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What Is a Gum Shield? | Sentinel Mouth Guards

The Gum Shield and its Importance

sentinel athletic mouth guard gum shield
Sentinel Athletic Mouth Guard in dark blue – $98.00 Custom Fit Gum Shield

Sometimes the English language is just downright confusing. Must we have 10 variations of the same word? Is there a difference between “mouth guard” and “gum shield”?

A gum shield is a protective appliance or device that is used to cover the teeth and gums. We hear dentists and hygienists stress the importance of maintaining our teeth and gums in our daily activities to ensure we remain fit to carry them out efficiently.

It’s called a gum shield because it shields the gums, lips, and teeth from the negative effects of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Gum shields also protect from injury in case of impact (if used in contact sports like wrestling, boxing, baseball, martial arts, gymnastics, softball, handball, hockey, skating, basketball, and football).

what is a gum shield
This device is fixed on the teeth of either the upper or lower jaw, or both. The gum shield, aka mouthguard, pads between the lower and upper teeth. This can also help reduce the risk of concussion, which may arise when the bottom jaw slams into the upper one, rattling the skull and causing a shock.

For these reasons, it’s always recommended that one should wear a properly fitted gum shield –and make sure that it extends to the molars, as it’s even more helpful this way.

It helps prevent tooth loss and/or lip biting too. Do not cut the ends of your mouthguard just to make it look like you have one in during games. If you find gum shields to be very uncomfortable, simply get a custom-made guard fitted to your dental anatomy and request for a thinner version. You can make these specific requests by ordering here. Make sure you type any details about your order into the comments section during checkout.

confusing english language

As mentioned above, we “the people”, like to make our own language confusing. As a result, the mouthguard is also known by other names; gum guard, gum shield, mouth piece, bite splint, bite plane, mouth protector, night guard, occlusion splint, teeth guard, dental guard, and teeth protector. Some of the names are more commonly used in a medical setting (such as occlusal splint and bite splint).

Mouth guards are worn to protect the teeth and the gums because of susceptible injury from teeth grinding and impact during sports. There exist some differences between gum shields for sports and bite splints for teeth grinding.

There are also several types of gum shields:

1. Boil & bite mouth protectors. These are made from thermoplastic material. One would first place them in hot water to soften them, then submerge them into their teeth, and by use of their finger and tongue, pressure the right-shaped guard around the teeth. These types can be purchased in many sporting good stores.

2. Stock mouth protectors. These are also sold at many sport good stores, but have already undergone preliminary shaping. They’re generally the least expensive type. They come ready-to-wear with no ability to conform to your teeth. Consumers usually complain a lot about this type of mouth guard. The most common complaints are: “too bulky”, “makes talking and breathing a challenge”, and “little can be done to adjust their fit”.
Their use is therefore not recommended by most dentists.

3. Custom-fitted mouth protectors. This type is designed according to an individual based on dentist’s instructions. The dentist first makes an impression of one’s teeth, then a mouth guard is designed according to the impression, using special materials.

This process is time consuming – with more is involved, making the procedure more expensive than any other mouth guard types. But, it provides the most protection and best comfort.

It’s the best mouth guard solution for teeth grinding as the durability is beyond comparable. There are two different machines used to create custom-fitted mouth protectors:
1) Vacuum form, custom-made gum shields. The use of this machine produces single layer mouth protectors. They offer more protection than the boil & bite type.
2) Pressure laminated, Custom-made mouth guards. This type of machine produces a multi-layer material for varying thicknesses and a tighter fit.

Here is more on the different types of sports mouthguards, and here’s another excellent article that explains the different types of night guards for teeth grinding.

Generally, gum shields cover ones upper teeth only, but most dentists will make them for the lower teeth as well.
A properly trained dentist can suggest the best mouth guard for you to to use.

An effective mouth guard should be long-lasting, easy to clean, comfortable, tear-resistant and should not interfere with one’s breathing or speech.

If you grind your teeth at night, a special gum shield type of dental appliance known as the nocturnal bite plate or bite splint may be designed for you to prevent tooth damage.

how long do dental night guards last?

What Is The Difference Between Bruxism and TMJ?

Disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can have many names. These include TMJ syndrome, TMJ dysfunction, and TMJ disorder, among others. Throughout this article, we’ll use these terms interchangeably. Regardless of the names, these conditions are often exacerbated by persistent teeth-grinding (bruxism). Before we talk more about TMJ problems, let’s review some background information about bruxism.

Definition | What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the involuntary or habitual grinding or clenching the teeth. “Sleep bruxism” (Bruxism that occurs during sleep) is a more pernicious variety. This is because damage from sleep bruxism is more challenging to detect, cure, and repair.

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Symptomatology | How do I know if I have bruxism?

This is an important question. It’s usually not difficult to determine if you suffer from teeth grinding. You may be conscious of grinding your teeth while it’s happening. If not (for example, if you suffer from sleep bruxism), then you may only become aware of the habit by its symptoms.

These include:

  • headaches
  • jaw pain
  • mouth pain
  • loose teeth
  • teeth sensitivity

Even seemingly-unrelated conditions like sinus inflammation can result indirectly from “trigger point” compression of facial nerves effected by bruxism.

Only a healthcare professional can diagnose a medical condition, so for safe measure, it is recommended that you seek the input of a dentist or other oral health diagnostician.

Epidemiology | How common is bruxism?

Bruxism is not universal, but it is not uncommon. Epidemiological data shows that 1 in 10 people suffer from bruxism in their lives.

Pathophysiology | What is the physiological mechanism of bruxism?

Specialists have not yet agreed upon the root cause of bruxism, nor is it certain that one primary trigger exists at all. But there are several distinct factors associated with bruxism. Individuals exposed to these risk factors are more likely to develop the condition.

Such risk factors include stress, diet, anatomy, and pharmacology.


A person’s stress level or stress response has wide-ranging health impacts. Some of these impacts can have serious consequences. Vascular and psychiatric diseases are some of the more common outcomes. Typical stressors include interpersonal relationships, work, finances, and general health, among others.


Nutritional deficiencies can negatively impact every bodily system, from digestion to circulation. When the body is strained by inadequate nourishment, a cascade of destructive, self-reinforcing reactions can occur. For example, a diet low in potassium can lead to muscle cramping, which can lead to pain, which can in turn lead to emotional tension. Emotional tension then leads to musculoskeletal tension, which further exacerbates the initial pain. If not treated, this cycle may continue until the patient is partially or completely incapacitated.

diet can affect teeth grinding

Dental Anatomy

Poor structural alignment of the teeth and jaws can result in an uneven bite. This means that the surface of the teeth come together in ways that are not conducive to efficient chewing. Such a condition can sometimes require increased effort and force during routine behaviors such as eating and chewing gum. When that happens, the afflicted individual is likely to experience the pain, discomfort, and dental damage associated with TMJ dysfunction and/or bruxism.


Just as poor nutrition can lead to myriad physiological consequences, so, too, can medicine, narcotics, and any other psycho-biological agents. In particular, substances that increase activation of the sympathetic nervous system should be carefully moderated. This sub-component of the larger nervous system is particularly sensitive to over-stimulation by way of coffee, sugar, tobacco, certain illicit substances (“uppers”), and some prescription medications.

Complications | Is bruxism serious?

As you may expect, bruxism can be quite serious if not treated with the right blend of interventional approaches.

For people who grind their teeth only occasionally, it is unlikely that significant damage or discomfort will occur. But for those who suffer from chronic or recurrent bruxism, it is vital that steps are taken to halt and counteract the possible complications. Methods to treat bruxism and control its damage generally include deliberate behavior modification (to reduce exposure to risk-factors) and custom-fit dental night guards meant to provide a protective barrier to the teeth, jaws, and the nearby structures, such as the tongue.

Without such measures in place, it is likely that a long-term “bruxer” will eventually develop a number of unpleasant symptoms. These symptoms can include wearing of the teeth, cracking of the teeth (craze lines), flattening of the teeth, headaches, ear pain, sleep disturbances, insomnia, painful aggravation of the facial nerves (most notably trigeminal neuralgia), tooth decay, inflamed and receding gums, and a cluster of troubling symptoms associated with the temporomandibular joint (where the jaw meets the skull). Many problems with this joint are grouped together and labeled as “TMJ syndrome”, “TMJ dysfunction”, “TMJ disorder”, etc. Much like bruxism, these conditions are not completely understood and documented, but they are strikingly common nonetheless.

Bruxism vs TMJ Dysfunction

 BruxismTMJ Dysfunction
Is a behavior?YesNo
Is one distinct condition?YesNo
Is caused by another condition?SometimesYes
Can be treated with a night guard?YesYes

This table summarized some of the conventional wisdom about teeth-grinding and TMJ dysfunction.

TMJ Syndrome

  • characteristic clicking and popping sound
  • associated with pain or discomfort in the juncture between the jaw and skull
  • usually felt and heard inside or in front of the ear
  • can be caused or exacerbated by bruxism

Ultrasound Therapy Used To Treat TMJ Syndrome

More About TMJ Syndromes

If you’ve spent a little time researching TMJ disorders, you may have noticed convoluted and even conflicting information. That’s because, as is the case with bruxism, TMJ disorders can present in a variety of ways. In addition, medical specialists, researchers, and patients are still discovering, correlating, and documenting the connections between the multitude of possible manifestations. Given this ever-increasing confluence of information, the traditional, singular epithet “TMJ syndrome” has been increasingly deprecated and superseded by the more general, plural form “TMJ syndromes”, along with other umbrella terms, most notably “TMJ dysfunction” and “TMJ disorder”.

These syndromes are generally recognized by a characteristic clicking or popping sound and an associated pain or discomfort in the juncture between the jaw and skull (again, the temporomandibular joint, so-named for its anatomical role as the union of the skull’s temporal bone with the attached mandible bone, better known as the jaw). This unpleasant clicking is usually felt and heard inside or in front of the ear, and is thought to be the result of dislocation, subluxation, inflammation, or other impairment of the cartilage disk that serves as a buffer between the two bones. Such impairment is frequently caused by…you guessed it: bruxism.

Treatment and Prevention | What can I do about my bruxism?

We’ll post another article soon focusing on treatment and prevention options. Whatever approaches you consider, be sure to consult a dental or orthodontic specialist. You may also want to speak with an orthopod. (That’s a medical doctor specializing in holistic care and treatment of the musculoskeletal system.)

You should strongly consider wearing a night guard (a mouth guard worn at night). These can be purchased online at much lower costs than you would pay a dentist, but with the same quality and customization options. If you do invest in a night guard, be sure that it is custom-molded to fit your unique dental anatomy.

Now, it should be noted that the mouth guards used for treating alignment disorders (a symptom of TMJ disorders) function differently than a typical night guard. This means that if your dental health provider has diagnosed you with an alignment issue, then a standard custom night guard is not recommended.

Night guards for alignment issues are always made of rigid acrylic material and sometimes incorporate metal clasps to help raise the bite and reposition the jaw. Because an alignment splint is fairly involved, the dentist may need to make multiple adjustments in order to achieve optimal position and results.

Again, for patients suffering from alignment issues, we do NOT recommend ordering a night guard bought online.

You should always consult a licensed specialist before using any medical device or treatment.

Bruxism, teeth-grinding, and TMJ disorders can be burdensome and destructive. But with the information in this article, we hope that you’re better-prepared to face the challenges head-on.

Bruxism vs TMJ
teeth sore when I wake up

My Teeth Are Sore When I Wake Up. Why?

“Why is it that my teeth are sore when I wake up in the morning?”

Waking up with sore teeth is common amongst many people.

Often times, when a person goes to sleep, their teeth feel healthy and fine but when they wake up the teeth will feel sore.

This may or may not be accompanied by a headache and/or jaw pain and can cause a lot of discomfort and inconveniences.

A person who wakes with complaints of ‘my teeth are sore’ might be unable to eat breakfast or brush teeth comfortably. It’s not the best way for one to start their day and can actually be doing real damage to the teeth if you are suffering from a disorder such as Bruxism (constant nighttime teeth grinding) or TMJ. So lets take a look at some top reasons why a person might wake up with sore teeth and also the solutions to this issue.

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1. Teeth Grinding Or Jaw Clenching at Night

It is estimated that most of us grind or clench our teeth at some point in our lives.

The most common cause of sore teeth when waking up is the grinding and clenching of teeth while asleep.

The majority of people who experience this issue usually clench and/or grind their teeth while asleep.

In fact, 1 in 10 people grind or clench their teeth at night.

This might be caused by many things including stress, dreaming and irregular temperatures at night amongst other reasons. A person who clenches and grinds his or her teeth at night will not have control of this situation, since it is not possible to stop clenching and grinding of teeth while asleep.

Therefore, if such a person does not find the right solution, the problem will persist and the person will be waking up with complaints of ‘my teeth are sore’ and slowly making the teeth flatter and more susceptible to cracks & breakage.. This makes it paramount to find a permanent and effective solution to solve this problem.

Don’t know if you’re grinding your teeth? The most convenient and effective solution to waking up with sore teeth because of grinding and clenching of the teeth at night is the use of a dental night guard. These guards are effective because they prevent the teeth from coming into contact at night, and even if the person wearing the night guard clenches or grinds the teeth, there will be no negative effect.

Custom made night guards (based on a dental impression of your teeth) are far superior to store bought dental night guards. Custom guards are also easy to put on and remove and they can be worn by almost anyone. Finding the right night guard for you can sometimes be tricky. A custom made dental night guard (made from a dental impression of your teeth) is almost universally recommended by dentists and researchers alike over the stock, store bought types. Skip dental office prices and get your night guard to stop your sore teeth directly from the lab!

2. Food Stuck In Your Teeth

Another common cause of teeth soreness while waking up is eating foods and failing to brush while going to bed. Some of the common foods that usually cause this problem include hard foods whose particles might remain on the teeth, or meats that get in between the cracks.

These food particles will have a negative effect on you while sleeping which can easily cause teeth soreness. The most effective way of avoiding this problem is ensuring that you brush and floss prior to sleeping. Through brushing and flossing one can remove the food particles that might have remained on the teeth and therefore have a comfortable night.

3. Sleep Positions

People who tend to sleep in certain positions might wake up with their teeth feeling sore. For instance, placing the hands below the face, especially on the jaw area, or sleeping with your face on something hard like rings or bracelets (it’s common for people nowadays to sleep with their phone right next to them) can cause the teeth to be sore.

Pay attention to where the pain/soreness is being distributed. Is it just on one side? Both sides? Upper teeth? Lower teeth?
A person who usually moves his or her face towards the rail of the bed might also make the teeth feel sore in the morning. The ideal solution for teeth soreness caused by these issues is ensuring that one removes all jewelry before going to bed, and puts their phone on a nightstand nearby.

One should also practice placing the hands away from the face while sleeping. It is also helpful to try sleeping far away from the bed rails and placing a pillow between yourself and the rail, so as to avoid placing the face along the rails while asleep.

Other possible reasons my teeth are sore

4. Have you had a dental appointment or cleaning lately?

Sometimes getting your teeth and gums probed and prodded with dental tools can cause some continued soreness. This will usually subside within a few days after treatment and should not cause alarm.

5. Sprained Tooth Syndrome (STS)

This can form from a number of things; such as an overfilled filling or crown, cold allergy/sinus issues, or shifting of teeth. Additionally,  crunching , grinding or opening the mouth continuously can aggravate the tooth & ligament that is attached to the tooth, and even exacerbate clenching and grinding.

Sometimes STS can arise from a small minor accident like crunching on a pointy, sticky or chewy food & worsen from that point. Dental treatment for STS may include changing the patients bite, Ibuprofen, the use of sensitive toothpaste and/or a dental night guard.

You should seek professional dental help if you suspect you may be suffering from STS as this syndrome can be complex.

What do you think? Have you suffered from morning teeth soreness?

  • Yes I do and it’s because I grind my teeth
  • Yes I do and it’s because I clench my teeth
  • I do and I don’t know why
  • I do have tooth soreness and its because of another reason entirely. Tell us why in the comment section!
  • It could be because I’m not brushing/flossing my teeth enough
  • It could be because of my sleep position, phone in bed with me, railing, jewelry, etc

Solving the problem of grinding and clenching by wearing a custom night guard is now a convenient solution because these guards are easily accessible online. A person who might need a dental night guard can complete the entire process without ever having to leave their house.

Don’t know if you should go through an online night guard lab or pay your dentist? There are some instances when you should definitely go through the dentist. If you’re suffering from TMJ, jaw alignment issues or if your dentist recommends making you a special type of night guard involving metal clasps or ramps, you will need him/her to fabricate that type of special appliance for you.

The process of buying a Sentinel Night Guard is simple and the payment modes with features that include PayPal are secure and user-friendly.

Furthermore, purchasing your new night guard from Sentinel Mouth Guards is way less expensive than what a dentist charges.

There can be other reasons why you might complain that “my teeth are sore” that are not listed in this article. Discuss your tooth soreness with your dentist. He/she can take x-rays to see if there are some visual signs of trouble in one or more of your teeth. A dentist can also perform sleep tests and examine your teeth for fracture lines or dental damage if you are indeed grinding or clenching at night.

Do you have something to add to this article? Please do! See the comment section below.

grinding your teeth at night

How Do I Know If I Am Grinding My Teeth At Night?

“Look Doctor! I think I would know if I was grinding my teeth at night!”

Many dentists experience this problem with patients. The dentist tells the patient that they are showing signs of teeth grinding or jaw clenching at night, only to be met with disbelief from the patient. Patients believe they would KNOW if they were grinding or clenching at night. However, this can happen even when you’re not conscious. It’s an act we perform while sleeping and it’s important to understand that we grind in short intense bursts (not all night long).

You might be wondering “how do I know if I’m grinding my teeth at night”?

5 Signs You May Be Grinding Your Teeth at Night.

1. You wake up with headaches, jaw pain/soreness, earaches, facial soreness, or teeth pain

If you wake up only to find that your mouth hurts, you may very well be grinding or clenching your teeth at night (particularly, if your teeth ache and your jaw hurts). Both clenching and grinding can cause not only dental damage to your teeth, but irritation to the muscles in your head and neck. There are a variety of factors that can be inducing this bruxing action. Stress is always high on the list and the effects are something you should take very seriously.

People across the globe are learning everyday just how serious it can be when they finally wear their teeth down and/or crack them. Cosmetic restorations are very expensive.

A full mouth restoration can cost between $30,000-$60,000.

Think about it. You have 32 teeth (well, give or take a few). A root canal for 1 tooth (which is often a must-have if you crack your tooth) can cost anywhere from $1000-$2500.

You can protect your pearly whites by wearing a simple, thin clear guard. Night Guards also will alleviate some or all of that jaw pain/muscle irritation and headaches.

If you have a personal story of your own, feel free to share it in the comments box at the end of this article.

2. Your back teeth are flat OR they look like they have little “pot holes” on them.

grinding my teeth

It’s hard for us to really see changes in our own dental anatomy. It would be helpful to have a “before” and “after” picture of our teeth to see exactly what kind of damage we’re doing. It’s almost like when we gain weight and we don’t realize HOW much we’ve gained until we see a picture and think “wow, is that really me?”

This is why you need to be aware of your teeth. Pay attention to any changes in your dental anatomy. Enamel is tough. It takes a lot of clenching and grinding over a long period of time to damage it.

Because of this drawn out period of wearing down, we often don’t even notice. So look in the mirror and check out your teeth surfaces. Do you have shorter looking front teeth than you remember? Fracture lines? (a dentist will be able to see these little lines in the teeth). You may also notice that your back teeth are flat or have little pits on them (as seen in the reference picture). Look carefully at your molars. Do you see anything that resembles a “pot hole”? This is a good indication you are grinding.

I Might Be Grinding My Teeth At Night: Try this little test to see if you are.

Here is one test you can try on yourself to see if your front teeth are possibly too short.

Stand in front of a mirror and relax your face and mouth muscles. Open your mouth slightly. Your back teeth should not be touching.

The upper lip must be completely relaxed. Keep your head straight forward. Can you see your teeth?

When a dentist does this exercise on a patient he is looking for 1-2mm of visible front teeth. If he doesn’t see any teeth showing, the teeth may be too short.

3. You have chipped teeth that fit together like a jig-saw puzzle

As mentioned above, tooth enamel is incredibly tough. It’s the hardest substance in the human body – even harder than our bones. It can stand a lot of pressure, but teeth grinders can also be so tough on their teeth they wear the enamel out.

Research has proven that while we sleep, we can grind or clench down on our teeth with up to 130x the force we use during the day to do things like chewing our food or gum. So as you can imagine, if you’re cracking teeth, you’re really doing some intense grinding/clenching while you’re snoozing.

If you think you have cracked a tooth, it’s important to seek treatment quickly. Unfortunately, if you’re already to that stage, you will need some endodontic treatment along with cosmetic restoration. You will also need a night guard to protect against any future damage.

4. You chew on things during the day (i.e.: pencils, gum, etc.)

First thing, stop chewing gum. Stop chewing pencils for that matter! Easier said than done, I know, but gum is really bad for teeth grinders – even ADA-approved gum.

The constant chewing is reinforcing the habit. If you’re actively and voluntarily chewing on things during the day, you’re even more likely to continue that motion into the night. So what’s happening? You’re chewing on things during the day and as a result “toughening” your jaw muscles to where they become very strong and tight. This can encourage your jaw muscles to want to go through that grinding motion because it’s used to it.

Ease your jaw muscles during the day, relax, stop chewing gum, and the urge to grind your teeth may lessen.

5. Your Dentist Has Told You So

“I don’t grind my teeth!”

It always amazes me how many people swear that they’re not grinding their teeth at night. I ask them “How do you know? You’re asleep!” The list of reasons range from “my jaw doesn’t hurt in the morning” to “my husband/wife would hear me” to “I make myself sleep with my mouth open”.

One man recently told me that he takes medications that dry his mouth out and as a result, he sleeps with his mouth open so he knows for a fact that he is NOT grinding or clenching his teeth.

Truth is, guys, you don’t know. You can’t possibly know. But a dentist knows. So, if a dentist says that you grind your teeth, please believe them. They can see things you can’t.

Also, here’s something you should know. Bruxing (teeth grinding) is not an action that occurs all night long. Typically, it happens in these short, intense bursts. So you may not be grinding/clenching your teeth 80-90% of the time, but if you’re doing it 10% of the time, you’re suffering from Bruxism (and potentially, all the not-so-lovely effects).

Custom Night Guard Made By Taking Your Own Dental Impression

The Good News – There’s Armor for your teeth

You can save hundreds of dollars by ordering your custom sleep guard online. Instead of having to go to a dentist and get a dental impression taken of your teeth, you can simply place an order online and have a dental impression kit sent to your home.

The kit consists of some mixing putty and a plastic tray. It’s very simple. You take your own teeth impression, place it in the pre-paid mailer and send it back to the lab. The lab will construct the same exact custom night guard you would have paid hundreds of dollars for in a dental office, for a fraction of that cost.

Sound too good to be true? Check out Sentinel Mouthguard Company reviews online!

We strive to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information about teeth grinding

Bruxism is a subject that has so many variables. Questions like “why am I grinding my teeth”, “how do I make myself stop grinding/clenching my teeth”, “which night guard should I choose?” and many many more are not answerable in a clear cut way. Each person is different, and the truth is, experts are still not sure as to why we’re grinding our teeth and there is no magic pill that can make us stop.

It is our business to provide accurate information to you, the reader, so that you can make informed decisions about your battle with Bruxism. As more information becomes available we will continue to keep you updated. We hope you have found this article useful and interesting! As always, please feel free to leave feedback.

Thank you for taking time to read!

dog ate my night guard

My Dog Ate My Night Guard!

My dog ate my night guard!

I have a 10 month old Australian Cattle Dog. Her name is Loki. Yes, I named her after the Norse god of mischief. You may say that I was  tempting fate. I say that I was just giving in to the inevitable. If you are a dog lover, you know that they like to chew and as a puppy they will chew on just about anything and everything.

Loki has destroyed shoes, socks, and other bits of laundry. She has chewed pencils and pens, gloves and hats, cat toys, and entire boxes of tissue. She chewed a hole in the back of my brand new couch and ate a stack of student homework (in a new twist on an old excuse). She has plenty of toys and raw hides and she chews on those, too. But today she ate my night guard. My very, very expensive custom night guard purchased from the dentist to protect my teeth from my midnight clenching and grinding. The daily mantras in my house are “It’s a good thing you’re cute” and “I can’t wait until you grow up.”

After My Dog Ate My Night Guard

After sweeping up the slobbery little bits that were all that remained of my night guard, I was all set to call the dentist and fork over a wad of cash for a replacement, when (in a last ditch effort to save some money) I took to google and typed “affordable night guards” in the familiar search bar. That’s when I truly discovered the great power of the all mighty internet. You can buy almost anything EVEN custom made night guards exactly like the one from my dentist. Through Sentinel Mouthguard Company, you can replace your custom night guard for a fraction of the amount that you pay your dentist. This is because you take your own dental impression and order the mouth guard directly from the lab.

Here’s how it works:

Sentinel Mouth Guard lab sends a dental impression kit with the putty and trays just like they use in the dentist’s office. You follow the easy step-by-step instructions to mix the putty, put it in the tray, and make an impression of your teeth. In addition to the written instructions there’s an online video as well. In less than ten minutes the impression will be done, all in the comfort of your own home. Use the prepaid envelope to mail it back to the lab. They will make your new night guard and within a week you will be sleeping easy again for much less money than you paid the dentist for the previous puppy chew toy.

There are a number of options with clear descriptions on the Sentinel night guard lab website to help you choose the one that’s best for you. There is a soft, clear nightguard; a hard dental night guard for severe grinding and jaw clenching; and a dual-laminated nightguard that is soft on the inside and hard on the outside for those suffering from TMJ or more moderate grinding.  They also make teeth whitening kits with custom made dental trays and custom molded athletic mouth guards. You can even purchase a gift card for the absent-minded athlete in your life (or perhaps the new puppy owner). I know that from now on my night guard is going in the cabinet behind a firmly closed door, but it’s nice to know there is an affordable option available for when I accidentally flush it down the toilet.

*A humorous yet informative article written by talented blogger Amanda Woodward about one of the most common reasons for night guard replacements and reorders. We enjoyed this one and hope you will too!

sentinel dual laminate night guard

BPA Free Dental Night Guards

Is it possible to get a Night Guard that is BPA free or pthalate free?

If you have ever experienced chronic teeth grinding or had a family member affected by the problem, you probably realize that this is a matter that should not be overlooked. You only get one set of adult teeth.  Grinding or clenching comes with serious consequences such as teeth flattening, teeth cracking/ breakage, tongue indentation, headaches and could even strip your teeth of their enamel. Some of these damages can result in major dental costs. The good news is, the use of BPA free dental night guards is an approach that is non-invasive, SAFE and you don’t need to take prescription medication to curb bruxism (actually prescription meds may be making your bruxing worse). The use of a BPA free dental night guard is more of a preventive remedy.You don’t have to wait until it is too late when your teeth are seriously damaged to take measures to protect your teeth.

Episode #1178 of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast opened with Dr. Rhonda Patrick providing some great examples of her own thoughts on BPA and why she is hyper-aware of which bottles she gives her 18 month old baby, why she is concerned with her plastic coffee cups and more!

She worries quite often that she is exposing her baby to too much BPA. This is an excerpt from the podcast of her thoughts on BPA.

“Boiling water and putting it in plastic increases the BPA that leaches into solution by 55 fold. So, yes, definitely heating it up is way worse. One of the things I’m always thinking about is…, there are now studies that have come out and these studies have been done in animals that show that BPS and some of the other BPA replacements also have negative consequences on the endocrine system, on reproduction and in some cases they’re passed on to multiple generations. Now, how much of that actually translates to humans is unknown but there have been studies at least with BPA that have shown that you can give a person a single dose of BPA and it disrupts their insulin sensitivity. It also plays a role in causing problems with in vitro fertilization so it’s disrupting hormones and things like that. So, I was really cognizant about it during pregnancy because typically we do “detoxify” it quite well. The half life is less than 5 hours and we excrete it through urine. It also comes out through sweat ,by the way, which is really good. But when you’re pregnant, for whatever reason, the placenta.. well when you take in the BPA and your liver will inactivate it into this more benign compound but when it gets into your placenta it becomes activated again so I made sure I was not drinking anything out of a plastic or anything like that while I was pregnant.”

As a scientist, she is concerned. So should we all be?

sentinel soft dental night guard anti grinding device
“Are Night Guards BPA free?”

A big concern for many people regarding night guards is whether or not they contain bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA is a synthetic compound used in the manufacture of plastic to harden it. If body organs get exposed to large amounts of this compound, some complications such as hormonal disorders, heart problems, brain and behavioral issues can be a consequence. This has led to the compound in countries such as Canada and the European Union to be banned for use in making baby bottles. It might be hard to determine whether a night guard contains BPA or not, but that should never be a matter of major concern because most dental material brands out there DO NOT include this compound in their products. This is according to the American Dental Association. There may be an exception out there somewhere but generally night guard use is not a health risk at all & most do not contain BPA.

All Sentinel Mouthguards are completely BPA Free


Are Sentinel Mouth Guards & Night Guards Phthalate Free?
Phthalates, commonly known as plasticizers, are chemicals included in plastics to make them flexible and harder to break. The CDC affirms that any dangers posed by low amounts of phthalates are unknown but have also revealed that in large amounts, phthalates have had an effect on laboratory animals’ reproductive systems. Most forms of vinyl need phthalates in their processing but lucky for us, EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) vinyl, which is used in making soft night guards, contains absolutely no phthalates. Dialkyl ortho-phthalate (o-DAPS) is used in the manufacture of some hard acrylic night guards to give them the thermoplastic nature. While people are exposed to phthalates from an array of products & sources such as dietary sources, teething rings & toys, indoor air pollution and, to a lesser extent, dermal contact, human health effects from phthalates at low environmental doses are currently unknown.

Sentinel Dental Night Guards do not contain phthalates

“Are Sentinel Mouth Guards & Night Guards Silicon Free?”
Just because silicon is an inert element does not mean it does not have side effects. Silicon, in the form of silicon dioxide (crystalline silica) could be a chronic respiratory hazard as researches on laboratory animals have shown that lung damage can occur. Silicon crystalline, when in contact with the skin and the eyes, causes irritation, scaling and itching. Crystalline silica, in the form of quartz and cristobalite, has again been associated with lung cancer. It is however a respite to learn that the most common and natural forms of silicon (silica and silicates) are non toxic and there is generally no threat posed by these forms of silicon. Silica and silicates is popular with sippy cup manufacturers like Nuby because it’s considered nontoxic. Though if you’re still not at ease, dental material makers have recognized the increasing public awareness & concern for what we put in our mouths and have made purchasing silicon free night guards easy.

“Why do we not like BPA?”

BPA is linked with

cardiovascular disease

breast, brain & prostate cancer

Attention related disorders

Erectile dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction

Learning disorders

Early onset puberty




Did you know 93% of Americans have BPA in their body?

All Sentinel Mouthguards are BPA, silicon and latex free.

night guard pain

Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

Is Your Night Guard Causing You Pain? Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

Let’s first start by determining which type of dental night guard you’re using. Are you wearing a boil and bite or “one size fits all” dental guard that you purchased through a retailer like CVS, Walgreens or Amazon? If so, this could be an issue. Though some do have success wearing these less expensive versions (in comparison to custom made guards) many people feel discomfort and report being unsatisfied with their purchase.

These mass-produced night guards can even lead to greater problems like increased jaw pain and/or soreness. One of the reasons for this is because mouth arches and teeth sizes are so varied. It’s terribly difficult to create a “one size fits all” solution. Can a night guard shift your teeth? Perhaps the use of an ill-fitting hard night guard could shift your teeth if worn continuously – or a more likely story is that your teeth may naturally shift over time.

Custom Night Guard

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The verdict is in and most agree that custom made night guards are, hands down, the way to go if you must wear a nighttime dental device. It’s true, they are the best option available in terms of comfort, fit, & durability. If you’re wearing a store bought “one size fits all” dental guard and it’s hurting your teeth at night, you should look into purchasing a custom made night guard. You can get a great quality custom night guard directly from our online dental lab for as low as $99.00 here.

You did the right thing. You got a custom made night guard and you still can’t sleep with it. Now what?

teeth grinding and stress

But what if you opted to go through a dentist and paid their prices (which range from $400-$1500) only to be disappointed or in downright pain after usage? If you find yourself thinking “my night guard hurts my teeth”, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. There may be a problem with your night guard. A reputable dentist will work with you to resolve your discomfort issue. You shouldn’t be wearing an ill-fitting night guard for several reasons listed in this article.

Your dentist may have prescribed a night guard because they noticed that you grind or clench your teeth. You may grind your teeth at night, or even catch yourself grinding your teeth during the day. You’ve taken their advice, and wear your night guard faithfully as prescribed.

But within a few days, or maybe over a period of months, you start to notice some changes in your mouth. You’re protecting your teeth against the wear and tear of grinding. But you’re concerned. You’ve noticed some changes in your mouth, so you go back to your dentist with the concern that “my night guard hurts my teeth.”

Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard

Why is my night guard causing me pain?

A couple of things to remember:

It may take several nights of consistent use before you adapt to sleeping comfortably with your new guard.
Some light tooth soreness during this time period can be normal.

Night guards should not cause continued pain. When they do, it is often because they are not fitting correctly. Pain may be the only clue that your night guard is not fitting properly.
If you continue to have pain after more than a week of getting your new night guard, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. If you purchased from a direct night guard lab online, you should contact them for a replacement. A reputable dental night guard lab will work with you to get a great fitting (and pain free) dental night guard.

Is your night guard causing irritation on the tongue or gums?

It could have a little rough spots or edges and simply needs to be polished. If you’re handy with a Dremel tool, you may be able to lightly brush those areas with a polishing bur yourself and save a trip to the dentist. Otherwise, your dentist should be happy to fix that for you.

What are the symptoms of an ill-fitting night guard?

dental night guard cost

Pain is just one possible symptom of an ill-fitting night guard. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • an ache in your jaw or jaw joint next to your ear (called the TMJ)
  • sore spots on your cheeks and tongue
  • tenderness in one or more of your teeth
  • non-specific facial pain or aching

Why is my night guard not fitting my mouth?

  • One common reason can be an inaccurate dental impression that was taken during your initial visit to the dentist – and if you ordered online, you may have distorted your dental impression. A clear cast of your teeth is essential in getting a well-fitting night guard.
  • Improper fabrication of your night guard. Your dental device could be made by an inexperienced worker causing an extremely tight fit or possibly one that’s too loose.

Many changes can happen in our mouths without us noticing. These changes may affect the fit of your night guard.

  • Pieces of food can lodge between your teeth or on the surface of a tooth. You may be able to remove these with a toothbrush or floss. Plaque can also build up. It may need to be removed by a hygienist. These obstructions can dislodge your night guard.
  • A new filling, or even replacing an old filling, can cause night guards to stop fitting. If you only wear your night guard at night, you may forget to tell your dentist. He will need to adjust it to fit the new filling area. Even if the filling is on an “opposing tooth”, a tooth opposite the night guard, it can affect how the guard fits and functions in your mouth.
  • Sometimes a chip out of a tooth changes the way it fits against the teeth around it. Even a small chip can be enough to change the way your night guard fits.

What further problems do ill-fitting night guards cause?

  • Your teeth may get pushed out of their normal place.
  • Your jaw can become misaligned. This can lead to TMJ (temporal mandibular joint) problems.
  • Other areas of your mouth may become irritated, such as the inside of your cheeks, the edges of your tongue, and your gums.
surfaces damaged during teeth grinding

The important message is to take mouth pain and discomfort seriously. Sentinel Mouthguard Co. recognizes that all night guards are not created equal and that individual preference plays a huge role in finding a night guard that is comfortable. We provide a continuous service, even after your night guard is delivered, to ensure that you are 100% happy with the fit and comfort of your new guard.