We strive to provide the most accurate information possible. You should know that some individuals will require a specific custom night guard type that must be made through a dentist to treat various issues such as jaw alignment, TMJ, teeth misalignment, etc). A licensed dentist will be able to evaluate and determine which night guard (dental guard) type is best suited for your needs. The dental guards suggested for use in this article are basic night guards for teeth grinding and jaw clenching (bruxing) or to protect your new veneers/crowns/bridges etc, or to be worn as an anti-aging device.
5 Reasons NOT to Pay a Dentist to Make Your Custom Dental Night Guard
As if our society isn’t in enough debt, it’s everyday situations like these that make things even worse. People are applying for Care Credit (a medical credit card that allows you to make payments on your medical bill) for a custom fit night guard through their dentist. The average cost of these occlusal devices can be anywhere from $300-$1000 in a dental office. Online you can get them for as low as $80. What gives?
I was watching a documentary the other day that was filmed by Tom Shadyac (director of Ace Ventura) called “I Am” (if you get a chance watch it! good stuff) and it touched on something that I found myself thinking about over and over. Tom talked about how nature only takes what it needs and how we ,as humans, get into this mindset of “we need more”. Why is it that some people have more than enough while others are struggling to get by?
On a larger scale, medical cost is a huge political issue (and since I am just a tiny person) for the purpose of this article, I’m not going to try to tackle that giant. Maybe later. Right now, I just want to tap on a speck..a teeny tiny microscopic dot amongst a big giant blob of a problem.
The dentist and his night guards.
So below are five top reasons why you should not let a dentist make your night guard for clenching or teteh grinding (unless ,of course, you can talk him down to a reasonable price).
1. You can get your night guard through an online dental lab for way less
Let’s cut straight to it. The #1 reason is because you can get the same exact product through an online dental lab.
There is no difference in the material used to make the guard, the process, nunna that! Do not think you are getting a better quality guard through a dentist because you were duped into paying for it. It’s a sham. A ruse. A subterfuge. Whether you’re dealing with nighttime or daytime jaw clenching, teeth grinding, wanting to protect your new veneers or you bite your tongue at night, a lab made occlusal night guard will protect your teeth from physical harm. In fact, even if you go through a dentist, he/she will most likely either have their dental assistant make the guard in office or they will send it off to a dental lab and the lab fees for the dentist are most often less than a quarter of what the dentist is going to turn around and charge you.
*pro tip: avoid the urge to buy cheap walmart night guards. These types rarely last more than 6 months. They’re uncomfortable. They don’t stay in place at night and can even worsen your bruxism.
2. No guarantee
Most dental offices offer no replacement warranty or satisfaction guarantee.
Let’s say you pay $500 for a night guard. You then go spend the weekend at Aunt Bernie’s house in the Hamptons (bear with the scenario will you? We like to paint pictures.) You wear your new night guard like you’re supposed to. You come back home and realize HOLY CRAP! You left that $500 piece of royal plastic in the guest bathroom! You call her. That old bat can’t find your prized possession anywhere! You call your dentist. He offers to make you a new one at a discounted price (since he already has your stone mold of your teeth). How gracious. You shell out another $250 for a brand new night guard. Now, a dental lab isn’t going to just give you a free guard if you lose yours BUT they usually will give you a discount and since you got the guard at a reasonable cost in the first place, it won’t feel like getting a dagger to the heart. What if you receive your night guard and simply can’t get used to it? Good luck getting a dentist to remake your appliance or work with you to find the right type of night guard for you. Switching to a different material or type of night guard? Forget about it! Most of the time you will hear these words “Go home. Wear it for a few hours at a time. Take it out. Give your teeth a little rest and try it again. You will get used to it.” Also, if you go home and start wearing your night guard and then realize it’s too uncomfortable, some dental offices will charge you to adjust your night guard. As Vizzini from ‘The Princess Bride’ would say “Inconceivable!”.
One of the great things about our company, Sentinel Mouthguards, is that we will work with you to make sure that you ultimately end up with the right night guard for you. This includes trying a different material type (example: customer ordered a hard night guard but has issues getting used to the hard material and wants to try the soft type instead).
3. Insurance probably will not cover you
9 times out of 10 the night guard is not covered by your insurance.
This needs no further explanation. Good luck getting your insurance to cover even a portion of your night guard and why should they? Insurance companies shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for something that is non-invasive, not terribly time consuming, and pretty inexpensive to make & neither should you! Also, if you have ever been confused by your own dental insurance plan (you’re not alone) here is an excellent Reddit thread that breaks down how your dental insurance works compared to regular medical insurance. https://www.reddit.com/r/Dentistry/comments/178lwm/dental_insurance/
4. Your night guard is being made by someone other than your dentist.
The dentist does not make your night guard.
Nope. I know, I know. Crushed right?? I mean, if I’m paying several hundred dollars for a professionally made custom fit occlusal guard, I want my dentist to be back in the lab constructing and cutting and polishing and doing everything else I imagine he should be doing to make my perfect fitting appliance. Instead, he sends the impression(s) (that most often HE didn’t take. I’ll bet my last dollar a dental assistant took your dental impression) off to a dental lab or relies on his trusty assistant to make it. In fact, even when your impression is sent off to a lab, the dental lab it is being sent to makes many other appliances and does not specialize in night guard creation alone. They’re a busy lab. They’re busy creating far more expensive and intricate appliances such as dentures, partials, flippers, crowns and bridges. Most often, the night guard is low on their to do list. It’s quick to make and they don’t take the time because they know it’s going to go through the dentist and the dentist will tweak and adjust your new night guard. However, as many of our customers can attest, many dentists can’t seem to get the fit perfect and send you on your way hoping you will “just get used to it.”
Side note: We care. We are a specialized night guard, teeth whitening and athletic mouth guard lab only. We take the time to trim, polish, and make sure your night guard is fitting expertly well before shipping.
5. You can take your dental impression yourself.
You are perfectly capable of taking your own dental impression.
We are talking about a plastic tray and some putty that resembles play dough. You mix the putty up, place it in the tray and submerge your teeth. That’s it! It’s not rocket science. If it was, dental assistants all over the world would be struggling daily.
As a matter of fact, in a dental office setting, alginate is used to take your dental impression. Alginate is a powdery matter that when mixed with water becomes goopy. The goopy material can drip back into the throat invoking the gag reflex. This sometimes causes much discomfort to the patient as the assistant has to leave the impression in until the impression hardens. The putty is a far better choice. It provides clearer, more accurate results. It’s easier to use and patient-friendly. So why don’t dental offices use the dental putty instead of the alginate? Cost of course! They can get a big bucket of the alginate powder for much cheaper than the expensive putty!
Tip when ordering online: Read the directions carefully when taking your own dental impression. Do not take your own dental impression if you have loose teeth or loose dental work. Do not take your own dental impression if you have braces. That would be a terrible idea. If you mess up your dental impression for whatever reason, a reputable online night guard lab will send you a new kit free of charge. We use disposable dental impression trays unlike most dentists who clean and reuse the alginate trays time and time again. The plastic alginate trays can go in cold sterile but not an autoclave. Some dental assistants forget to rinse the plastic alginate trays after removing from cold sterile. Ever had cold sterile solution in your mouth? YIKES! You can rest assured that your mail order dental impression kit from Sentinel Mouthguard Co. will come with brand new disposable trays.
Interested in ordering?
Your most common questions answered:
“How does it work?”
First, decide which night guard type is right for you. One common question we’re asked is which thickness to choose. The 2mm thickness is the most frequent choice. Just to give you a reference point, 2mm is about the thickness of a nickle coin. If you’re a heavy grinder you may need a more durable 3mm night guard (available in soft only). The 1mm is very thin and typically recommended for daytime use. Remember, any of our guards will serve the function of protecting your teeth from the damages associated with teeth grinding and jaw clenching. These two articles will help guide you further:
Dental Night Guard Thickness: Which To Choose?
Hard, Soft, or Dual Laminated Night Guard: Which is right for me?
Once your order has been placed, you will receive a do-it-yourself dental impression kit. This kit contains two plastic trays (choose which one fits best), blue and white putty paks, instructions, and a prepaid return mailer.
Taking your dental impression is EASY! Check out our “how to” video. Upon receipt of your dental impression, we will make your custom appliance within 8-12 business days. That’s it!
“What if I don’t take my dental impression correctly?”
We will mail a redo impression kit to you free of charge.
“What if my night guard does not fit correctly?”
Keep in mind that the Sentinel warranty and return policy is unlike any other. We stand by our products and will always work with you to your absolute satisfaction. This means that if you are dissatisfied with your product for any reason, you can either contact Sentinel within 90 days for a full refund or opt to continue working with us until you get a great fitting guard. Our commitment to you is 100% satisfaction.
“I LOVE the bite guard you just made 🙂 It fits perfectly and stays in place! I want another just like it. How do I reorder?”
We keep all impressions on file for two years from the purchase date. Place a new order.
Be sure to use coupon code already stoned to receive 20% off your order. Upon receipt of new order we will pull your existing dental impression on file and get to work!
Cleaning Your Dental Night Guard
Have you ever seen a really old night guard? A woman on the phone told me the other day her daughter calls her “meth mouth” when she puts her night guard in at night because of the yellow and brownish stains that have permeated her once clear appliance. She confessed that she wasn’t the best at taking care of it. Often times, she would simply remove it in the morning and leave it on her sink without even rinsing. Saliva filled, this is where it would sit all day and evening until she quickly rinsed and placed it in her mouth at night before bed. She was so excited to be purchasing a new, shiny clear guard.
It is true that over the years of constant nightly use, a night guard can begin to discolor no matter what lengths you go to to keep it clean. Still, daily cleaning and a weekly denture cleaning solution soak can keep your night guard sparkling for far longer than if you didn’t implement a proper daily regimen.
To clean: Take a soft toothbrush and squirt a bit of mild, organic soap onto the brush. Scrub each tooth compartment thoroughly. Don’t forget the front and sides of the guard. Rinse all of the soap off of the appliance. This next step is imperative. Take a soft towel and dry your night guard completely. Sitting water or saliva or a combo of both can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Moldy spots can appear and/or yellowing & browning overtime. If your night guard was made using a fusion of layers, the layers can separate if left in water.
What about a denture soak? Yes you can do a quick 2-5 minutes soak once a week or two. Don’t soak overnight. REMEMBER TO RINSE AND DRY ENTIRELY.
So there ya have it folks
Many consumers tell us that they have ordered a night guard from their dentist only to be disappointed in the fit and/or usefulness and/or ability to wear it comfortably at night. If you do decide to cough up the cash and pay a dentist you should know that he/she should work with you to your complete satisfaction. It’s one of the perks of going through a dentist. That is, the ability to get your night guard adjusted to your exact specifications if needed.
If you have started looking into the subject of bruxism and you’re trying to understand nighttime teeth grinding/jaw clenching, you’ve probably already noticed some real inconsistencies and downright contradictions out there. The NTI night guard ,for example, is controversial in its usefulness and effectiveness. Some even say the small device is dangerous (because of the potential to swallow piece during sleep). Yet it’s popular. Some dentists ONLY make the NTI guard in their office(s). Here’s a good community forum where real people are talking about using the NTI device.
TMJ is a twisted issue. Everyone is different and dental anatomy, habits and pathology vary widely from person to person. As stated in the note at the beginning of this article this subject is not black and white. You may very well have to go through some trial and error to gain control of your bruxism and/or TMJ. There may be some reasons why you should let your dentist make your night guard. Pay attention to what your dentist tells you. Be proactive and seek to understand your disorder. Make changes in your lifestyle to lessen the severity or intensity of the grinding/clenching.
More 2018 Frequently Asked Night Guard Questions. Answered.
Q: How do I know if I’m grinding my teeth at night?
A: A dentist can tell whether or not you are grinding or clenching your teeth either through observable wear and/or tiny fracture lines or through x ray. Other common ways of learning you do grind or clench your teeth include a partner hearing you, waking up with continuous teeth/facial pain, scalloped tongue, and flattened teeth.
Q: My dentist says I do but I’m pretty sure he’s wrong. My wife doesn’t hear me and she’s a light sleeper.
A: Dentists can see a lot of things you can’t. When you do grind, it only happens in short bursts; it’s not all night. Each instance may only last for 30 seconds to a minute. You may well sleep with your mouth open 90% of the night (doubtful), but still grind the heck out of your teeth during the 10%.
Q: Okay but do I really have to wear a night guard while I sleep?
A: Wearing a night guard is a preventative measure and can relieve a lot of the aching facial/headache pain that is often associated with night bruxing. Dental procedures are very costly and if you’re trying to avoid major restorative work (whether it be short term or long term) wearing your night guard is a good idea.
Q: But how am I going to get used to wearing it?
A: At Sentinel Mouthguards, we take comfort into big consideration because we want you to actually wear your appliance. On our shopping site, we give customers an option to choose your own thickness based on your needs and comfort level. If you absolutely cannot stand the idea of wearing a night guard, a thin or ultra thin night guard will be an easy transition and yes, any foreign object that is in the mouth feels well…foreign at first but the good news is, you will adapt to sleeping with it in. A custom mouth guard is far superior to over the counter “one size fits all” types so you’re already ahead of many by choosing to go the custom route. Many of our customers claim that they now gotten so used to wearing a night guard, that they cannot sleep WITHOUT their night guard in. Imagine that!
Q: How do I know which night guard to choose?
A: Ask your dentist which night guard type he plans to make you. Hard material? Soft? A combination of both? How thick is he planning to make it? Additionally, this article will offer some guidance in choosing the right night guard type for you: http://sentinelmouthguards.com/night-guard-soft-hard-acrylic-dual-laminated-type-right/
Q: My dentist didn’t tell me how thick the night guard he intends to make me would be. I have no idea what thickness to choose?
A: As far as thickness goes–the thicker the guard, the more durable it will be however a thicker guard also feels bulkier in the mouth. A thinner guard will be more comfortable but may wear down quicker.
This article will help guide you as well: http://sentinelmouthguards.com/dental-night-guard-thickness-which-to-choose/
Q:Okay, what happens if my guard does wear down quickly? Is there any warranty?
A: Keep in mind that the Sentinel warranty and return policy is unlike any other. We stand by our products and will always work with you to your absolute satisfaction. This means that if you are dissatisfied with your product for any reason, you can either contact Sentinel within 90 days for a full refund or opt to continue working with us until you get a great fitting guard. Our commitment to you is 100% satisfaction.
Q: How long do the night guards typically last?
A: The durability and longevity of a night guard can vary greatly depending on type/quality of material, an individuals’ grinding/clenching habits, how well the night guard is cleaned/taken care of etc. Most high quality, custom night guards last anywhere from 2-7 years.
Q: Okay what about taking my own dental impression. I’m worried I’ll mess it up. How do you do it?
A: First off, do not use the impression system if you have braces, loose teeth, loose dental work, etc. Sentinel Mouthguard Co. is not liable for any damages resulting from the use of the putty system. Seriously, putty and braces do not mix. Also, putty and loose teeth don’t mix unless you want those teeth to wind up outside of your mouth. In that case, it’s more effective than the tooth, string, door handle method.
Taking your own dental impression is EASY (and you do not need to pay a dentist hundreds of dollars to do it). We will send you a plastic tray, dental putty, & a pre-paid envelope to mail back to us. You need to have a timer, clean hands, & good solid teeth.
If you do mess up your dental impression the first time, no worries! We will send a new dental impression kit to you free of charge. Here is an article with instructions that will help: http://sentinelmouthguards.com/about/how-it-works/
Q: I have TMJ. My jaw and bite are misaligned from clenching. I now have an over bite. Can a night guard help?
A: It is possible that a night guard can help but we don’t recommend buying one online if you have TMJ. You should seek treatment from your dentist.If he/she says you need to wear a custom made guard, you may need a more complex type that involves setting your jaw in a certain position to correct the jaw misalignment. These types of guards are typically far more expensive than the traditional custom night guards for bruxism.
Q: My dentist tells me that I need a night guard because I’m grinding my teeth. My bottom wisdom teeth are growing in and I’m worried about making a custom one and then having to get a new one in a few months because my wisdom teeth are fully grown in. Does the night guard cover the wisdom teeth?
A: The custom night guards do not extend all the way back to your wisdom teeth unless you specifically request this extension.
Q: Does your company do day guards as well? Or no?
A: We do! We can make a thin hard night guard (choose 1mm). This is typically what is called a “day guard” or it can be used for a light nighttime grinder/clencher.
For your convenience, here is the link: http://sentinelmouthguards.com/shop-sentinel-mouthguards/night-guards/sentinel-hard-acrylic-night-guard-040/
Again, choose 1mm for daytime
Q: I previously ordered a night guard from another company. My nightguard is already yellowed and I’m trying to figure out how to get it less so. It was never clear as in your pictures. It was whitish. How do I clean it? Can I reverse the yellowing?
Clean it daily with a mild soap and soft toothbrush & remember to dry thoroughly in between uses. Keeping it dry makes a huge difference in the condition of your guard. Now, if it already has an odor and/or is yellowing it may be difficult to reverse it but you might try to soak it in a denture cleaner such as Insta-Fresh or Smile Again. This may pull some of the yellowing out. It is good practice to do a soak once a week in combination with the daily cleaning with a mild soap and a soft tooth brush. Remember to keep your guard DRY and store it in its retainer case between uses. More on this here: http://sentinelmouthguards.com/night-guard-care-cleaning-maintenance-clean-night-guard/
Q: If I order a night guard and the fit isn’t right what are my options??
A: You can return it for a refund or we will continue to work with you to your satisfaction.
Q: What happens if I wear the night guard for a few months and then need to have a filling put in?
A: Something very small like a small filling probably won’t change your dental anatomy enough to cause an ill fit. However, if you’re getting a new crown, bridge work, implants, extractions- that may cause an ill fit. In that case, you would need to order a new Nightguard and take a brand new dental impression.
Q: Would I have to pay for the new guard or would it be a replacement?
A: If your guard becomes defective for any reason or you wear through your guard we will replace it for free. However, if you received dental work that causes your dental anatomy to change and as a result your Nightguard is not wearable you would be responsible for purchasing a new guard.
Q: I’m looking at the site. Why is one of the questions when ordering the guard if I am a male or female?
A:When we send the impression kit out we send a couple of different plastic tray sizes for you to try in. You choose which one fits best to take your dental impression. If you’re a female we send a medium and small tray. If you’re a male we send a large and medium tray.
Q: Okay. If I place the order today, when can i expect to receive the guard?
A: We ship USPS first class. If you place the order before 5pm eastern time today we will get the kit shipped to you today. USPS First Class mail says to allow 2-10 days for delivery. Usually takes no more than 5 days. Upon receipt of your dental impression we ask to allow 3-7 business days to make your guard. The entire process from start to finish typically takes 3 to 4 weeks. We do offer an expedited service that includes ALL INCLUSIVE Priority mail shipping + 2 business day lab processing time. The cost for this service is $70 and can be added to your cart at checkout.
Please let us know if our Q& A is helpful! If you would like leave feedback or add additional questions of your own to this list, simply comment below and we will continue to update and provide answers.
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