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How to Clean Your Night Guard

This article has been updated for accuracy on 02/25/20

What is a dental night guard?
why does my night guard turn yellow? sentinel night guard care

A night guard is a plastic device designed specifically for your smile’s shape. It is worn while you sleep to reduce damage and discomfort caused by nighttime bruxism (clenching and grinding your teeth).

What is the best way to clean a dental night guard?

PREVENTING YOUR DENTAL NIGHT GUARD FROM TURNING YELLOW

Your mouth is the perfect place for bacterial plaque and other microorganisms to thrive. And so is your night guard since you wear it directly over your teeth. The moist, warm environment is the perfect breeding ground for residue buildup and stain. But cleaning your dental appliance regularly can prevent that from happening!

Although some bacterial buildup is normal, dental devices such as night guards should be cleaned and thoroughly dried between uses.

That way you can avoid problems like bad breath (halitosis), discoloration of the dental night guard, and accumulated debris from food particles and plaque.

dental night guard care

In a nutshell

How to Clean Your Dental Night Guard

You might run across recommendations to use baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, soap, denture cleaner, and toothpaste to clean your night guard. But some of these are too harsh and abrasive, which can lead to permanent damage to your dental appliance.

While basic hygiene principles are universal for all night guards, it is important to speak to your dentist or the dental appliance manufacturer about specific care recommendations on particular types of appliances. Especially since night guard materials can vary from one design to the next.

Here’s a quick summary of basic cleaning concepts that apply to all night guards:

  • All dental night guards should be cleaned immediately after use and before storing them.
  • Allow your night guard to completely dry prior to storage.
  • Clean your night guard case/holder regularly, as it may harbor dust and bacteria.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals, hot water, or abrasive products to clean your appliance unless directed to do so by your dentist.

Don’t let your dental night guard turn yellow!

Not cleaning your teeth before wearing your night guard can cause food stains and bacteria to transfer to your appliance. Additionally, allowing saliva and water to sit in your guard can lead to changes in the way it looks.

“Why does my dental night guard turn yellow and how can I prevent it?”

Example Cleaning Regimen (May Vary by Guard Brand):

1. Brush your night guard thoroughly with non-abrasive toothpaste, antibacterial hand soap or dish liquid.

Use a separate toothbrush than what you do for your teeth. Thoroughly clean the appliance both inside and outside to lift away plaque residue. Rinse your mouthguard under lukewarm tap water. Do not use hot water as this can permanently alter the fit of your dental night guard.

2. Dry it with a soft, clean cloth.

If possible, allow it to air dry approximately 30 minutes before storing it.

3. Store the guard in its case.

Example weekly regimen

1. Once per week, soak your appliance in an antiseptic mouthwash or denture cleaning solution. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Clean out your storage case, using hot water and dish soap.

Night Guard Cleaning Options

Ideally, you want to clean your mouthguard with a gentle toothpaste, antibacterial soap, or liquid dish detergent. Baking soda can occasionally be used if there is heavier residue but using it regularly can lead to surface scratches in your appliance, which may lead to additional bacterial and stain buildup. As such, we recommend avoiding it unless absolutely necessary.

You can also soak your night guard in an effervescent denture cleaning solution (which is safe for things like partials and orthodontic retainers) to loosen residue, then brush it clean several hours later.

Always follow manufacturer’s recommendations as night guards are made from various types of materials and will respond differently to cleansing solutions.

Harsh abrasives, hot water or bleach may permanently damage your dental night guard. Only use them as directed by your dentist or mouthguard manufacturer.

how to clean your night guard

“Forget turning yellow! My dental night guard has little black spots on it. I think it’s mold!”

Finding buildup that looks like mold on your dental night guard?

Black, green or brown spots may start to appear on your appliance if not cleaned or stored properly.

If too much moisture is left on your mouthguard, it may gradually start to harbor bacterial growth. Especially when it’s stored in a sealed retainer case when it’s still wet.

Remember, mold is a microscopic, living organism. It is not a disease or a virus.

Regular, thorough cleaning can prevent mold buildup. But at times, it may be necessary to take further steps to remove the deposits. It is safe to dilute household bleach in a glass of tap water (a 1:10 ratio) and soak your appliance for about half an hour, then brush and rinse it thoroughly. Although too harsh for everyday use, bleach can be used on an infrequent basis when deep cleaning of dental appliances is necessary.

Bring your dental night guard with you to dental checkups to see if it needs to be professionally cleaned. As with other types of dental appliances, night guards need occasional replacement every so many years.

Does my night guard need to be replaced?

Even with proper care, dental night guards wear out over time, so it’s important to check yours for signs of aging.

You might start to notice that it doesn’t fit as well as it used to or that certain areas are starting to wear out, from the constant pressure of your teeth. Both of these scenarios are completely normal. In fact, the wear means your night guard is doing it’s job to protect your teeth, cheeks and tongue!

When in doubt, check with your dentist, night guard lab, or other dental health provider.

In conclusion

A dental night guard may become gross pretty fast if it’s not cleaned or maintained properly. Fortunately, you can avoid buildup, smells and color changes by taking the time to learn how to thoroughly clean, dry and store your appliance. “Clean and dry is key”.

Just like your teeth, your dental night guard needs daily care. Aside from the information above on how to clean your night guard and the storage case, you can also speak with your dental health care provider or lab for more information. With proper care, your night guard can last as long as possible.

Looking to replace your existing dental night guard?

Sentinel Mouthguards offers three different types of  custom made dental night guards; hard, soft, and dual laminated. We also provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee, replacement warranty, and free, all-inclusive shipping in the US.

Medically reviewed by:

Sharon Boyd, MA, BS, RDH has over 20 years of experience in the dental health industry. Her focus on preventative care techniques helps empower patients to reduce their need for extensive treatments and extend the lifetime of their natural teeth. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonboydrdh/Website: https://www.dentaspeak.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dentaspeak/

a clean mouth guard
night guard for tongue biting

Difference Between Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding?

Jaw Clenching Teeth and Teeth Grinding are Often Caused By the Same Problem

Jaw clenching and teeth grinding are both common manifestations of a condition known as “bruxism”. Bruxism occurs unconsciously, and can happen both while you’re awake or asleep. Waking bruxism is characterized by clenching the jaw tightly. During sleep, tooth on tooth grinding is more common though night jaw clenching occurs in many people.

Both types of bruxism can cause damage to the teeth and jaw, as well as facial muscle strain.

Because bruxism usually happens when unconscious, most people don’t realize they’re doing it even while they’re awake. Jaw clenching and grinding are not mutually exclusive and can occur together in some patients. The causes of Bruxism can vary depending on whether it occurs during the day or at night.

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Waking Bruxism Versus Sleep Bruxism

Stress is still the #1 reason most dentists and researchers in the field believe we perform the actions of jaw clenching and teeth grinding. However, some current medical research suggests that jaw clenching and teeth grinding during sleep may have a different set of causes than waking bruxism.

Waking bruxism is generally associated with stress.

It can also accompany the use of stimulant drugs like caffeine, ephedrine or ADHD medication. As much as 20% of the U.S. adult population grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw when they’re awake and it is almost always correlated with high stress levels. This can range from stress due to a demanding job, financial problems or serious mood disorders like Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. In many cases, when the psychological effects of anxiety or stress are addressed and treated, the grinding or clenching will subside.

Sleeping bruxism may be more enigmatic.

Sleeping bruxism is commonly associated with tooth grinding (though jaw clenching can occur either in place of grinding or in conjunction with it), which results from rhythmic jaw motions that reflect a “misfiring” of motions associated with chewing food. Teeth grinding during sleep has been shown to occur during “micro-arousal,” when a person moves closer to consciousness during sleep. Although this rarely causes the person to wake up completely, EEG measurements of electrical activity in the brain have confirmed these brief changes in the level of consciousness. Sleeping bruxism is often found in people who also have sleep apnea and its causes are still not yet fully understood.

What’s the Difference between Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding Symptoms?

Most people with bruxism aren’t aware that they have it, so the best way to identify it is to look for symptoms. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding are both bad for the jaws and teeth, but cause different problems.

Grinding your teeth is often revealed by symptoms such as:

  • Excessive wear and tear on teeth. Grinding is harder on teeth than jaw clenching. The mechanical forces involved in repetitive grinding motions often cause pathological changes in the structure of your teeth. The enamel is the first part to be worn down, and over time, the dentin underneath can become exposed and eroded. Teeth can also fracture from stress, especially in people with dental restorations like fillings and crowns.
  • Increased tooth sensitivity. As the enamel and dentin of the teeth are worn down, the nerves become more sensitive and more exposed. This can cause tooth pain, especially when drinking cold liquids.

Jaw clenching is not only be bad for dental health, but can impact the muscles of the face and jaw. Some of the most common symptoms resulting from clenching the jaw include:

  • Tenderness, pain or fatigue in the jaw muscles. This is especially apparent while chewing. Continuous jaw clenching strains the muscles, causing them to become tired and sore just like any other muscle. This can make chewing difficult, and even painful.
  • Masseter Hypertrophy – this is a medical term for the enlargement of the jaw muscles over time. Jaw clenching “works out” the muscles causing them to increase in size over time. Pronounced jaw muscles can lead to an unwanted “square-jawed” appearance.
jaw clenching can build up the masseter
Enlargement of the masseter muscle can sometimes be visible in jaw clenchers

Although jaw clenching and teeth grinding are both forms of bruxism, they don’t always occur together. Both can create different sets of symptoms in teeth and the jaw muscles. Clenching is more common than grinding in people with bruxism attributed to anxiety or stress. Tension headaches may be relieved with the use of a dental night guard.

“What is the best night guard to wear for teeth grinding or jaw clenching?”

Looking for the best night guard for teeth grinding? We have discussed several dental night guards types in more depth, but here’s our quick answer:

Custom fitted night guards made specifically from your unique dental anatomy, and fabricated using a high heat/high pressure thermoforming machine, are by far the best night guards available today for clenching teeth. Get started right here.

How to stop clenching the jaw:

If you’re clenching the jaw during the night while sleeping, it is highly unlikely that you can stop the tightening and clenching of the jaw in the moment because you’re dead-asleep.

However, you can work to put yourself in a state of ease before bed so that it might not happen. Two big things to say no to before bed.

Alcohol and caffeine.

Staring at the screen on your phone, television or video games.

Try this instead.

Play relaxing music, read a good book, make your bed a comfortable and clean place. Practice relaxing your face and WEAR YOUR DENTAL NIGHT GUARD. See below to learn more on dental night guards!

Not all night guards are created equal: sometimes finding the right night guard for you can be a process

The medical term for teeth grinding is bruxism and is usually coupled with clenching your jaw. The grinding is generally harmless at first but its continual occurrence can damage your dental health and cause pain. The first signs are usually a sensation of pain on one side of the jaw, or general teeth soreness. You can be grinding or clenching and have no clue. Did you get that? No obvious signs. The grinding can also be a bother to your sleeping partner. Causes include daily anxieties, stress or conditions like sleep apnea.

Sore jaws and constant headaches can be tell-tale signs.

Loved ones might inform you of symptoms as it usually occurs during sleep. Grinding can cause fracturing and loosening of teeth. Night guards are used as a common preventative solution. Dental night guards DO NOT stop teeth grinding, but protect the teeth from damage, and lessen the facial pain and headaches caused by grinding & clenching. These are protective devices that work by preventing the upper teeth from grinding with the lower ones.

There are many types of night guards available; choosing the best night guard is paramount to your health and comfort. Let’s first go over the not-so-great: Stock mouth guards and boil and bites.

Drug Store Night Guards

These mass produced night guards and they are very affordable, but often uncomfortable.

A large variety of mouth guards can be purchased from drug stores. These guards are pre-formed and made to a universal fit. It is impossible to find a perfect match for your specific dental pattern with this type of guard. They are made of polyvinyl, plastic or rubber material. Even worse – with most store-bought guards, you have to close the jaw to hold them in, which makes it hard to talk or breathe and increases the likelihood of gagging on them. They have a reputation for being bulky and uncomfortable. Which makes them one of the worst solutions for clenching teeth and teeth grinding issues.

Boil and Bite Night Guards

The boil & bite night guards are made of a thermoplastic material that is sensitive to heat.

First you place the appliance in hot water so that the thermoplastic softens. Then you shape it around your teeth using pressure from the tongue and clean fingers. Finally when the plastic cools it will harden again leaving you with a close approximation of your teeth. These are better than the off-the-shelf night guards, but the material is not very durable. It is easy to grind through the guard and it’s still bulky and uncomfortable. If you are grinding through the guard at night you are most likely eating the thermoplastic the guards are made of too, without even knowing it.

Custom Made Night Guards

These cost more than a store bought guard because they are the toptier in mouth protection.

A dentist first makes an impression of your teeth on a special material. The impression is used to create a custom fitting night guard that is unique to the individual. This is done at a professional lab, or by a dentist or certified lab technician.

Since they are specifically suited for your teeth, they offer the best protection with no risk of gagging. The most common problem with these types of guards is that they can feel either too tight or too bulky. A reputable dental lab will work patiently with you until you get a perfect fit. All that is required of you is patience on your end, and the end product will make your life easier, better and healthier.

Because of the time and effort taken to customize this guard, it is more expensive than the others – but the benefits outweigh the costs.

Do-it-yourself teeth molding kit & online dental labs

dental impression kit for night guard to reduce clenching teeth, jaw, and grinding

You can purchase the best custom-made dental night guards directly from our night guard lab. Use our easy mail order system to take your dental impression without ever having to leave the comfort of your home!

If not dealt with, bruxism can cost a fortune in repairs at the dentist. It is much easier to save yourself the trouble by choosing the best night guard to alleviate this disorder. When choosing a night guard, you should look for durability, ease of cleaning, comfort, safe materials, and one that does not impede breathing or talking.

Do you bite your tongue or gums in your sleep?

Tongue biting or gum biting can cause a lot of irritation and damage to those sensitive areas. What’s worse is that once you’ve already started the biting it can grow into a painful habit. The solution to fend off any further harm to your sensitive organ and surrounding tissue is to wear tailor-made night mouth guards on both the upper and lower teeth.

I’m Clenching My Teeth During The Day. Do I Need A Night Guard?

You should first get a clear understanding of two things: What is a mouth guard for teeth grinding, and what is its purpose? A mouth guard for teeth grinding (also known as a night guard) is an oral appliance for the purpose of treating protecting the teeth as well as preventing dental problems. As the name suggests, a night guard is a mouth guard that is worn during sleep. However, a night guard can be worn for daytime use. Usually a thin, unobtrusive, 1mm night guard would be worn during the day.

A custom night guard is custom-fitted to its user. Commonly made from a hard or soft durable plastic, a night guard can act as a shock absorber for the muscles in the jaw and the face. This is important since tension in the muscles of the jaw and face can cause other, more serious health problems such as headaches and soreness. Constant teeth grinding and clenching teeth can also cause chipping and cracking of the teeth.

Now to answer your question.

If you’re clenching your teeth during the day, there’s a good chance you’re also clenching and grinding your teeth during sleep. The signs are not always obvious, even to someone sleeping right next to you. If you are already suffering from symptoms such as constant headaches and facial tenderness, then those symptoms are more likely the result of bruxism. Wearing a night guard is one trusted solution.

You can wear a day guard

ultra thin day guard for teeth grinding

If you feel teeth or facial soreness from grinding or clenching teeth during the day, consider wearing a very thin, hard 1mm guard. This will protect your teeth while remaining inconspicuous. An ultra thin clear guard is generally of a hard splint material – and should be custom-made from a dental impression of your teeth for a supreme fit.

It is never wise to self-diagnose. If you suspect that you are suffering from bruxism then you should visit your dentist immediately. Only a trained professional will be able to properly diagnose your condition. The best mouth guards are custom-fitted from a dental impression of your teeth. A custom-fitted mouth guard offers the utmost protection and comfort for those with teeth clenching issues. Generic mouth guards will not fit as well or as comfortably as a custom-fitted mouth guard.

Finding the right night guard type for clenched teeth

You can find night guards sold online – but how do you find a legitimate company that offers night guards to make sure that you get the right product? One neat thing about our company is our 100% satisfaction guarantee. We will work with you to find the right night guard at the thickness which best suits you, and we won’t stop until you and your mouth are happy!

best night guard for tmj

The Best Mouth Guard for TMJ

TMJ Mouth Guard

What should I look for when shopping for a TMJ mouth guard? First, it’s important to note the umbrella term that is used to cover all problems relating to TMJ is actually referred to as TMD, TMJD, TMJ disorder or Temperomandibular Joint Disorder. “TMJ” stands for Temporomandibular Joint.

“What is TMJ  and do I have it?”

Technically speaking, everyone has TMJ because it’s a joint. You would have TMD and you would need a mouth guard to treat your TMJ. But if there’s pain or some kind of irregularity inside of your TMJ, you would have TMD/TMJD. In the majority of cases, a mouthguard is used to treat TMJ symptoms and causes. But you didn’t come here for a lesson in medical terminology. You’re having jaw pain and you’re looking for the best mouth guard for TMJ (Ahem, TMD).

Let’s begin with a lesson in ANATOMY!

TMJ is a crucial joint when it comes to everyday function. It allows you to eat, talk, sing and yell at the kids! Every time we open or close our mouth, we’re using this joint. According to the National Institute of Health, around 10 million americans have some sort of TMJ problem.

tmj mouth guard

There are multiple reasons why TMJ disorders occur.

Causes of TMJ Disruption and Disorders

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding, teeth clenching)
  • Jaw size, shape and posture
  • Irregular tooth alignment (crooked or crowded teeth)
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Abnormalities of the intra-articular disk inside of your jaw joint
  • Arthritis and bone disease

A dentist can diagnose your TMJ disorder during an exam. They’ll listen to and feel your jaw as you open and close, pinpointing irregular movements and listen for pops or clicks inside of your joint.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJD

Clicking in your jaw is a common sign of TMJ disorder, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have TMD. Most of the time, if clicks and pops are painless, they’re not a significant problem. Your dentist will need to examine your mouth and feel certain areas to determine if your TMJ is functioning properly. If needed, an X-ray or CT scan can be ordered to provide more detailed images of the joint and surrounding structures. Rarely are MRIs needed, but they can be useful if there are significant disk problems or abnormalities.

Bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) can emit forces up to 6x more than normal chewing.

The term “TMJ syndrome” has only been around since 1934.

Because so many people live with TMJ disorder, there are several online community support groups for TMD where people discuss what has worked (or hasn’t) in managing this difficult, uncomfortable diagnosis. Fortunately, the path to TMJ relief may be closer than you think!

How long does it take for a mouth guard to work for TMJ? Do I need a TMJ Mouth Guard?

A mouthguard could be the best treatment, depending on the cause and severity of your TMJ disorder.

Is TMJ pain caused by jaw clenching or teeth grinding? A mouth guard can position your muscles to relax better, providing relief from jaw pain, tooth pain, ear aches, and facial soreness.

For cases of TMJ disorder prompted by uneven or missing teeth (where your bite is “off”) another type of procedure may be needed to relieve your symptoms. Depending on the complexity, more aggressive TMJ issues that require more extensive therapies or surgery may take months before you get relief.

Some good news!

Some TMJ issues can go away with time. Depending on the person, TMJ pain may only last a brief period and then disappear on its own.

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TMD is a group of collective orofacial disorders. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in or around your TMJ
  • Tooth pain
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Ear pain
  • Clicking or popping sounds
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Limited range of motion
  • Irregular tooth wear
  • Broken dental work
  • Sleep apnea

“What types of mouth guards are used to treat TMJ?”

A mouth guard is the most common solution prescribed for TMD.

The purpose of a TMJ splint or mouth guard is to protect your TMJ (including the discs inside of it), teeth and facial muscles from constant pressure, strain and secondary inflammation. The TMJ mouth guard can provide eased muscle function, relieving the associated pain caused by excessive clenching or an imbalanced occlusion (biting pattern).

What’s the difference between the different types of TMJ splints (night guards) available?

Occluding and Non-occluding splints

An occluding splint focuses on the alignment of both upper and lower teeth. This type of splint needs to be purchased through the dental office as your occlusion (biting relationship between your upper and lower teeth) is carefully guided through a series of adjustments.

Nonoccluding splints are your average type of bite splint and are non-complex appliances. You can purchase non-occluding splints online at a fraction of the dental office cost. In many cases, a non-occluding splint will provide the relief you need and prevent TMJD from getting worse. Do not continue wearing a night guard appliance or splint if your symptoms worsen or do not improve. A reputable online night guard lab should have a return policy so that you can return the appliance so that you can process a refund on the appliance if it is not working properly.

Most dentists and experts agree that a conservative approach to treating TMJ pain (avoiding surgery and using a splint first) is the best option.

TMJ fact: Women are more prone to TMJ disorder than men.

How does a mouth guard for TMJ help?

It prevents the teeth from making direct contact with each other and your muscles from fully contracting.

Mouthguards are useful for muscle pain relief when it comes to the ones responsible for chewing and clenching. The disruption in contact and muscle contraction “forces” your jaw and teeth into a relaxed position. As a result, the condyles (extensions off your mandible, near the TMJ) can rest in a centric position.

  • Relaxes muscles
  • Reduces TMJ constrictions
  • Eases pain and discomfort
  • Helps with limited range of motion (in some cases)

A TMJ mouthguard is typically fabricated out of hard acrylic or acrylic-like material, so that it can withstand everyday wear and tear for long periods of time.

“What happens if I don’t wear a TMJ mouth guard?”

Problems relating to TMD tend to compound and get worse, rather than resolve on their own. If the TMJD is caused by teeth grinding or clenching, the constant wear and tear can make you vulnerable to gum recession, enamel wear and broken dental work.

Are there Risks and Complications from Wearing a Dental Night Guard?

It’s crucial to make sure your night guard fits properly. Most dentists discourage the use of store bought “one size fits all” night guard types. However, certain designs do work well for the typical TMJ patient.

That being said, there are a few things you need to be aware of before buying a mouthguard. An improperly-fitted night guard can cause changes in your bite that can result in additional jaw pain. A night guard that is too tight can cause pressure on specific teeth, causing them to move.

Sometimes custom made night guards have rough edges that can protrude and irritate the gums/tongue/cheek. These can be smoothed down during an adjustment by a technician.

“How can I stop my TMJ?”

There is no “single cure” for TMJ disorder. Even surgery is not guaranteed to solve the problem and should be used as a last resort.

Check the TMJ discussion boards in the community TMJ forums online to read some real life stories and experiences with jaw surgery for TMJ. In some cases, it has worked beautifully. In other cases, it seems to have not worked at all or has made the situation even worse. Do your research if you’re considering surgery!

Help Yourself First!

It is treatable (manageable). Treatment includes hot and cold paks, sleeping on the side, eating soft food, avoiding chewing gum, decreasing stress, relaxation techniques and wearing a mouth guard nightly.

There is counseling available as well as therapeutic jaw exercises that can be taught. This is a self exercise treatment that can increase mouth opening range and decrease pain.

Keep in mind that physical activities like moving heavy furniture or weight lifting can aggravate TMJ. Be aware of your actions. Are you clenching or grinding your teeth during the day? Try to keep the jaw relaxed.

Therapies

Non-surgical treatment should always be considered first.

Arthroscopy means “to look within the joint”. Small incision instead of large incision. This procedure allows the surgeon to see cartilage and bone. Using small instruments, a video lens and light, the surgeon sees within the jaw joint. Possibly can fix a misalignment issue on the spot (if there is one), has the ability to removes inflamed tissue. Patient can go home same day.

Open Joint Surgery involves a cut in the front of the ear to expose jaw joint. Surgery can last one hour to several hours depending on complexity. This type of surgery can re-position slipped cartilage,  repair injured tissue and replace a joint entirely.

Wearing a mouth guard is a preventative measure. In most cases, you can prevent any further damage by wearing a night guard consistently. It can be a very effective way to manage your TMJD.

Studies and Trials

Temporomandibular implant devices. This surgery is strongly urged as a last resort ONLY. Studies have shown some success but overall have not reduced the pain associated with TMD.

Don’t want surgery?

Wearing a mouthguard is a preventative measure as well as therapeutic. In most cases, you can prevent additional damage by wearing a night guard. In the majority of TMJ cases, it’s one of-if not the- best way to manage your symptoms.

Medically reviewed by:

Sharon Boyd, MA, BS, RDH has over 20 years of experience in the dental health industry. Her focus on preventative care techniques helps empower patients to reduce their need for extensive treatments and extend the lifetime of their natural teeth. LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharonboydrdh/Website: https://www.dentaspeak.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Dentaspeak/

white teeth make lip color pop

How a Whiter Smile Can Have an Effect on Makeup

You may have come across many articles discussing the opposite if this headline like, How Makeup Can Make Your Smile Look Whiter or 5 Lip Shades That Will Make Your Teeth Pop This Holiday Season

While it is certainly true that the right, bright shade of lipstick can make the teeth appear whiter, the more common result of wearing a bright or dark lipstick is that it draws attention to the mouth and simply accentuates what is already there.

If the teeth are already stained, focusing on a whiter smile first to enhance your natural beauty is hands down the way to get that wow factor you’ve been looking for. Once your teeth have been whitened, applying makeup including or excluding a seasonal lip color will make that new, white beautiful smile pop!

Most of us have picked up a few good makeup tips & tricks over the years.

My Mema used to say “If there’s only one thing you can put on your face, it better be a nice red lipstick.” But red lipstick and yellow teeth? Not such a great match.

So what’s a girl to do? Focus on a whiter smile first. Then build on that.

Why whiten your teeth in the first place?

Our teeth naturally darken over time. Drinking tea, wine or coffee daily can cause the teeth to yellow. All sorts of foods and drinks stain our teeth. For example, blueberries, beets, curry, tomato sauce, certain candies, soda, Gatorade are all delicious yet yellowing culprits.

Studies have shown that we humans have a positive response to a bright smile.

We attribute many characteristics (albeit presumptuous and possibly incorrect) to a nice set of pearly whites. This includes attractiveness, a certain level of assumed success, cleanliness and good oral hygiene. Hey, I know how this sounds BUT it’s a material world and I am a material girl.

Remember: Don’t let your makeup enhance your smile. Let your smile enhance your makeup.

Tips to Keep Your Teeth Bright and White

  • Whiten your teeth! There are hundreds of whitening products online all claiming to do a better job than the other at whitening your teeth. Be leery of high concentration of peroxides and bleaches as it can cause severe tooth sensitivity. Whitening your teeth with a safe, dentist recommended gel and using custom made trays will minimize contact with the gums (which can cause irritation) and has been proven to be the quickest, most effective way to whiten the teeth.
  • Brush your teeth often and use an electric toothbrush-not a manual. The cleanse you get from a good electric toothbrush is far superior.
  • Avoid coffee or red wines. Easier said than done, I know. If you simply can’t skip it, try drinking from a straw instead and/or brush your teeth soon after finishing your drink.
  • Eat super foods that help whiten your smile. Strawberries contain malic acid which is a natural whitening agent!
  • Stick to blue toned lip colors. Blue toned lip colors to bring out that white smile while more yellow tones enhance imperfections.

A whiter smile is worth investing in. Take care of your teeth and smile with confidence. We are here to help! Have a question or comment? You can also visit our website for dental night guards, athletic mouthguards and more! Feel free to comment below or email us at [email protected]

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.

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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.