.
While they suggest you replace your night guards every three months, you can extend this timeline as needed.
And you probably will want to. Cheeky night guards are pretty solid and rarely wear down in just three months’ time. In fact, in their FAQs, they say the reason to replace them so frequently isn’t about wear and tear, but cleanliness. Our opinion? Delay your next shipment and just do a deeper clean once a week.
You can select the right material and thickness of your Cheeky night guards based on how your bruxism presents.
There are two material choices: soft and hard. Soft night guards are more comfortable and especially good for those who clench their teeth. If you grind more than you clench, you might be better with the hard night guard.
Cheeky’s hard guard only comes in a 0.76-millimeter thickness. The lack of customization might feel disappointing, but this is notably the thinnest night guard we’ve come across, making it unobtrusive and excellent for daytime wear. If you choose the soft guard, you can set the thickness to 1.5, 2, or 3 millimeters.
They use established dental-grade materials.
Cheeky produces their soft guards from a highly flexible thermoplastic and their hard guards from dental acrylic. In either case, the material is BPA-free, latex-free, and phthalate-free — all things you want in dental plastics.
Price is a big draw for mail-order night guards. But while they can save you hundreds over their in-office competitors, some brands are more affordable than others. Overall, Cheeky offers pretty solid value.
Cheeky gives you the choice between a night guard subscription and a one-time purchase.
If you go with their subscription service, you pay $219 every twelve months ($54.75 per guard) and your night guards ship once per quarter.
If you prefer to make a one-time purchase, you can get a Cheeky night guard for just $139. While this is quite a bit more than you pay per guard with a subscription, you might find that you don’t need to replace your guard every three months. In fact, night guards can last a year or more. Depending on your level of bruxism and how well you take care of your night guards, you might be able to replace yours every 1–5 years, making a one-time purchase the better value.
They offer seasonal discounts on top of 20% off other products when you purchase them with night guards.
Their seasonal discounts are excellent deals, frequently offering 30% off all products around holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day. Just keep in mind that these discounts can be easy to miss; sometimes, their pop-ups don’t function, so check the very top of the page to see if there’s a discount listed.
If there isn’t a sale, you can still get 20% off other items with the purchase of a night guard. In addition to their guards, they sell whitening kits, electric toothbrushes, and water flossers. You can buy these individually or in a bundle for $168. While you don’t need them to wear a night guard, you are already focusing on improving your oral health, and these extras boost those efforts.
While most companies accept HSA/FSA funds, Cheeky accepts insurance directly.
Life is busy. You don’t want using a night guard to complicate it. Sure, it will add a few steps to your day, but you don’t want anything you have to stress over, and even though Cheeky’s guards are pretty easy to use, they’re not quite as convenient as some of their peers.
As with other mail-order night guards, the hardest part is taking your impressions.
We’re going to level with you: taking your own dental impressions can be difficult. Unless you are a dental technician or have needed to take impressions of your own teeth a lot in the past (we’d love to hear that story), expect a learning curve. But this is not unique to Cheeky. And they try to make it easier for you with their video tutorial.
Customizing is a little difficult since they don’t have a quiz.
If you are new to night guards, it can be hard to figure out the best model for you. Cheeky doesn’t have a lot of options, but you might be torn between the hard and soft guards, plus the soft guard’s thickness options.
Many companies have quizzes or guides that help you find the ideal combination of material and thickness for your needs. Cheeky doesn’t, so you have to do your own research to make an informed decision.
Luckily, they make it easy to change your night guard preferences.
If you aren’t happy with your night guard’s design, thickness, or even the arch you wear it on, no problem! Just contact Cheeky and request a change. Your next night guard will reflect your preferences. And if you start by buying a single night guard, you can switch to the subscription at any time.
Keeping up with your Cheeky subscription might get tricky.
Part of the appeal of a subscription-based service is that you set it and forget it. But this isn’t always how things work out. Being able to change your subscription is a bonus, but getting it done requires some back and forth with the customer service team. By the time everything is settled, it might be too late to make the change for your next guard.
Luckily, Cheeky makes skipping shipments easy. Instead of contacting customer service, just log into your account, click the “manage subscription” tab, and select “skip this shipment.” You can also unsubscribe on the same page.
Cheeky production and shipping are fairly fast.
Once you place your order, your impression kit arrives in 3–5 business days. Take your impressions the day you get the kit and ship them to Cheeky, which should also take 3–5 business days. Once they have your impressions, they will make your guard within 5–7 business days, then it’s another 3–5 business days for shipping. So most people receive their guards in less than three weeks.
Every smile is unique, and so is every case of bruxism. Some people need thick, flexible night guards while others need thin, firm ones. A good experience rests on being able to get the right fit for your needs — and Cheeky offers slightly fewer options than their competitors.
Cheeky offers both soft and hard night guards.
This means you get a bit of variety — but not nearly as much as their competitors. Most will offer at least a hybrid option in addition to these two. Having so few options keeps things simple, but we think that most customers would prefer a greater choice in their guards.
You get to set the thickness of Cheeky’s soft night guards based on your needs.
Unfortunately, you don’t get a choice with their hard night guards. These strictly come in 0.76-millimeter thickness. This is great if you want an unobtrusive night guard or one for daytime wear, but it isn’t ideal for severe bruxism.
With the soft guard, you get three choices: 1.5 millimeters, two millimeters, and three millimeters. The thinnest is best for mild bruxism, the two-millimeter option idea for moderate cases, and the three-millimeter thickness for those with severe clenching and grinding.
Cheeky also offers additional products that can help round out your oral healthcare routine.
Cheeky’s core product is their night guards, but that’s not all they offer. They also sell whitening kits, electric toothbrushes, and water flossers. While you might not need these, they help round out your oral healthcare routine.
While a quality night guard is at the center of a positive customer experience, there are plenty of small details that round it out. From satisfaction guarantees to the helpfulness of the support team, Cheeky often leaves customers feeling positive about their experience.
While they have limited availability, the customer support team is friendly and helpful.
To be honest, we aren’t sure what their hours of availability are. However, most times we reached out, we got a message saying they’d be back in the next 1–3 hours. Usually, we received a response around 10–11 am CT and their support team was friendly and answered all our questions.
They back their night guards with a 100% money-back guarantee.
According to Cheeky, if you are not happy, you get all your money back. They don’t specify the length of this coverage, though — which might be because most of the time, you need to replace their guards every three months. You need to ship your guard back to them to receive your refund.
If you run into issues, Cheeky works to correct them.
In most cases, you won’t need your money back because Cheeky is dedicated to making things right. If you contact them regarding issues like fit and comfort, they’ll send you an impression kit and then make a new guard. And if it’s still not perfect, they’ll keep working with you until it is.
Best Alternatives to Cheeky
Chomper Labs goes farther than most other brands to ensure quality and satisfaction. Their Perfect Fit Promise guarantees a well-fitting guard, while their 100-Day Guarantee provides full refunds within the first 100 days and their Grind-Free Warranty replaces broken guards in the first six months.
They offer four different models, manufactured with various materials and varying thicknesses. They’re not the cheapest option out there, but we think their dedication to quality and customer support is well worth it.
$45–$65 every three months (or $135-$155 with a one-time purchase)
Another subscription-based service, ClearClub offers some of the lowest prices per guard on the market today. They also give you five different models to choose from — though most only have aesthetic differences — and you can customize the thickness on some. They strictly use FDA-approved, non-allergenic, latex-free, and BPA-free materials and back their guards with a 60-day 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Pro Teeth Guard
If you want professional quality without professional prices, Pro Teeth Guard is for you. They started as a company that strictly worked with dentists. Now, they have two arms: one that still works with dental offices and another that sells directly to consumers. They offer four different models and back them with the best guarantee in the industry: if you aren’t 100% satisfied at the end of 60 days, they will refund you 110% of the cost.
If you want to play Goldilocks and find the night guard that’s just right, Sporting Smiles gives you the most options with six different models. And unlike ClearClub, all models have functional differences between them, either in material, cut, or thickness. They also digitize their impressions, letting you avoid taking more as long as you order a new night guard every year.
Is Cheeky Right for You?
Cheeky is an excellent company for anyone who wants a subscription-based service, low prices, and the option to purchase extra oral care products. Their guarantees are solid and their customer support is helpful and knowledgeable. While they have their shortcomings — most notably, a lack of variety — chances are you’ll still love your Cheeky experience.
Cheeky has plenty going for it, but what if it isn’t the right fit for you? Just check out our other four picks for the best mail-order night guards!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I wear a night guard on just one arch or both?
The standard is to wear a guard on a single arch — usually the upper one since it causes less irritation. Wearing two guards at once isn’t prohibited, but it can be a bad idea. Basically, two thinner guards, totaling less than three millimeters in thickness combined, might be OK — though it doesn’t really provide any benefits. If you go with thicker guards, you can actually place additional stress on the jaw joint and worsen bruxism symptoms.
How do I get started with at-home night guards?
You start by choosing a provider, then placing your order. They’ll send you an impression kit, then you take molds of your teeth and ship them back. Based on these molds, your night guard will be made and then sent off to you.
Are night guards a TMJ cure?
TMJ disorders or complex. Night guards aren’t necessarily a cure, but a tool to manage your condition. However, depending on the nature of your TMJ, they might eliminate it by taking pressure off the jaw joints. But if your TMJ disorder is related to things like injuries or misalignment, night guards will only offer some help.
Is it bad if my night guard hurts my teeth?
Many people experience tenderness when they first get a guard since they fit snugly. Genuine pain could indicate that the guard is too tight and placing enough pressure on your teeth to move them. You might also be sucking the guard against the teeth, which can cause discomfort. This is more common with flexible guards than rigid ones.
How often do I need to clean my night guard?
Every time you remove it, you need to rinse it with mouthwash. Once a week, give it a deeper clean by using a soft-bristled brush with the mouthwash.
What will wearing a night guard do for me?
It depends on many factors — and they don’t end up working for everyone. However, they keep the teeth from touching, which should prevent dental damage and reduce stress on the jaw joints. This can reduce pain, improve the health of your teeth, and even stop things like gum disease from developing.
Can I wear my night guard during the day?
Yes! If you have daytime bruxism, a guard can help. Just look for thinner, retainer-style options. These will be more discreet and have less of an impact on your speech.
What signs indicate I have bruxism?
The following symptoms might mean you are clenching and grinding your teeth:
- Chronic pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, or ears.
- Popping sounds in the jaw joint.
- Frequent headaches.
- Sore muscles in the face, neck, and jaw.
- Daytime fatigue.
What causes bruxism?
There is no singular cause. Most people who do it have physical pain, anxiety, or both. There is also research indicating people with bruxism are more likely to have sensory processing disorders. However, many other factors, including general stress and jaw misalignment, can also contribute.
Is there a risk that my bruxism could get worse with a night guard?
It’s possible, but not likely. Some people find that they clench and grind harder against the guards than they did their own teeth. This can actually cause greater pain, even if the teeth are protected from damage. Switching to a different type of night guard usually fixes this.