custom dental night guard occlusal guard

5 Reasons Not To Pay A Dentist To Make Your Custom Dental Night Guard

A Quick Note On The Information Provided:

We strive to provide the most accurate information possible. The dental night guard (sometimes referred to as occlusal guard) suggested in this article are basic appliances used to alleviate teeth grinding (bruxism), jaw clenching and to protect your veneers, crowns and bridges. They can even be worn as an anti-aging device.

Some individuals may require more complex custom dental night guards. Some custom made occlusal guards can be used to treat issues such as jaw alignment, severe TMJ and tooth misalignment. A licensed dentist will be able to evaluate and determine which dental guard is best suited for your needs.

Custom Dental Night Guards

occlusal guard

In a dental office the average cost of the occlusal guard can be anywhere from $300-$1000. Online you can get them for as low as $80. What gives? People are even applying for Care Credit (a medical credit card through their dentist) to pay for the custom fit dental night guard (sometimes called an occlusal guard). As if our society isn’t in enough debt, it’s everyday situations like these that make things even worse.

I was watching a documentary from director Tom Shadyac (of Ace Ventura) called “I Am”. Its good stuff! Watch it if you get a chance! The film 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 (human beings) get into this mindset of “needing 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 one tiny person I won’t tackle that giant. Maybe later. Right now, I just want to focus on a speck amongst a big giant blob of a problem.

The Dentist and their dental night guards.

Below are five top reasons you should not let a dentist make your dental night guard (occlusal guard) for clenching or teeth grinding. Unless ,of course, you can talk them down to a reasonable price.

1. You Can Get Your Dental Night Guard from 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 process or material used to make the guard. None! Do not think you are getting a better quality guard through a dentist because you were duped into paying a premium for it. It’s a sham, a ruse, a hoodwink!.

Whether you’re dealing with nighttime or daytime jaw clenching, teeth grinding, protecting your new veneers or tongue biting, a lab made occlusal night guard will protect your teeth from physical harm. Even if you go through a dentist, most likely they will send it to a dental lab and their fee is less than a quarter of what the dentist is going to charge you.

Did you know?

Avoid the urge to buy cheap type ‘one size fits all’ 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.

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2. No Guarantee

Most dental offices offer no replacement warranty or satisfaction guarantee.

Let’s say you pay $500 (or more) for a night guard. You then go on vacation and stay at a nice hotel. You wear your new night guard like you’re supposed to only to come back home and realize HOLY CRAP! You left that $500 night guard in the hotel bathroom!

You call the hotel. However, they cannot find your night guard anywhere! You call your dentist. They offer to make you a new one at a discounted price. They still have a stone mold of your teeth on file after all. How gracious of them. You shell out another $250 for a brand new night guard. 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.

Want to switch 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.” Even then if you still say 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 Sentinel Mouthguards is that we will work with you to guarantee you have the right night guard. This includes trying a different material type, changing dental guard thickness, switching to a lower guard instead of an upper. Example situation: Customer orders a hard night guard but has issues getting used to the material. Decides to switch to the soft type instead under our 90 day satisfaction guarantee. Try to find another dental night guard company that will do that!

3. Insurance Probably Won’t Cover You

9 times out of 10 the dental 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 dental night guard. Insurance companies don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars for something non-invasive and pretty inexpensive to make so why should you? If you have ever been confused by your own dental insurance plan you are not alone.

While your dental insurance may not cover you, your HSA (Health Savings Account) & FSA (Flexible Spending Account) credit cards can be used for dental night guard and retainer purchases.

4. Your Dental Night Guard Is Being Made By Someone Other Than Your Dentist.

The dentist does not make your night guard.

Nope. They do not. I know, I know. You are crushed right?? I mean, if I’m paying several hundred dollars for a professionally made custom fit dental night guard, I want my dentist to be back in the lab constructing and cutting and polishing and doing everything to make my perfect fitting appliance. Instead, the dentist sends the dental impression (that most often THEY didn’t take. I’ll bet my last dollar a dental assistant took your dental impression) off to a dental lab.

FACT: Even when your impression is sent off to a dental lab, that lab makes many other appliances and does not specialize in night guard creation alone. They are busy creating far more expensive and intricate dental prosthetics such as dentures, partials, flippers, crowns and bridges. The night guard is low on their to- do list. The lab has possibly hundreds of orders and they don’t take the time because your night guard is going to go back to your dentist who is supposed to make tweaks and adjustments.

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.”

sentinel mouthguard company logo

Our team cares. We are a specialized dental 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 like a glove before shipment.

5. You Can Take Your Dental Impression Yourself.

You are perfectly capable of taking your own dental impression.

dental night guard

We’re 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 were, dental assistants all over the world would be struggling daily.

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, loose dental work or if you have braces.

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. Some dental assistants forget to rinse the plastic alginate trays after removing from cold sterilization. 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 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 are asked is which thickness to choose. The 2mm thickness is the most common choice. Just to give you a reference point, 2mm is about the thickness of a Nickel coin.

If you’re a heavy grinder you may need a more durable 3mm night guard. The 1mm is very thin and typically recommended for daytime use. Remember, any of our dental night 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 occlusal guard (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. 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 occlusal 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 one year from the purchase date. Place a new order.

Be sure to use coupon code alreadyhavestone to receive 20% off your order. Upon receipt of new order we will pull your existing dental impression on file and get to work!

So There You Have It Folks

Many consumers tell us that they have ordered a night guard from their dentist only to be disappointed in the fit, usefulness and ability to wear it comfortably at night. If you do decide to cough up the cash and pay a dentist then you should be certain that they are going to 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. For example the NTI night guard, is controversial in its usefulness and effectiveness. Some even say the small device is dangerous because of the potential to swallow it during sleep. Yet it’s popular. Some dentists ONLY make the NTI guard in their office. Others swear against the use of it.

TMJ is one twisted issue. Everyone is different and dental anatomy, habits and pathology vary widely from person to person. You may very well have to go through some trial and error to gain control of your bruxism and/or TMJ.

If you opt to 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.

sentinel night guard packaged

Mouth Guard for Grinding Teeth and Clenching

The need to find a mouth guard for grinding teeth is usually the result of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as Bruxism. Why is a professionally custom made mouth guard for teeth grinding (based on a dental impression of your teeth) the preferred choice to help relieve Bruxism?

  1. Bruxism is excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw.

Bruxism is an oral parafunctional activity; i.e., not an activity related to normal function such as eating or talking. Bruxism is a common problem: reports of prevalence range from 8–31% in the general population.   

Note* Sleep bruxism can be definitively diagnosed in a sleep laboratory by means of a costly test called polysomnographic recordings.

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The Dental Mouth Guard for Teeth Grinding and Jaw Clenching

They are called many names. The occlusal guard, night guard, nocturnal bite plate, dental guard, night/mouth guard for teeth grinding, and bite splint are the most common terms used. A true custom fit mouth guard for teeth grinding is made by taking a dental impression of your teeth. A stone replica of your exact dental anatomy is then made from your impression. The difference between a custom made dental guard and a stock type that you would by in the store is quite significant. The main problem with the “one size fits all” type is that mouths (in general) are not one size. Men typically have bigger mouths than women. A teenager vs an adult is going to be a completely different size. The arch of teeth can vary greatly from person to person. So when you buy an over the counter type (even the boil & bite guards), disappointment usually follows. Most common complaints include being “too bulky”, “uncomfortable to sleep in”, “falls out during the night” etc.

“Do I really have to wear a night guard if I grind my teeth?”

If you must wear a mouth guard for teeth grinding (and let us warn you, if you are grinding/clenching your teeth night after night, you really do need to be wearing a night guard) your best bet is to get professionally fitted and have a custom night guard made from either a dental lab online or your local dental office.

If cost is an issue, you can go through a night guard lab like ours online. By going this route, you can order directly through the night guard company. Your online night guard lab will ship out a do it yourself impression kit (consists of mixing putty and a plastic tray). You take your own dental impression and mail it back to the company. Your true custom night guard will be processed and shipped to you. Cost varies from company to company but you can expect to pay somewhere between $100-$200 for a custom mouth guard for grinding teeth.

Be sure to choose an online lab that will work with you to make sure that you end up with the right guard for you.

Here at Sentinel Mouthguard Co. we make sure that you are completely satisfied with your purchase or your MONEY BACK. 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.

Now if you go through your local dental office, expect to pay a good amount more. Dental office prices GREATLY vary (from $300-$1200). More on this here–the pros and cons of online dental night guard labs vs the dental office

sentinel hard dental night guard
Finding Types of Mouth Guard For Teeth Grinding and Clenching That Is Right For You

When you start to shop for a custom night guard, you may become confused about which one to choose. How do you know if you need a hard type or a soft type? What exactly is a dual laminated night guard? What if you grind your teeth during the day? Do you need to be wearing a day time guard as well? Most of all, will any of these guards be comfortable enough during sleep?

These are all important questions and we’ve noticed that people are searching the web for answers quite frequently but the information that is being put out there on the web is often times conflicting and vague.

Here we will attempt to answer these questions in more detail.

So how do you know if you need a hard night guard, a soft one or the dual laminate type?

Here’s the not so great news. Even dentists can’t all agree on which mouth guard for grinding teeth is better. You should seek to evaluate your own teeth grinding habits and make a guided choice based on what you know about your own particular situation. Establish what type of teeth grinder/jaw clencher you are. A dentist can look at your teeth and tell you if you’re doing short & long term damage to your teeth. Instinctively, you may also know if you’re doing some serious damage to your teeth. If you wake up every day (for instance) with mouth/jaw/teeth soreness and a headache, you should look into purchasing a night guard.

But wait! There is good news!

The good news is, any type of properly fitted, custom made night guard will protect your teeth from direct tooth on tooth contact, preventing teeth damage and effects that are associated with teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching (such as headaches, jaw pain, facial pain).

Let’s begin!

Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard

sentinel soft dental night guard

Soft Dental Night Guard Review

If you grind your teeth, you may be all too familiar with waking up in the morning with painful jaws and a headache.  So far, nothing protects your teeth more than a custom mouth guard. The mouth guard for teeth grinding is not like the typical sports mouth guard; rather it is a dental night guard. Among the available dental guards on the market, the soft dental night guard stands as the most common type used.

A Soft Dental mouth guard for grinding teeth?

Types and features of soft dental night guard

There are two main types of the soft dental night guard. You have the over-the-counter (store bought) and the custom-made night guard.

Custom vs. store bought

The custom made night guard is a special guard that is professionally modified to fit the dental structure of the patient. This one will ensure that the teeth do not grind and that you sleep comfortably without any pain. The custom made guards are quite comfortable and also, they help to prevent the soreness, headaches, and jaw pain.

The store-bought night guards are pre-designed to fit every type of dental structures. Because these are mass produced, they may not be as comfortable as the custom made. Most of the one size fits all guards have a default size and fit. Also, the material used is a lesser quality than the custom made dental night guards and wears down much quicker.

Pros and cons of the soft night guard

The Pros
The soft night guard tends to be the most comfortable. Even if you try grinding your teeth while you have the guard on, there is no way your teeth will be damaged. The custom made soft guards are designed to fit the exact structure of the teeth and are totally flexible. Compared to the hard and dual laminated guards, these tend to be more adaptable and easier to get used to.

The Cons
Though the soft dental guards are comfortable in the mouth, some people may innately want to clench or grind on the soft material. One study has shown that some of the patients using the soft dental guards will attempt to chew the guard and also may grind their teeth more often. Another negative is that the soft dental guard has a limited lifespan. Most of the companies (including Sentinel Mouth Guards) that develop the soft night guard will terminate their warranty after six months. The other types of dental guards are more stable, and they can last for a longer time than the soft dental guards.

What are dentists saying about the soft night guard?
Regardless of the few flaws of the soft dental night guard, they are the most common types of guards on the market. These night guards are recommended by many dentists due to their easy adaptability and high customer satisfaction rate. Dentists highly advise patients to go for the custom-made guards so keep in mind that a soft custom made night guard is still far superior to store bought “one size fits all” brands. Choosing a professionally custom made night guard helps to enhance the comfort and limit the grinding. The guard also feels more comfortable than the over-the-counter guards. The soft dental night guard is an excellent choice if you have teeth grinding or clenching issues when sleeping.

Key points about the soft guard

  • Still the most common type produced in dental offices
  • High customer satisfaction rate
  • Many customers believe the soft guard to be the most comfortable
  • This soft type has generally been the most common style of night guard produced in dental offices but recent research has indicated that the soft material may actually encourage grinding or clenching by up to 50%. The cases that have been reported/studied show that this new revelation is more prevalent with the thicker stock or boil & bite guards (such as when a person buys an over the counter mouthguard and tries to conform it to their teeth). However, you should still be aware of this risk when deciding on which guard to choose.
  • The professionally made custom soft guards are small & comfortable but may wear down a bit quicker than the dual laminated and hard acrylic guards (depends on the degree of your grinding or clenching habits).
  • Sentinel Mouthguard Co offers a 6 month replacement warranty on this guard type in the event that you grind through your guard or it becomes defective.

Sentinel Hard Dental Night Guard

custom mouth guard

The hard acrylic-like night guard is small & low profile yet very durable. It is generally recommended for moderate to extreme grinders/clenchers or persons suffering from TMJ. Be aware that teeth may shift overtime. A hard acrylic dental guard does not allow much “wiggle room” for ANY changes to the teeth. So think about this when you’re making your decision. If you plan on having work done in the future that could change your dental anatomy (new crown, bridge, bonding, implants, veneers, even cavities being filled could alter your anatomy enough to change how your night guard fits) consider getting a night guard made for the opposing arch or choose a different (more adaptable) type.

In addition to wearing a hard night guard, you may need to seek additional treatment (if suffering from TMJ). In some cases, a special type of night guard that could involve ramps and/or metal clasps may need to be made from your dentist/TMJ specialist. If you’re experiencing alignment issues or if you know you suffer from TMJ please consult with a dentist before ordering a night guard online. Sentinel Mouthguards offers a 1 year replacement warranty on this guard type in the event that you grind through your guard or it becomes defective.

Hard night guard key points

  • non-flexible
  • durable
  • not bulky, snaps into place
  • can prevent teeth shifting if worn consistently
  • Sentinel Mouthguard Co offers a 1 year replacement warranty on this guard type in the event that you grind through your guard or it becomes defective


Sentinel Dual Laminated Dental Night Guard

lower mouth guard for teeth grinding

This guard type is relatively new on the scene. It combines two layers of material (a soft inside and a hard acrylic outside). It’s going to be a just a wee bit thicker than the hard acrylic guard. This nightime guard can handle heavy jaw clenching/teeth grinding. The soft plastic is comfortable against the teeth and the hard outside acts as a protective shell. Customer feedback has given us some insight into the preference of the general public. We have found that most people are extremely happy with the fit of the dual laminated night guard. Sentinel Mouthguards offers a 1 year replacement warranty on this guard type in the event that you grind through your guard or it becomes defective.

Pro tip: Sentinel Mouthguard Co. guarantees 100% satisfaction. If you choose a guard and you’re not happy with it, we will make you a different type free of charge.

Dual Laminated Night Guard Key Points• semi-flexible appliance

• rates #1 in overall customer satisfaction, comfort and durability

• Sentinel Mouthguard Co offers a 1 year replacement warranty on this guard type in the event that you grind through your guard or it becomes defective.

• must keep this appliance dry between uses as layers can separate if soaked in overnight cleaning solution or left with water sitting in the teeth compartments.

When deciding on an upper or lower guard, there may be some obvious factors that will dictate your decision. For instance, if you’re missing teeth on either the upper or lower set, you will want to choose the set that has more. Or if you know you’re grinding your teeth, and you need to get a night guard quickly but you have some upcoming dental work on your upper teeth that may change your dental anatomy, you will want to go with the lower teeth(or vice versa). Same thing with loose teeth, or loose crowns/bridge work, etc- You’ll want to choose an opposing guard and avoid the potential to loosen that dental work with the continuous use of a tight fitting night guard.

Now, if you have all of your nice solid teeth on both the upper and lower and no plans for upcoming dental work, it really just comes down to preference. The upper guard has been the “go to” choice for many but if you think a lower guard would feel more comfortable then go for it. We’ve had many customers say that they prefer the lower mouth guard for grinding teeth over the upper as it tends to be smaller and less obtrusive. *note-  if you’re a tongue thruster you may be inclined to lift the edge of your lower night guard with your tongue (something to consider).

sentinel dual laminate night guard

Are Night Guards BPA Free? Latex Free? What Are Night Guards Made Of?

Most night guards are made from EVA material (Ethylene-vinyl acetate (also known as EVA) is the copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate).The material is BPA free and latex free & is not considered hazardous or toxic by OSHA per 29 CFR 1910.

For good measure, you can always ask your dentist or night guard lab to supply information regarding the materials used in the fabrication of your sleep device.

Sentinel Mouth Guards are made with Proform materials. The material is BPA free and latex free & is not considered hazardous or toxic by OSHA per 29 CFR 1910.

tmj mouth guard

The Best Mouth Guard for TMJ

TMJ Mouth Guard

What should I look for when shopping for a TMJ mouth guard? First, it is important to note the umbrella term that is used to cover all problems relating to TMJ is actually called TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorders. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint.

“What is TMJ  and do I have it?”

tmj mouth guard

So technically, you would not have TMJ. You would have TMD and you would need a mouth guard to treat your TMJ. But you didn’t come here for a lesson in medical terminology. You’re having jaw pain and you are looking for the best mouth guard for TMJ (Ahem, TMD).

Let’s begin!

TMJ is an important joint. It allows you to eat, talk, sing and yell at your kids! Every time we open or close our mouth or go side to side we are using this joint. It is estimated that 6 percent of women and 3 percent of men have TMJ issues.

There are multiple reasons why TMJ disorders can occur.

Your TMJ may be caused by

  • teeth grinding, teeth clenching,
  • jaw posturing, abnormal occlusion (poor teeth alignment), misaligned bite
  • stress, anxiety
  • abnormalities of the intra-articular disk
  • People who have experienced bone or cartilage loss (arthritis) can often become susceptible to TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder)

A dentist can properly diagnose you by listening and feeling your jaw for clicking and popping.

Clicking in the jaw is extremely common and most of the time, if it is painless, it’s not a problem. An examination typically involves having you open and close your mouth. The dentist will observe the range of motion in your jaw. They will also feel areas of your jaw by pressing on certain points. A CT scan may also show that you have TMJD by providing detailed images of the bones and joints. An MRI can show disk problems or abnormalities.

During a bruxing session, the teeth can emit forces up to 6x more than normal chewing.

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

There is a lot that is unknown about this disorder. There are some great community support groups for TMD online that have real people discussing their real stories and sharing their journey through what can be a very difficult disorder. If you have TMD, think about joining the group and start reading  others’ stories. The path to a resolution may be closer than you think.

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

The answer to this depends on the cause of your TMJ.

If your TMJ is being caused by jaw clenching or teeth grinding, a mouth guard may provide immediate relief from jaw and/or teeth pain and facial soreness.

If your TMJ is being prompted by uneven teeth (chewing) surfaces or missing teeth that is causing your bite to be “off” a simple dental procedure may relieve the TMJ.

However, TMJ issues can be more complex and may require more extensive work (even sometimes surgery of the jaw) that involves weeks sometimes months before relief is felt.

Some good news!

TMJ issues have been known to go away with time. Some people experience TMJ issues for a brief time in their life and the symptoms simply disappear with time.

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

  • pain in the TMJ
  • teeth pain, headache
  • clicking or popping sounds during motion
  • sensitive teeth
  • possible limitations in range of motion
  • possible dysfunction including jaw misalignment

“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 mouth guard is to protect the TMJ discs from dysfunctional forces that may lead to inflammation or permanent damage. A TMJ mouth guard can also improve jaw-muscle function and relieve associated pain by creating a stable balanced occlusion.

The difference between types of splints (night guards):

Occluding and non occluding splints

Occluding splint focuses on the alignment of both the upper and lower teeth. These types need to be purchased through the dental office as the occlusion is carefully guided through a series of adjustments.

Non occluding splints are non-complex appliances. These are sometimes called simple splints.

You can purchase non occluding splints online at a fraction of the dental office cost. In many cases, a non occluding splint will work to provide the relief you need and prevent TMJD from worsening. Do not continue to wear a night guard appliance/splint if symptoms get worse or do not improve. A reputable night guard lab online should have a great return policy so that you can return the appliance if it is not working for you.

Sometimes an occluding appliance will have a better result or if you have alignment issues, you may need a repositioning appliance. Both of these type must be fabricated through a dental office or a TMJ specialist.

There is little to no argument that a conservative approach (avoiding surgery and trying the splint first) is the best course of action.

Interesting Factoid! TMJ affects more women than men

How does a mouth guard for TMJ help?

It prevents the teeth from making direct contact with each other.

The disruption in contact forces the teeth to take a much needed break from each other and in turn allows the condyles to sit in a centric position.

It is useful for masticatory muscle pain relief. A TMJ mouth guard is typically fabricated out of hard acrylic or acrylic-like material.

  • Relieves TMJ Pain
  • Reduces or eliminates TMJ noises such as popping and/or clicking
  • Relief from restricted jaw mobility

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

Problems will persist and can quickly get worse. If the TMJD is being caused by teeth grinding or clenching, you’re going to continue to become more vulnerable to cavities, gum recession

“How can I stop my TMJ?”

To date, there is no known cure for TMJ. Even surgery is not guaranteed.

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 considering surgery!

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.

Even 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.

Process of elimination

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 reposition slipped cartilage,  repair injured tissue, replace entire joint.

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

Do you a TMJ story to share or just want to say hello? We would love to hear from you!

Email us at or chat with us via Livechat 9am-5pm Mon-Fri Eastern Time

Feel free to comment below.

dental retainer vs dental night guard

What Is The Difference Between a Dental Retainer vs. Dental Night Guard?

Dental Night Guard vs. Dental Retainer

“What is the difference between the two?”

After braces, the teeth are highly susceptible to movement/shifting as they just underwent some intense re-positioning and even though your new, beautifully straight teeth may look like they’re here to stay, your freshly positioned dental anatomy is still trying to find its way. That’s why it is imperative to wear dental retainers as directed by your dentist. These dental retainers will keep your teeth in their new desirable position while the teeth and surrounding gum tissue heals.

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Sentinel Mouthguards upper and lower dental retainers Price $129 Free all-inclusive shipping in the USA. Here at Sentinel, customers often ask “Can I wear my dental retainers as a night guard as well?”

The dental retainers will serve to protect your teeth from direct tooth-on-tooth grinding but the thin material may not be durable enough to withstand the forces of your teeth and jaw for very long. Additionally, the dental retainer will lack the jaw support you may need to get facial/jaw pain relief. If you’re a heavy grinder or jaw clencher you may find yourself replacing your dental retainers throughout the course of time that you are made to wear them.

We offer a free dental retainer replacement up to one year from purchase if you wear through your retainers. 

Remember! Teeth can take up to one year or more to stabilize after braces.
Once you have been cleared to set the retainers aside, you may find that your bruxism disorder is still in full swing. If you are grinding or clenching, you will most likely need to continue to wear an appliance that will protect your teeth (aka custom night guard). Now, a night guard is not typically worn on both teeth arches. You will need to first decide whether you should wear an upper or lower guard.

“I only had invisalign (braces) on one teeth arch (upper teeth) so I only have to wear a dental retainer on just my upper teeth. Will this still protect my teeth from the grinding problem?”

sentinel dental retainersYou are still breaking up that direct tooth on tooth contact so you are giving your teeth protection from one another. However, (again) the durability of the thin dental retainer is not great and it will wear quickly. Also, the need for jaw support is still not being resolved through the use of the lone dental retainer. The best solution would be to wear a dental retainer on the upper and lower teeth because:

  1. Your teeth may shift naturally and if you’re only keeping the upper teeth in their current, your bite may soon be out of whack as your upper teeth are staying the same but your lower teeth are shifting and
  2. If you’re wearing thin dental retainers on both the upper and lower teeth, these appliances can sometimes be worn effectively in lieu of a dental night guard.

If you have finished wearing braces, keep this in mind: Your dentist worked very hard during your orthodontic treatment to make sure that not only your teeth reach optimal results but that your bite is correct. It’s important to wear upper and lower retainers to keep the bite correctly positioned.

“Can I use my night guard as a dental retainer then?”

A hard night guard will act to keep the teeth in position. It must be a completely hard night guard device in order to keep the teeth from shifting. A soft night guard will be of no use in keeping the teeth in a desired position. However, it would be too thick to wear on both the upper and lower teeth (refer back to answer to first question).

“What does a night guard do that a dental retainer doesn’t?”

Dental retainer vs. night guard
A 2mm or thicker night guard will offer the durability you may need to combat against heavy teeth grinding or clenching. Additionally, it will offer the jaw support needed to have relief from your aching jaw muscles.
Night guards come in a variety of material types, thicknesses and methods of fabrication. The Sentinel Night Guard is available as a soft, hard or dual laminate (hybrid) type. The hard material will act as a teeth stabilizer and may be a wise choice if your teeth are prone to shifting.

“Is there anything I can do to lessen the severity of my teeth grinding?”
To date, there is no known cure for bruxism. Sometimes people will grind or clench severely and then stop it all together only to pick it up again several months or years down the road. Stress seems to play a big factor in teeth grinding. There are some things that can be effective in easing the intensity of the action. These include lessening or eliminating caffeine/alcohol/drug intake, and lowering stress levels. Sleep positions can also be a factor. NATHAN J. PETTIT DMD suggests Sleeping on your back is going to be the best position if you suffer from TMD or orofacial pain. Lying on your back has a number of benefits view his full article. 

Other suggested tips for stopping teeth grinding

Have questions about ordering your custom night guard or dental retainer set online?

Most people have a few questions before ordering their custom night guard online. Here we attempt to answer the most common questions asked at Sentinel Mouthguards. The good news is: IT’S EASY and there are actually a lot of benefits to ordering direct from a dental lab that you don’t get when you go through a dental office (including saving hundreds of dollars).

Q: “I’m nervous about taking my own dental impression. What if I don’t get it right the first time?”
A: Taking your own dental impression is easy! If you don’t do it right the first time, no worries. We will send you out a redo kit for free.

Q: “Am I really ordering the type of night guard or dental retainer(s) my dentist wants to make for me?”
A: Absolutely. Night guard cost spans from $300-$1200 in a dental office. Have you ever wondered why the price range varies so widely from office to office?  We’ll tell you! It’s because dentists charge what they want. Now in their defense, they do typically have a lot more overhead than a direct dental lab.  But why should you pay so much for something that’s noninvasive and not terribly complicated to make?
*Please note that some dental night guards require special construction and you must go through a trained dentist. For instance, if your dentist is treating TMJ or misalignment, he/she may recommend a special type of night guard that could include building up certain areas of the guard, ramps or metal clasps to move your jaw or correct your bite. In these cases you should not order online. Check with your dentist to find out which type of night guard he/she recommends. If you’re in need of a basic, premium custom made night guard for your teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching you should be well to order a night guard through our online system.

Q: “What if my night guard or retainer(s) doesn’t fit correctly?”
If you give us a nice & accurate impression of your teeth, we will make you a great fitting custom night guard. Even then, an adjustment may still be needed (ex: my night guard feels really tight on one of my teeth). If you do need an adjustment, simply contact us to describe any issue you’re having & we will email you a prepaid shipping label. Print the return label and use to it to mail your guard back in to us. Upon receipt of your guard, we will promptly make any adjustments and send it back to you within (1) business day!

Q: “I see I can choose the thickness of my night guard. This is great but I don’t know which thickness to choose. How do I choose the right one?”

A: Short answer: The thicker your night guard the more durable it becomes but also (generally speaking) can be less comfortable as the thickness increases. 1mm is very thin and recommended for daytime grinders or clenchers (these types of bruxers typically do not do as much damage to the teeth during daylight hours). The 1mm can also be worn at night but could wear down more quickly (depending on an individuals’ bruxing habits). The 2mm is the most popular thickness for nighttime use. It is still thin and comfortable but offers the durability a light to moderate bruxer needs. For heavy teeth grinding or jaw clenching, a 3mm night guard should suffice. Please take a moment to read this article for more help on choosing your dental night guard thickness:

2mm Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard
Q: How do I know whether to choose an upper or lower night guard?

A: Most of the time. choosing an upper or lower teeth night guard will come down to personal preference. Whether the night guard is on your upper or lower teeth it will serve the same purpose and that is to protect both teeth arches from coming in direct contact with each other. Try asking your dentist whether he/she thinks an upper or lower night guard would work best for you. Also, use common sense. If you know you have some upcoming dental work on one of your teeth arches that will change your dental anatomy, don’t take a dental impression of that arch and have a custom fit night guard made. Choose the other arch or wait until your dental work is compete before taking your dental impression. Dentists answers vary greatly when asked their opinion on upper or lower night guards. 

You do not need to stretch your budget to pay for a night guard from the dental office. In fact, there are quite a few perks involved when ordering though Sentinel.

* We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back (14 day money back guarantee)

* We will work with you to your complete satisfaction. Even if this means you messed up your dental impression a gazillion times! We will make sure you get it right. Once you receive your night guard, if you have ANY problems with the fit we will take the necessary steps to make sure you end up with a great fitting night guard.

* We will replace your worn out night guard for up to 2 years from purchase date (on dual laminated and hard acrylic night guards) and up to 6 months for the soft night guard. Try to find a dentist who will do that!
* You will save hundreds ordering direct from the lab

* Free shipping including a convenient prepaid mailer to mail back your teeth impression

* We provide an online video for you to watch as well as simple written instructions. All you have to do is mix your putty in a timely manner, roll it up, place it into a plastic tray & submerge your teeth into it for 3 minutes.

That’s it!

Check out the Sentinel how to page for more info.
We appreciate you taking the time to read our latest article on dental retainers vs. night guards. Please feel free to comment and share!

walmart mouthguard

Custom Dentist Night Guard vs Oral-B Night, Dentek, & Walmart Brands

walmart mouthguardI see you. Lady in the dental hygiene section of Walmart. An Oral-B Night Guard in one hand. Doctor’s Choice Night Guard in the other.
You look perplexed. Confused.
I imagine you’re wondering if either Walmart mouth guard brand will work for you.
Is it a waste of $30?  You think of your last dental office visit and roll your eyes. $600 for a night guard?
Forget it. With an unsure shrug, you head to the cashier and hope for the best.

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone did the leg work for you and researched all the popular brands of over-the-counter dental night guards?

The Oral-B Dental Night Guard alone gets hundreds of google searches per day. People are wondering if these cheaper wal-mart mouth guard versions do the trick and we’re here to investigate.

So here’s what we did.

We went to the store and bought..well..all of them. All of the over-the-counter dental night guards are now in our possession. Okay, fine. We narrowed it down to five of the most popular store bought brands.

We will follow the instructions and mold each type on our teeth model. We’ll provide pictures and videos of the molding process (if any) as well as our findings and humble opinions. We’ll also continue to add to this article as new brands pop up on the market and/or if current manufacturers make any changes that would effect you and your decision to purchase.

First up!

The Oral-B Night Guard.

The Oral-B Dental Nighttime Guard packaging looks like this (Below)

Oral-B Night GuardYou will need a microwave, package contents & a mirror

Step #1 Place guard in your mouth to become familiar with placement. Remove guard.

Step#2 Put the mouth guard in the white case. Fill the white case with tap water and snap closed.

Step #3 Place filled/closed storage case for 1 minute 15 seconds on high setting

Step #4 Remove case by holding the front of the case. Be careful! It can be very hot.

Step #5 Flush the case with the vent holes for 3 seconds.

Step #6 Be sure to center the tray to match the middle of your teeth.

Step #7 Immediately pickup the guard and tray with two hands and place guard into your mouth.

Step #8 Firmly bite down into the guard and keep in place for 1 minute. Using your thumbs press the green tray into your molars and then press the fingers into the front teeth. Use pressure to make sure the guard forms to the teeth completely and evenly.

Step #9 Remove guard from mouth and place in water for 15 seconds

Step #10 Leave the molded guard in the green tray for 15 minutes while the material hardens

Step #11 After 15 minutes gently remove the guard from the tray by lifting from each open end working your way toward the front and center of the guard until it releases from the green tray.

That’s it! If the guard feels tight or loose you can repeat the process.


This guard is thinner than most store bought guards which is nice if comfort is your main concern.

You can get a good fit.


The durability is not as great because of the fact that the plastic is mass produced, cheap plastic. This is not the same quality of plastic that you find in a dental office or lab. You may wear through this guard much more quickly than a dentist quality night guard.

Average price of the Oral-B Night Guard is $14-$20

The verdict: This is our favorite of the store bought guards. For $16 it is worth a try. In any event, you get what you pay for but this store bought guard gets a big thumbs up from us!

The Doctor’s Night Guard

walmart mouth guard
Walmart mouth guard

Claims they’re different by having deeper channels (sides) for a more secure fit, a hard & smooth base for protection &
A slim & and flexible design so that you can sleep comfortably.

How you mold the night guard.
Step #1 Fill a microwave safe mug with water
Step #2 Heat in microwave for 30 Seconds
Step #3 Place your night guard face down in the water for 2 minutes.
Remove your night guard from the water with a fork so that you don’t burn yourself.
Step#4 Use a fork and place night guard on a plate and allow it to cool for 10 seconds. Take the plate to a mirror so that you can work with the use of a mirror.
Step #5 Pick the night guard up and place it in your mouth. Be sure to touch the base of the night guard only.
Step #6 Position the guard in your mouth and bite down. Use your fingers to form the guard around the outside of your teeth. Then use your fingers to smooth and mold the guard around the inside of your teeth.
Step #7 Bite down again and count to 30 seconds

You will know it is time to remove your night guard if it stays in place when you open your mouth.
Open your mouth fully and gently remove the night guard.

If it doesn’t fit properly the first time, go back to your instructions and try try again.

Average Price $30.00-$37.00

Verdict: Okay! The reviews on this one are not good. Many people say that they could not get a good fit EVER.
Even after multiple attempts. We advise that you research this one yourself. There are some nasty reviews about this product. We did not have a great experience with this one. A big thumbs down for the Doctor’s Choice Night Guard



Smart Guard

Image result for Smart Guard Nightguard
Smart Guard

What You Need To Mold Your Night Guard

You’ll need a coffee cup, a glass of cold water, metal fork, timer, and a mirror

Step #1 Push two tine of the fork into the open groove on the bottom hard part of the SmartGuard

Step #2 Place the mug of water in the microwave and heat to a boil.

Step #3 Once the water has reached boiling point, remove the mug from the microwave and submerge the SmartGuard in the water. Wait 50 seconds.

Do not allow the SmartGuard to touch the bottom or sides of the mug

Step #4 Take a large sip of cool water and swish it around in your mouth prior to taking the SmartGuard out of the hot water. Then dip your index finger and thumb into the cold water to prepare to hold the warm SmartGuard.

Step #5 Remove the smart guard from the fork.

Step #6 Insert the SmartGuard into your mouth. Make sure your thumbs are on the hard bottom part and push it up into place, Make sure the “V” part is lined up between the upper teeth.

Step #7 Bite down with medium pressure and suck the moisture out of the guard. Use your fingers to mold the front area. Keep the guard in your mouth for 90 seconds before removing.

Step #8 Rinse the guard in cold water for 15 seconds. Your mouth guard should be formed and ready for use.

Thoughts: It only covers the front portion of the teeth. It is bulky and does not seem to stay in place. 

What Amazon customers are saying:

2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn’t mold well to teeth

Can’t get a tight enough grip on my teeth, I followed instructions but it just falls out of my mouth and is completely ineffective.

.0 out of 5 stars Not comfortable.
on May 31, 2018
Verified Purchase
So bulky I had to throw it away. Not comfortable.

Moving on!

 Dental Duty Night Guard

With over 2800 Amazon reviews and an average of 4 stars per customer, we have high hopes for the Dental Duty Night Guard. Let’s get started!

The Dental Duty Night Guard separates itself by having two different styles to choose from.

What you need:

The mold itself, a paper towel, a spoon, a mirror, and rolling water already heated and ready to go.

Step #1 Pay attention to your time! 18-20 seconds is perfect. Now the key is to not leave the appliance out of the water too long before you make your mold. If it cools too much you will not be able to get a good imprint of the teeth.

Step #2 Place mouth guard into the water. Watch the time. Watch for the sides to start curling in.

Step #3 Remove from water. Place it on the paper towel. Separate the walls a bit. Place onto teeth and bite.

Step #4 With your mouth closed, apply pressure on the skin and mouth around the front of your teeth. (See picture)


PROS: It forms very well. The indentation is there. 

If you don’t do it right the first time, you can contact the company and they will send you another free of charge.

CONS: Lots of excess material. The height is too high. The inner area has a lot of excess plastic which can make it feel like there is too much material in the mouth to get a comfortable nights’ sleep. 




Dentek Professional Night Guarddentek custom night guard

Weighing in with over 1500 Amazon reviews and an average of 3.5 stars let’s see what this baby has to offer!

I immediately notice it is different than the others because it comes with a white plastic tray and the clear moldable night guard sits in the plastic “guiding” tray. The instructions are clear, easy and straight forward.

The guard is very bulky, soft and flexible. It is also a bit short in length. You will most likely not be able to include your molars (depending on mouth size).  It does have excess material on it (particularly in the lingual- tongue side). This can be uncomfortable as the excess material is a negative result of the “one size fits all” style.

The molding process took maybe 5 minutes total. It was quick and easy. I wondered though- If you mess up, can you remold? The outcome seemed pretty final.

How you mold the guard:

Step #1 Stand in front of a mirror and practice aligning/positioning the white plastic tray (it’s okay if the clear guard is inside the white tray) to your teeth.
Step #2 Place the appliance in a bowl of water face down. Microwave for 2 minutes .
Step #3 Rinse appliance for 3 seconds to cool down
Step #4 Submerge all the teeth into tray. Remember the position you practiced. Submerge the teeth and stay completely still for the full 2 minutes.
Step#5 Rinse the appliance in water for 20 seconds
Step #6 Remove guard from white tray gently.

the fit of the dentek brand mouthguards from walmart
Pictured:Dentek Professional Fit Maximum Protection. Can purchase at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid, Etc. Cost is between $14-20


It’s thick. About 5mm in the occlusal surfaces and has a flat bottom. Though there is some molding to the teeth that occurs after heating, the guard does not have the length to cover the 2nd molar and in a larger male it may not cover any molars at all. When people say “it feels like you’re biting down on a hockey puck” this may be what they mean.
I worry that the thickness and the lack of a solid fit could disrupt jaw alignment.

The verdict: This style may work for some but I worry about the thickness and resulting discomfort.



Now it’s time for the big baller.

The top tier in mouth protection.

custom made dental night guard


 (And the crowd goes wild!)

What makes this fella different? A lot actually. The material fits over your dental anatomy like a glove.

It is thin (no unnecessary bulk) and comfortable.

To take a dental impression of your teeth  you will need a timer, clean hands, a mirror, white & blue putty, and a plastic tray

While in front of the mirror, practice placing the plastic tray in your mouth and pretend to submerge the teeth. Practicing with the empty tray will familiarize you with placement.


Step #1 Mix putty quickly for 1 minute

Step #2 Roll putty in hotdog shape and place putty into tray. Smooth the putty.

Step #3 Submerge all the whites of your teeth. Hold completely still for the full 3 minutes.

Step # 4 Remove tray from mouth. Do not remove putty from tray.

Step #5  Place impression in clear bag provided and mail back to Sentinel Mouthguards, LLC.


Once the impression is received by the Sentinel Lab, your impression is checked in and a stone cast of your teeth is poured up.

Your stone cast is then trimmed and sprayed with a non-stick spray.

The stone mold is then loaded into the Drufomat scan. The Drufomat scan is a highly technical machine that combines  both high heat and pressure. The ProForm Night Guard material is placed in a circular ring above the stone mold. A timer is set and the heat begins to melt the material. A beep occurs and the shaft is then pressed down onto the stone mold. The high heat and pressure forms the material to the exact anatomy of the stone mold. This is why it is imperative to take an accurate impression of your teeth.

The custom fit of a lab made guard is unlike anything you can purchase in a store. The quality of the material is high and made to withstand intense grinding and/or clenching. The Sentinel Night Guard starts at $98 and the price ranges between $98 – $130 depending on which style you choose.

This is at a significantly lower cost than opting to buy through your dentist.


Professional, thin & comfortable fit, BPA, Silicon & Latex Free, 1 year warranty. High quality night guard material. Several material options to choose from (ranging from hard plastic to soft plastic). You can choose the thickness of your guard. Easy refund policy.


Must take an accurate mold of your teeth for the fit to be perfect. Pay special attention to the impression instructions. If for any reason you do not take your impression correctly the first time, Sentinel will mail you a re-do kit free of charge.


We hope you have found this article useful! If you have had experience with custom made night guards or store bought night guards and would like to share your story please use the comment section below! We are interactive and would love to chat with you!

sentinel mouthguards



1mm Lower Dental Night Guard

Where Can I Get a Dental Night Guard for Lower Teeth?

Dental Night Guard for Lower Teeth

“Is A Night Guard For Lower Teeth Better Than Upper Night Guards?”

Do you often grind your teeth when you sleep at night? A quick visit to the dentist will determine if you have nocturnal bruxism. Bruxism is a condition where constant grinding wears away your teeth’s enamel and causes other teeth problems such as waking up with headaches, jaw pain and cracked teeth.

Custom Night Guard

Protect Your Teeth

Shop Now

Your dentist may prescribe a night guard in order to prevent further teeth damage. Many dentists will naturally be inclined to make you a night guard to be worn for your upper teeth. He/she may have a good reason why but sometimes it’s more out of habit as night guards are most commonly made for upper teeth. Patients may not know they have an option to have a lower night guard made. Some people find the lower teeth guard to be far more comfortable and tolerable. Either choice works by acting as a type of cushion or barrier between your upper and lower teeth. Instead of grinding directly against one another, the night guard ensures the teeth do not make contact with each another, preventing further damage. Ask your dentist if a lower night guard may be an option for you. Your dentist will know which type is best suited for your unique needs.

“But which one works best? An upper night guard or a night guard for lower teeth?”


night guard for lower teeth
Benefits Of Wearing a Night Guard For Lower Teeth

  • Reduced Gagging Reflex
Sensitive gag reflex- Some upper night guard users take out their night guard because they find themselves feeling the need to gag which makes it hard to sleep. In these cases, a lower night may reduce the susceptibility to invoking the gag reflex.
  • Better Tolerance
A lot of users have reported that wearing a lower night guard is more comfortable for them. Dentists agree that a lower guard can be better tolerated and increases ease of wear for some of their patients. Sometimes the tongue gets in the habit of feeling the upper night guard constantly, which leads to irritation, but a lower guard can make the tongue adapt better. The Differences Between An Upper And Lower Night Guard
night guard for lower teeth mouth guard

Almost all night guards are made from materials such as vinyl, acrylic, rubber or acetate. You should check and make sure that the dental appliance you’re getting is latex, silicon and BPA-free. A good night guard is one that fits snugly and doesn’t slip. It’s better to have one made in a professional lab as compared to night guards that are bought in stores.

Night guards for the upper and lower teeth can be made to address the grinding problem, but wearing both an upper and lower night guard at the same time is typically not recommended.

In common bruxism cases, either night guard (upper or lower) will work the same way and therefore provide identical results.

The reason why upper night guards are a popular option is because night guards were originally created for the upper teeth. Dentists and labs tend to be quite slow to adapt to the usage and acceptance of lower night guards across the industry by habit. Today, many dentists are recommending the use of lower night guards for the benefits they provide to the wearer.

Overall, the design of your night guard will depend upon several personal factors such as your bite, comfort level and your dentist’s preference, among others. Traditionally, upper guards may be recommended due to the fact that they can’t easily be removed as compared to lower arches. Lower guards are recommended because they are sometimes more comfortable and patients may adapt to wearing the guard more easily. More importantly, the night guard should fit your teeth arches just right and shield your teeth and jaw from the harmful effects of unconscious teeth grinding at night. The best kind of night guard should cover all your teeth and not effect your natural bite.

The success of a night guard first depends on your ability to wear it.

At Sentinel Mouth guards, we realize that what works for you may not work for another individual. Knowing this, we have implemented a satisfaction guarantee that includes changing material type, thickness and/or switching teeth arches to find which guard works best for you. You read that right! If you purchase your Sentinel Night Guard and find that it is not working for you we will work with you to explore which night guard may be best suited for your unique needs. Our commitment to you is 100% satisfaction.

Will Dental Insurance Cover My Night Guard?

Your Dental Insurance and Purchasing a Night Guard

Has your dentist suggested you wear a dental night guard because you are grinding or clenching your teeth?

You may initially balk at the dental office price but you have good dental insurance and your custom night guard is surely covered right?

Many people assume that all dental insurance would likely cover their night guard for teeth grinding (especially since it has been recommended by the dentist)!

Surprisingly enough, oftentimes dental insurance will not cover any costs or they offer to cover a large or small percentage. If your dental insurance has decided not to cover any part, it could be because insurance companies argue that this condition is caused by preexisting conditions that have been slowly damaging your teeth and by the time it gets the attention of a dentist the damage has been done. But this is simply untrue. The damage can worsen (to the point of very costly dental repairs down the road) if a dental night guard is not worn as a preventative measure. Anyone who has dealt with subpar dental insurance coverage can attest- what and how much they cover can be a finicky issue.

will dental insurance cover my night guard?

Our teeth are one of the most important body parts because they assist in two major functions of the body; chewing and talking.

Taking care of the teeth is not an option but a priority. So when a certain problem that could potentially put the health of your beloved teeth at risk occurs, it would be wise do your best to  prevent damages before long term issues occur as the cost for restorative dental work can be thousands of dollars.

Teeth grinding leads to the destruction of ones’ dental anatomy because of the continuous clenching and grinding of the teeth. People who suffer from this problem usually experience it at night when sleeping. Once you discover this, you need to visit a dentist who will most likely prescribe a nigh guard for you.

night guard covered by insurance

What Is a Dental Night Guard

Before we go further, let us first find out what a night guard is. In simple terms, a dental night guard or bite guard is a small plastic appliance made of either soft, hybrid, or hard material. The main function is to protect the teeth against clenching and grinding which may cause permanent damage to dental anatomy and surrounding components (like the gums and jaw muscles). This tooth grinding and clenching condition is also known as bruxism. It can be caused by stress and anxiety, use of psychoactive substances or abnormal sleeping disorders which push one to grind or clench their teeth together as a way of stress relief.

Why Won’t My Dental Insurance Cover My Night Guard? What Are My Options for Obtaining a Night Guard? Are there other options available?

Night guard alternatives

“My dental insurance will not cover my night guard and I am in pain from grinding and clenching my teeth. I cannot wear over the counter/ store bought night guards. Are there any alternatives?”

Yes! You can absolutely skip the dentist and purchase online with few exceptions. If your bruxism is a result of other conditions like misaligned teeth you will need to go through your dentist to get a more complex night guard made that will actually move your jaw back into postition. Most insurance will typically cover the cost of treatment to correct the misaligned jaw. If you have braces you will need to have a dentist fabricate your custom appliance. If you simply need a non-complex, non-specific night guard you can purchase online. This at-home process allows you purchase the night guard kit (impression kit includes plastic tray(s) + dental putty to take your own dental impression). You would then mail your dental impression in to the lab and have a custom night guard made for you.

Sentinel Mouthguard Co. offers this online solution at a fraction of the cost.

Sentinel Mouthguards accepts payments using your FSA (Flexible Spending Account) or HSA (Health Savings Account) card.

Pricing ranges from $98-$130 (compared to $600+ in dental offices).

The material used is Proform by Keystone Industries which is a dentist-grade night guard material available in splint (hard) version or soft. The material is BPA, latex and silicon free. The night guards are made using a Drufomat Scan which is equal to or superior than most dental office machines/equipment. Trained lab technicians will construct, trim and polish the custom night guard. A stone mold check is performed several times throughout the process to ensure the best fit possible. This involves placing the newly constructed appliances onto the stone cast of your teeth and removing. The process is repeated until the night guard fits snug on the teeth but not too tight. Sentinel Mouthguard Co.

crooked teeth
Crooked teeth? No problem. Sentinel Mouthguards are made to fit your existing dental anatomy. Whatever that may be!
night guard for crooked teeth

There is no sure fix or solution for stopping nighttime grinding and or jaw clenching.

Stress seems to be the #1 reason or cause sited by dental professionals. Since curing this disorder is unfortunately not to be relied on, the best option would be to wear a night guard. This will alleviate the damages associated with teeth grinding or jaw clenching (including teeth wear/breakage, teeth flattening, headaches, jaw pain).

How Can I Benefit Using My Insurance?

Every dental insurance coverage varies in terms of the extent of services provided.

There are those that provide full coverage for bruxism treatment. Some offer partial coverage. Some offer bruxism treatment coverage but not the night guard dental kits or lab fees while others do not make any payments on your behalf for any procedures in regards to bruxism. Some insurances that partially cover the cost of bruxism treatment will fully pay for the treatment of tempo-mandibular joint disorders also known as TMJ syndrome. It truly depends on which insurance provider you have and what their policy is.

Pain is a side effect of bruxism. The symptoms also include headaches, jaw clicking, pain in the ears, jaw joint pain, sore and stiff jaw muscles as well as pain in the temple among others. Some individuals self medicate or drink alcohol to lessen their pain but pain pills and alcohol cal exacerbate the disorder. Let’s be clear: If you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night you should be wearing a well fitted, professionally made custom night guard to prevent further pain and damage.

Is there anything I can do to just stop it all together?

Another option to take hold of the situation and save your teeth is to look at the factors that are causing this condition like stress, anxiety and sleeping disorders.

Before any cure is found for a disease, doctors will look at the root cause. Once you establish what is causing you to grind your teeth, you can explore ways of dealing with the main cause first rather than treating the problem that is birthed after.

Ex: If your bruxism is caused by taking tea, coffee, smoking cigarettes and/or using other psychoactive substances, then the first option would be to address that. Your doctor can prescribe nicotine patches or recommend alternative drinks to indulge in that will eventually lead to a stop to the bruxism.

If stress and anxiety are leading to the teeth clenching and grinding, then you should  explore healthy lifestyle changes to relieve stress that is healthy. Once you find another place to channel your stress, you will give your teeth a break.

Final Verdict 

Will Dental Insurance Cover My Night Guard?

Check to see if your dental insurance plan will cover the cost of your dental night guard. Also, many of our customers have used their HSA/FSA accounts to purchase the Sentinel Night Guard. You may need to provide them with a detailed Sentinel receipt as proof of medical purchase.

If you cannot receive dental insurance benefits for your dental night guard don’t despair. There are less expensive options.

Please avoid over the counter or store bought guards.

These cheaply made, mass produced guards can sometimes cause more harm than good.

It will be more costly if you decide to have one that is custom made to fit your dental formula perfectly but the perks will be beyond what you expected since it will fit perfectly.

Do you have dental insurance stories? Please share below! We would love to feature your experience in our blog!

why am I clenching my teeth?

Why Do I Clench My Teeth?

The Effects of Teeth Clenching

It is easy to imagine that your oral health (especially the condition of your teeth) ends with good diet and mouth cleaning habits. Unfortunately, there are other habits like teeth clenching which can easily cause destruction to your teeth. Teeth clenching  (whether during the day or at night) is a common condition affecting millions of both adults and children.

So, why am I clenching my teeth?

How do you define teeth or jaw clenching?

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Teeth and/or jaw clenching is one of the manifestations of a bigger problem known as bruxism.

Its unfortunate counterpart is teeth grinding and they could occur together or one can act alone.

Teeth that are clenching together is the static and sustained contact of both your sets of teeth using the jaw muscles responsible for closing the mouth. It is a para-function meaning it is dysfunctional and not the intended purpose of the jaws.

Why is clenching my teeth harmful to my dental health?

Teeth clenching is a major problem because it wears out your chewing system.

Have ever asked yourself ‘why do my teeth hurt from clenching my jaw?’

It is because you are straining them. The human chewing system, known as the masticatory system is designed to work for just 45 minutes every day. This is usually enough time for you to have your three meals a day.

However, teeth clenching (whether done in the day or night) can easily add up the minutes to even five hours which is more than 500% the duration the system is designed to be functioning at.

This leads to overworking of the teeth and other parts of the system, making them weak and wearing them out. This leads to a number of disorders and can create an environment in which other problematic dental conditions thrive.

Causes of Teeth Clenching 

While scientists are yet to pinpoint exactly what causes teeth clenching, research shows the leading factor could be stress.

According to research, jaw clenching is a body’s way to fight stress. This happens because teeth clenching causes the brain to produce chemicals that help to fight stress.

In this self-preservation mechanism, teeth clenching helps protect vital body organs like reducing overproduction of acid in the stomach which leads to ulcers.

The chemicals also help control blood pressure and increase nutrient absorption in the small intestines. There are other causes of teeth clenching too and they include;

  • Sleep disorders such as hallucinations, talking while sleeping and apnea can all lead to the development of bruxism of which teeth clenching is part of.
  • Poor lifestyle habits like smoking, alcoholism along with the use of other recreational drugs also contribute to the development of teeth clenching as a side effect or to deal with the strain caused.
  • Some types of medication especially those belonging to the group which selectively inhibits the reuptake of serotonin (SSRI’s) largely used for the treatment of depression. These drugs like the recreational drugs and other substances above, cause teeth clenching as a side effect of their use.

Symptoms of teeth clenching

At times, it may be hard to know whether you are suffering from teeth clenching especially if it happens when you are asleep.

For this reason, it is always recommended that you consult a dentist for a comprehensive dental evaluation. Some of the symptoms of the condition include:

  • Waking up in the morning with pain in the jaws or the jaws are tight
  • Morning headaches that are caused by the prolonged tension of the jaw muscles which are placed under a lot of strain.
  • Increased tooth sensitivity because the protective enamel layer of the teeth becomes gradually worn out and the nerves inside the teeth become exposed.
  • Pain in the area surrounding your ears when yawning or chewing food. It can also result in the development of sinus pain.
  • Swelling occasionally on the lower side of the jaw caused by the clenching
  • For those using dentures, they start having dysfunctions and you need to keep adjusting them or even replace them.
  • Chronic pain in the neck and surrounding area and when treated you have relief only for a short period.

If you observe these symptoms it is better to consult your doctor to rule out any other possible causes and advise you on the best method to combat the condition depending on the severity of your case.

The damage of teeth clenching to your dental health

Besides the symptoms, teeth clenching can lead to severe dental damage of it is not checked early. Some of the effects of this condition include:

• Cracked and crooked – the excessive pressure placed on the teeth leads to the development of small cracks in the teeth. These in gradually grow to bigger ones which cause cavities and allow the bacteria room to get inside the teeth. The teeth can also become misaligned because of the constant excessive pressure.

• Masseter hypertrophy – this is a term that refers to the enlargement of the jaws over time. This happens because teeth clenching acts as a workout for jaw muscles and make them increase. This affects your appearance

• The overworking of the jaw muscles can also lead to bone and gum loss which further lead to increased tooth root sensitivity

• It can lead to adrenal stress syndrome since a dysfunctioning masticatory system has been shown to increase the cortisol levels in the blood.

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Prevention and treatment of teeth clenching to prevent pain and dental damage

There are several practices and therapies you can use to prevent teeth clenching and some of them include:

  1. Use of mouth guards and splints– this is effective when one is asleep and while they do not stop the clenching, they redistribute the force of the clenching preventing it being exerted on the teeth.
  2. Avoid stress and anxiety wherever you can and where it is not possible to practice better ways of combating it like exercises and if necessary counseling. Ignoring your stressful moments makes the body look for self-preservation alternatives.
  3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol which affect the quality of your sleep leading to clenching at night since your body becomes physically depressed
  4. In cases of severe teeth clenching a muscle relaxant can be used to prevent the jaw muscles from clenching while asleep.
  5. You can train yourself to be self-aware especially during the day. This can be done by keeping your lips together and teeth apart with the tongue in between.

It is not a guaranteed fix but if stress seems to be the main trigger for clenching and/or grinding it would make sense to take strides to lower your stress. How can we do this?

You are at your best when you’re optimal and when are you optimal?

When you’re working out, eating healthy and taking charge of your life. Keep your body healthy. Keep your mind healthy and keep your stress levels down.

Wear a dental night guard to ease your jaw tension and stop the pain/teeth damage associated with teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

Want to chat with our team? Contact us or use the chat tool on the lower right of your screen Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm EST.

why do I have jaw pain on one side of my mouth?

Jaw Pain on One Side of the Mouth

Why does my jaw hurt on one side?

Notice jaw pain and or tenderness on one side of your mouth lately? Is there a popping sound accompanied with it? There are various reasons both or one side of your jaw is throbbing with pain when you chew, speak or just open your mouth. While jaw pain is sometimes caused by an injury or an abnormality with the joints of the jaw, there are other possible reasons for jaw pain some of which you can easily prevent. Read on to find out the facts about jaw pain and how you can prevent or cure it.

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What causes jaw pain?

Jaw pain can start off mild and gradually become intense, or it can just happen suddenly while chewing, laughing or opening the mouth. The exact symptoms often vary depending on the primary cause of the pain. Before treating jaw pain, properly identifying the cause is very critical.

Your jaw pain can be as simple as the result of  sinus trouble (allergies, common cold) that can increase jaw and facial pain. It can be triggered by excessive gum chewing, sleeping with your jaw laying on your fist constantly, teeth clenching during the day or night, certain medications, and/or it could be more involved such as jaw misalignment issues or trigeminal nerve complication.

Here are the major causes of jaw pain;

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Your lower jawbone (the mandible) is attached to the skull, the temporal bone, by a pair of joints known as the TMJS (temporomandibular joints). These joints allow both sliding and hinging motions of your mouth. Damage to these joints is what causes TMD, resulting in pain in your jaw, face, and even the neck. Besides the pain, TMD may cause a clicking or popping sound with continuous chewing or when you open your mouth. Arthritis, strained ligaments, and tendons, disk problems are some of the problems dentists say can lead TMD. Teeth grinding and clenching habits that put too much pressure on the joints can also lead to the development of TMD. It is often very hard to pinpoint the exact cause of TMD, making it hard for dentists to diagnose and treat the disorder.

Most TMD cases often resolve themselves with time. However, severe cases can even lead to the jaw becoming permanently stuck in one position. There are home remedies for TMD which include taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, eating soft foods, avoiding resting your chin on the hands, learning relaxation techniques, among other remedies. It is, however, advisable to see your dentist as the problem may develop and become serious. Treatment options include various types of therapies, ultrasounds and having trigger-point injections.

Teeth grinding and clenching

Perhaps you are already aware that teeth grinding (medically referred to as bruxism) or clenching can cause serious damage to the teeth. Although mild bruxism might not need treatment, regular and more frequent grinding may pose severe risks that can lead to severe facial and jaw pain, headaches, tooth damage, among other problems. Some people tend to grind or clench their teeth when stressed, angered, or frustrated while others do it involuntarily while asleep.

sentinel hard dental night guard palate view

Certain medications can intensify the need to clench or grind your teeth. Adderall and other amphetamines have been sited by dentists and researchers as a cause for bruxism. Adderall abuse is a growing concern in the United States. Millions of adults (all ages) are taking adderall at doses that are too high. Other bruxism intensifiers include caffeine, alcohol, sugar, gum chewing, excessive talking or yelling and stretching of the mouth.

Stress is the number one factor that is thought to cause teeth grinding and or jaw clenching. Try relaxing the jaw during the day. Relax your eyebrows and your eyes. Try to be conscious of the tightening of the jaw and clenching of the teeth during the day. This is a habit that can develop and potentially cross over into your sleep.

What are some symptoms of teeth grinding and jaw clenching?

Symptoms of bruxism include flattened, chipped or fractured teeth, tooth and jaw pain while chewing, tired jaw muscles or sometimes a locked jaw that can’t close or open completely, and headaches. If the grinding affects your TMJs, you may hear a popping, clocking or grating sound when you open or close your mouth. If you are experiencing this problem, consider seeing a dentist and having a mouth guard made for you. Talking to your doctor or a psychotherapist about how you can reduce stress can also be helpful.

Gum and tooth problems

The jaw pain you feel while chewing may be a result of other dental problems like gum and tooth abscesses, cavities, and deep tooth decay. A gum abscess (a pus-filled sac) develops beneath your gum line, leading to a gum disease that may cause jaw pain. Abscessed teeth are often a result of an infected nerve or pulp. This mostly occurs when there is a cavity that has been left untreated for a long time. When if the infection spreads deep to the roots of your teeth, it can affect jawbone tissues and consequently lead to significant jaw pain when eating or talking. Deep tooth decay also has the same consequences.

Good news is that dentists can treat these conditions. Again, practicing good oral hygiene greatly reduces the risks these conditions present.


A malocclusion happens when you have mismatched teeth that do not properly fit together, causing you to have an improper bite. The jaw can also be mismatched. In many cases, the condition is present at birth, but it can also be acquired from such habits as tongue thrusting, premature loss of teeth, thumb sucking, or from medical conditions like enlarged adenoids and tonsils.

Symptoms of malocclusion include pain when speaking or chewing. The condition can be treated by an orthodontist with the most common remedies being braces and surgical procedures to extract the poorly aligned tooth or teeth. You can a undergo surgery to fix the shape of your jaw.


This is an infection which affects an individual’s bones and the tissues surrounding them. The infection travels through the bloodstream. Jaw osteomyelitis affects the temporomandibular joints leading to facial and jaw pains. Other symptoms include facial swelling and fever. The condition is curable with antibiotics or in severe cases; patients undergo surgical procedures to extract dead part of the bones. If you are experiencing jaw pain, see your dentist to find out if you have osteomyelitis.

Traumatic injuries

A traumatic injury to your face may cause serious jaw problems including joint dislocations, muscle spasms, and fractures. If you have recently suffered a fall or a sports injury to your face and you are experiencing jaw pain, it is advisable that you see a doctor as soon as possible. This is important because not only will you have your jaws checked out, but the doctor will also check for any brain injury.

Jaw pain can be very discomforting. While you can relieve mild jaw pain at home by applying cold packs to the face, using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, and eating soft foods, it is always advisable to have the pain checked out by a professional dentist. Stay proactive. Talk to a medical professional about ways to fix the problem. Hopefully this article has been helpful to you. Have a question? Please leave it in the comments section below! We check back often.

How to prevent jaw pain

Are you experiencing jaw pain on the right or left side of your mouth?

Perhaps you are affected by one of the conditions listed above. Fortunately, you have just landed on the most sought after solutions that can help you deal with jaw pain or tenderness. Here are some preventive measures that you may want to consider.

· Wear a night guard. A night guard is important in a number of ways. It is an effective tool that can help stop you from damaging your teeth, crowns, dentures, and the jaw. It also serves in stopping jaw aching, and in giving you a good night sleep. Therefore, when you wear a night guard every day before going to bed, the harmful effects that result from clenching and grinding are greatly reduced.

· Medication. This is also another effective way to curb jaw pain. Medication use should be recommended and prescribed by your doctor.

· Take time to relax. As mentioned earlier in this article, one of the causes of jaw pains or tenderness is grinding or clenching due to stress. Therefore, taking a time to relax is a way of relieving muscle tension and thus is an effective practice for eliminating jaw pain.

· Change your diet. If chewing food exacerbates the pain be mindful of what you’re choosing to eat. Avoid hard foods that require you to stretch your mouth & use great force when chewing.

Why can jaw pain happen on one side of the mouth?

Jaw Pain & Tenderness

Jaw pain can happen on one side of the mouth depending on a number of factors. In this case, as mentioned, the causes include teeth grinding, abscessed tooth, and dental conditions among others.  In addition, dental conditions such as cavities and gum diseases that affect only one side can cause pain in that particular side.

Another reason could be sleep position. This could include sleeping on one side without changing position or sleeping with your hand or phone cupped under your face. It is important to maintain the right sleeping posture to avoid building pressure on one side of the jaw.


Consult with your dentist if you’re experiencing continued jaw pain, clicking and/or popping. Jaw pain/tenderness is a condition that can be managed through proactive treatment.

my night guard broke

My Night Guard Broke. What do I do?

Broken Dental Night Guards

Dental night guards are devices which are worn by dental patients who suffer from unconsciously grinding their teeth during the night while they sleep. Grinding your teeth during the night can cause tooth decay, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, and other negative health consequences. Night guards protect the teeth of individuals who grind their teeth while they sleep from the extensive damage that can ensue as a result of habitual teeth grinding. They are usually worn only at night and taken out first thing in the morning. Simply put, night guards are made from an exact mold of your teeth that is generally crafted from a hard or soft blend of materials (usually plastics). A true custom made night guard is crafted using special machinery that heats material to form over a stone mold of your teeth so that the custom formed appliance fits each patient’s teeth exactly and remain still in the patient’s mouth in order to cover their teeth completely throughout the entire night.

my night guard broke

 “I paid so much money and my night guard broke!”
Unfortunately, mouth guards can be extremely expensive. One night guard purchased from a dentist that has been fitted specifically to your mouth can cost upwards of three hundred to one thousand dollars, with the average price settling around five hundred dollars. It is an option to purchase a cheaper mouth guard in a drug store or similar shop, but these mouth guards are not guaranteed to fit your mouth well and often break very easily. However, even expensive mouth guards purchased from a dentist are known to crack, break, or wear down after nightly use. Night guards generally cannot be repaired if they are cracked or broken and must be re-molded and crafted from scratch.

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“My night guard broke. Why?”
There are different reasons why night guards break. Some night guards are simply made poorly and break easily. Other times, your dentist might underestimate the severity and frequency of your teeth grinding and prescribe you a night guard that is not strong enough to withstand your grinding. Patient care can also contribute significantly to the breakage of a night guard. If patients treat their night guards poorly and fail to take care of them sufficiently, they are likely to crack or break much more quickly than they would if they received proper and frequent care.

Anti Grinding Teeth Protection

Make Sure You Are Choosing The Right Thickness

dental night guard thickness is measured here
This person has suffered from Bruxism for many years. The teeth are flattened and shortened from constant, excessive bruxing (grinding or clenching the teeth). Expensive dental work and the use of a night guard is needed. The thickness of the night guard is measured between the occlusal (chewing) surfaces of the teeth. A thicker night guard will offer the protection & durability this patient needs to protect the teeth from further damage.

Types of Night Guards and How Long They Last

my night guard cracked

Before you purchase a night guard, it is helpful to know how long night guards are supposed to last in order to compare prices and prepare for ultimate replacement. The expected life span of a night guard depends on the material that the night guard is made from and how it is crafted. Different types of night guards have varying expected life spans.
Soft Night Guards
Soft night guards are usually prescribed only to patients who do not grind their teeth severely or grind them fairly infrequently. They are made primarily from EVA plastic which is why they have such a soft texture as compared with other harder night guard models. This type of night guard lasts the shortest amount of time; the lifespan can extend through years but often needs to be replaced every six months or so before it wears down or breaks. However, soft night guards are also usually less expensive than their harder counterparts because they are easier to make and can be less durable.

sentinel soft dental night guard for bruxism

Dual Laminate Night Guards
Dual laminate night guards have a longer life span that ranges from about nine months to five years. This wide range is due to the variation of different patients’ frequency and severity of grinding as well as discrepancies in how different patients care for their night guards. Dual laminate night guards can offer more durability than soft night guards. They are still soft on the inside but hard on the outside & can offer the same amount of protection for severe grinding as night guards that are crafted from completely hard material.

sentinel dual laminate dental night guard

Hard Night Guards
Hard night guards can be made to be the strongest and most durable type of night guard (depending on chosen thickness). The guard does need to be at least 3mm for maximum durability. A thin, hard daytime guard such as a 1mm can crack more easily. The 3mm thick+ hard guards are designed for patients who grind their teeth on a nightly basis and grind extremely heavily. In these extreme cases, a hard night guard is necessary in order to protect these patients’ teeth from grinding damage. Hard night guards are crafted from hard plastics and are generally quoted to last between one and five years. Like the dual laminate night guards, the life span of hard night guards can vary significantly depending on how different patients care for them.

Sentinel Night Guard

Night Guard Dental Warranty
No matter what type of night guard you get to fit your needs, it will eventually break, crack, or wear down until it no longer fits or becomes ineffective. At this point, if you do not want to purchase a new night guard for hundreds of dollars at its full price, you have to rely on your dentist’s warranty. Not all dentists offer warranties on night guards. Some dentists offer full warranties that last many years, while others only offer extremely short, limited warranties that only extend for a few months in order to give patients some time to get used to their mouth guard and ensure that it fits well. Before you purchase a night guard from your dentist, it is important to ask them what their warranty policies are for night guards. If their warranties are extremely limited, it is a smart idea to check around and determine if other dentists in your area offer a better warranty in order to save hundreds of dollars in the long run.

Sentinel Mouthguard Warranty

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.

Warranty Information: 100% satisfaction or 90 day money back guarantee. If you’re not happy with your new night guard for any reason, Sentinel will either offer a full refund (provided you contact us within 90 days of receiving your night guard) or we will work with you until we get it right.

Defects and wear policy: If your night guard becomes defective and/or wears down before stated time frame (see below) we will replace at no additional cost to you (upon receipt of defective/worn night guard and original invoice).

Hard Dental Night Guard– 12 months from date you received your night guard in the mail

Dual laminated/hybrid night guard– 12 months from date you received your night guard in the mail

Soft night guard– 6 months from date you received your night guard in the mail

What if a Night Guard Breaks While you are Sleeping?
After discovering that night guards often crack or break without warning, many individuals begin to worry about what might happen if their night guard break while they are sleeping and wearing it. Most patients’ primary fear is that they might choke if their night guard breaks and falls out of their mouth while they are wearing it at night. Fortunately, this fear is very unlikely to come to fruition. Even when night guards crack while they are being worn, they usually do not come loose from your teeth. When your mouth is closed while you are sleeping, most night guards heat up from your body temperature and meld slightly to your teeth in order to remain in position throughout the night, so there is very little chance of it coming loose even if it were to break during the night. Furthermore, the natural reflex of your brain is to spit out any strange objects in your mouth, even while you are sleeping. Therefore, even if your night guard were to crack and fall out of position while you were sleeping, you would probably wake up to find it missing from your mouth rather than choke on it.

what is bruxism

“What Is Bruxism and Why am I Grinding My Teeth?” | Sentinel Mouthguard Team

“What is Bruxism and Why am I Grinding My Teeth?”

Many people are not familiar with the word bruxism but rather know it as teeth grinding or jaw clenching at night.

So, what is bruxism and why am I grinding my teeth?

There is a lot of speculation out there as to why we grind our teeth:

why am I grinding my teeth






what is bruxism




what is bruxism









Bruxism is a teeth grinding disorder which causes you to clench your teeth together, grind or gnash them involuntarily. People suffering from bruxism occasionally find themselves unconsciously clenching their teeth together either during the day or at night.

Regardless of whether you are familiar with this condition or not it is very important for you to know the effects of bruxism and how it can influence your general health.

Bruxism is a very common condition today and studies show that approximately one in three people suffer from this condition. This disorder is usually as a result of a complication caused by another condition or state of being. Below are the full details about this disorder and what you can do to stop it. It is important to know what is bruxism, why it happens and what to do about it.

“Why does bruxism happen?”

There is no clear reason why this teeth grinding disorder occurs but studies suggest that there are various factors that are related to its occurrence. These factors include;

  • Sleep disorders

Some limited research has shown that people who experience sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or even snore while sleeping are more prone to grind their teeth while sleeping. This is because these two factors cause a disruption to breathing while a person is asleep. However, recent studies show a weak association between sleep apnea and teeth grinding. It has also been suggested that people who experience sleep paralysis, hallucinations, behave aggressively while asleep or even talk in their sleep are more likely to experience bruxism.

  • Anxiety and stress

The second factor that can cause bruxism to occur is stress and anxiety. These two factors are psychological and mental problems that affect victims who suffer from teeth grinding subconsciously when they are asleep. Studies show that excessive amount of work related stress or a traumatic event can affect your sleep resulting to occurrence of sleep bruxism. To be clear, anxiety and stress can cause teeth grinding and jaw clenching.

  • Way of life

This teeth grinding disorder may as well occur due to specific life factors which include, excessive alcohol consumption, use of recreational drugs i.e. cocaine and ecstasy, taking six or more cups of caffeinated drinks a day such as coffee or tea and smoking.

  • Medication

Another reason why bruxism occurs is due to the side effects caused by taking certain medication including antipsychotics and anti depressants. Even though there is a high risk of developing this kind of grinding disorder if you are on these drugs, you ought to know that most people who take these medications rarely experience symptoms of bruxism.

“What can one do to stop it?”

Once a person suffering from bruxism identifies the condition, the first thing that he or she is usually eager to know is how to stop the teeth grinding condition. There is no specific solution of how to stop teeth grinding but there are several medical options and treatments that can help control the condition and prevent more damage to the teeth.

If you realize that stress is the cause of your teeth grinding disorder, consult your doctor about options to reduce your stress but if a sleeping disorder is what has caused bruxism then you need to treat that disorder so as to eliminate the grinding habit.

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This is the most common and widely used resolution of bruxism. Mouth guards are devices worn at night to protect the teeth against grinding during sleep. The whole idea of using night guards is to prevent tooth damage since the devices have the ability to withstand the impact caused by grinding. This is because the patient will still continue to grind their teeth even with the mouth guard on.


  • Exercising the jaw

Another way of controlling bruxism is by engaging in daily jaw exercises. You can consult either a chiropractor or your dentist to guide you on the type of exercises that you can carry out but meanwhile you can start by using warm water and a wet wash cloth on the jaw to help you relax and strengthen it. You can also relax the jaw muscle at night by holding a warm piece of cloth against your cheek just before your ear lobe.

  • Train yourself to stop clenching or grinding your teeth

You can also control this teeth grinding disorder by training yourself not to clench or grind your teeth especially if you notice that you clench or grind during the day. Do this by putting the tip of your tongue in between your teeth as this practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.

  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake

Studies have shown that excessive intake of alcohol tends to makes teeth grinding more intensified. For this reason, anyone who has bruxism should avoid excessive alcohol intake so as to stop teeth grinding.

  • Keep off chewing on pens and pencils

Patients of bruxism should not chew on pencils, pens, gum or even anything that is not food. This is because doing this causes your jaw muscles to get used to clenching and this makes you more likely to grind your teeth.

“What Does Bruxism Have to Do With TMD?”

Bruxism and TMD disorder are two different issues but they can be related to each other. As we had mentioned earlier, bruxism is a teeth grinding disorder but on the other hand, TMD disorder occurs because of the misalignment of the joint that joins the lower jaw to the skull. Bruxism can be categorized as a TMD disorder also known as TMJ but the TMD disorder can cause bruxism. There is a high than average chance that a person suffering from bruxism also has the TMD disorder. Check out this recent article that explores TMD treatment by receiving botox injections.

Non-Specific Bruxism Vs Specific Bruxism.

This teeth grinding disorder is classified into two categories i.e. specific and non-specific bruxism. Specific bruxism is the type of bruxism that occurs naturally i.e. without any prior medical condition whereas non specific bruxism is the teeth grinding disorder that occurs as a result of a psychiatric or medical conditions. Non specific bruxism can also be linked with various medications such as recreational drugs and anti depressions.

Even though there is no specific cure for bruxism, it is important to control the effects of the teeth grinding disorder so as to prevent any further damages. Symptoms of bruxism include a painful jaw, high teeth sensitivity, muscle tenderness, insomnia, headache, eating disorder, ear ache, depression, anxiety and stress. Other preventive measures that may help relieve pain include drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest, massaging the muscles of the neck, shoulders and face and also learning physical therapy exercises that can help restore muscle and joints on each side of the head.

How to Save on Dental Night Guard Costs and Choose the Best Night Guard Type for You

Bruxism is a common problem that affects people of all ages. The common cause of teeth grinding for adults is stress, but it’s not always the case for everybody. Some people experience grinding due to prescription medications that cause teeth-clenching behavior, diet, lack of exercise, or overconsumption of caffeine or alcohol, while others (including children) suffer from bruxism for no apparent cause or reason.

Although mild bruxism will have little to no risk for most people, chronic bruxism may cause other health problems such as hearing loss, tension headaches and dental problems. Since bruxism is usually a symptom of an underlying health problem, there’s no specific medication to cure bruxism. The only treatment that most dentists recommend is through the use of night guards. For anyone who’s suffering from the disorder, this will usually be the first approach that dentists advise.

So how do you find the best dental night guards for less and discover which type is the best for you? You will also learn how you can save from dental night guard costs by purchasing night guards without your dentists’ assistance.

dental night guard cost

In order to minimize the damage caused by clenching and grinding of teeth at night, most people rely on dental night guards to avoid premature wear of teeth. If you’re buying a night guard for the first time, remember that you want to find one that is comfortable and highly durable. If you have sensitive teeth and/or gums, your a light sleeper, or this is your first time wearing a night guard comfort should be your top concern. When looking for the best night guard most of the highly durable ones are often made out of EVA plastic or acrylic material.

When buying night guards, it is a good idea to go with the type your dentist recommends.

A dentist can determine the degree of damage and recommend which night guard type is best for you. Most dentists charge a fee on top of the night guard price, so expect that your consultation fee and purchase will be costly. However, most night guards that come from dentists are made-to-order, to ensure that you will get the perfect fit. In order to save money on made-to-order night guards, you can simply buy direct from the lab. Oftentimes, this is where your dentist sends the mold of your teeth to be made anyway. Buying straight from the lab will cost you less and you don’t need to leave your home!  Search for the best manufacturers on-line and compare prices. Once you’ve found one, you can simply make your order online and the lab will send you a molding kit for your special order. You will then send this back to the lab and they will send you your custom fit night guards in less than 2 weeks. This will save you a lot of money that’s usually paid for dentist fees and commissions.

If you’re in a hurry and need a short term solution as soon as possible, the next available option is purchasing ready-made night guards. Ready-made night guards available in different styles and brands. Many of these protectors look exactly the same as the mouth guards athletes use on extreme sports such as martial arts and boxing, so you pretty much have an idea on how comfortable (or better yet, uncomfortable) they can be.

While most custom-made night guards that you get from dentists will cost you around $350 – $950, ready-made night guards that you can purchase over-the-counter or on the internet will cost you around $15 to $40 per piece while custom-made night guards purchased direct from labs will cost you around $70 – $195 per piece. Purchasing mouth guard kits from online shops that will ship directly from labs for you (for a price lesser than most dentists usually charge) will help you save a great deal on your dental night guard costs if you prefer a custom-made night guard over the boil-and-bite variety.

If you’re looking to save money and you don’t worry much about not having a custom-fit night guard for your teeth, a ready-made night guard might be a viable option for you. Popular  brands are: DenTek Comfort Fit Dental Guard Kit (around $26 per piece), SmartGuard Elite ($23 per piece) and Doctor’s Night Guard ($15 per piece).

When choosing the best night guard, always make sure that you make comfort and durability your top priority. You don’t always need to spend a lot in order to protect your teeth and gums from the damage caused by bruxism. You can either buy direct or through different shopping sites. A simple Google search will lead you to hundreds of on-line stores where you can get night guards for a fraction of the price your dentist provides.



i bite my tongue in my sleep

I’m Biting My Tongue in My Sleep. Why?

“I’m Biting My Tongue In My Sleep.”

Tongue biting is a common problem.

Complaints of ‘biting my tongue’ or ‘biting my cheek’ while sleeping are all too familiar to dentists and can be downright irritating and painful.

The damage done to the tongue or cheek can be quite distressing and even visible. People who bite their tongue while sleeping commonly bite it on the sides or on its tip.

Tenderness, bleeding and incessant throbbing are uncomfortable symptoms but good news! It can be relieved.

You’re not alone and there is a solution.

Severe tongue biting problems can lead to tongue scalloping, soreness and ulcers. Tongue biting can also cause pain while speaking and eating. This can begin at any stage in life.

sentinel soft dental guards for tongue biting/cheek biting
Sentinel Soft Dental Guards for Tongue Biting/Cheek Biting $159 All Inclusive Free Shipping In The USA. “How does it work?” The soft padding prevents the chewing surfaces of the teeth to catch the tongue or cheek area. The product will prevent any trauma to the tongue or cheek area and will allow any previous trauma to heal.

What causes biting my tongue in sleep? Why does my tongue hurt?

“I bite my tongue in my sleep. Why?”

There are a number of causes for tongue biting while asleep. One common cause is when your tongue is bigger than it should be. In this case, it is a frequent occurrence to accidentally bite it while eating or talking
Other causes include; rhythmic disorder, nocturnal seizures and sleep bruxism. All these lead to involuntary tongue biting. Let us look at each one of them briefly.

    1. Nocturnal seizures (nighttime seizures)

      Having seizures during the night can induce biting the tongue. If a person has chronic seizures they are likely to experience biting on parts of the tongue, especially the edges. A seizure is a is a state in which a person has lost consciousness, jerking movements are seen and the muscles stiffen. Some seizures however might be calm and therefore harder to be noted. Tongue biting is listed as a common symptom in people suffering from seizures.

      People suffering from nocturnal seizures may not have any other symptom during the day making it hard to determine the cause of the tongue injuries. However, the condition can be diagnosed by observing brainwaves. Prescription Medication is the primary Treatment for this condition. Once taken, the biting stops.

    2. Rhythmic movement disorder

      The second potential reason for biting your tongue while sleeping is rhythmic movement disorder. Rhythmic movement disorder involves banging of the head, truck movements and rocking and rolling.

      Mostly common in children, it does not always result in injuries but when severe it can lead to tongue injuries. It involves repeated movements of the head and neck. The movements are involuntary and usually occur before and during sleep. It could last about 15 minutes. The victim can suffer from various injuries tongue biting included. In serious but rare cases, brain and eye damage can occur.

      The movements usually go unnoticed by the sufferer since they do not cause much pain. They only come to know about the problem after noticing the injuries on their tongue or other parts of the body. In many cases the seizures stop as the child grows up so medical treatment may not be necessary. In adults, controlled sleep restrictions or medical drugs may be used to treat the condition.

    3. Teeth grinding or bruxism

      Bruxism is another cause of tongue biting during sleep. In most cases, it is accompanied by other sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea which causes breathing pauses. Snoring is also a common problem that can accompany teeth grinding. People with the habit of grinding their teeth while sleeping may accidentally bite their tongue.

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Other causes of tongue biting include Lyme disease, swollen tongue ulcers, tobacco chewing and side effects of some medications.

  1. Sleep Apnea

    This is a condition where you experience shallow breath or frequent pauses while breathing. The tongue relaxes and can slip between the teeth, resulting in tongue injury. Doctors can prescribe treatment for sleep apnea which can stop this form of tongue biting.

  2. Lyme Disease

    This disease negatively affects the brain and nervous system. Incorrect or misfired brain signals are sent to the muscles and nerves causing involuntary movements during asleep that can cause you to bite your tongue.

  3. Drug Use such as MDMA (ecstasy)

    MDMA or ecstasy a synthetic, psychoactive drug that acts as a stimulant and increases energy and pleasure. Many people have damaged their tongue, gums and cheeks from taking MDMA.

    The drug can increase anxiety and the tongue biting can even feel pleasurable while on drugs. However the damage can be troublesome.

  4. Effect of Medication

    Prescribed medications like antidepressants may have negative reactions or side effects and causes tongue biting during sleep. A change in medication could prevent this.

  5. Dentures that are not fitted properly can cause you to bite your tongue while sleeping.

More on Nighttime Tongue Biting

Nighttime tongue biting is a condition that has disturbed many people leaving them frustrated and seeking answers. Everyone has bitten their tongue at one point or another but this is mostly accidental and happens mostly when eating or talking. It can happen occasionally while sleeping but this is normal. Some causes include having a disproportionately large tongue or having a set of misaligned teeth. Nighttime tongue biting becomes a problem when it is a habit.

How common is it?

Millions of people around the world suffer from tongue biting at night. Some people are not aware of it yet since it can be hard to determine the problem especially when it is not as a result of an underlying illness. It may take time before the problem is detected. To determine approximately how many people suffer from nighttime tongue biting, we could look at the number of people suffering from bruxism, epilepsy and sleep apnea. 1 in 3 people suffer from excessive teeth grinding. Millions of people suffer from epilepsy with over 2 million in the United States. Sleep apnea afflicts more than 20 million in the United States with millions more found all over the world. If all these people suffer from excessive tongue biting frequently then there are likely millions of people experiencing nighttime tongue biting.

damage from tongue bitingDamages Caused by Tongue Biting

  1. Morsication lingarum
    In frequent cases of tongue biting, the lateral sides of the tongue are affected and you develop a condition known as Morsication lingarum which only affects the tongue’s lateral sides.
  2. Bleeding may occur when the biting is frequent and cuts into the tongue
  3. Tongue ulcers can form as a result of tongue biting. They usually heal within 10 days
  4. Your tongue may be sore after frequent biting thus making you uncomfortable

All these may make it hard for you to eat certain types of foods especially spicy ones. Speaking may become difficult and chewing food may be difficult.

Prevent Damage from Tongue Biting

While biting cannot be controlled there are measures you can take to prevent damage.

One of the most effective prevention methods is to wear a soft, thin custom-made night guard on both the lower and upper teeth.

Over the counter night mouth guards will not fit perfectly can cause further oral damage. You can visit your dentist to take dental impressions, create a mold and then a dental lab for a mouth guards specifically for you. But that is the most expensive route. For a more affordable alternative purchase online.

Treating Tongue Damage
If you have experienced any damage resulting from tongue biting there are steps you can to heal the tongue and prevent further damage.

These methods include:

  1. Using salt solution
    This helps to kill bacteria and aids the tongue in the healing process. The solution should be warm with small amounts of salt. Hot water will increase pain and discomfort in the tongue.
  2. Ice cubes
    They help to reduce swelling and also numb nerves on the tongue to reduce pain and soreness
  3. Avoid eating spicy foods until the tongue heals.
  4. PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE Wear soft dental night guards on both your upper and lower teeth. Choose thin 1mm guards so that they are unobtrusive and easy to sleep with. You will want custom fitted guards for the most comfort.

Preventing tongue biting in sleep.

The best way to prevent tongue biting problems is by treating the cause or knowing how to avoid it. The following are treatments used for different causes.

Treatment for rhythmic disorder.

Cognitive behavior therapy is recommended for people suffering from sleep apnea. Rhythmic movements are usually associated with children and can disappear as the child grows older. This might not require pharmacological treatment.

Treatment for seizure.

If your nighttime tongue biting is caused by seizure than the normal course of treatment by a doctor should be followed. If treated successfully it will prevent tongue biting.

There are several medications for tonic-clonic seizure. Going for vagus nerve stimulation device may also reduce the chances of seizure occurrence.

Treatment for bruxism.

Bruxism requires you to treat the underlying cause. Cognitive behavior therapy is recommended. It helps in dealing with anxiety and stress which are major causes of bruxism. Ensuring that your mind is relaxed before going to bed can greatly reduce the chances of bruxism.

Protecting your tongue during sleep using a night mouth guard

I bite my tongue in my sleep
(pictured) Sentinel Soft Tongue Biting Guards (upper and lower teeth) provides padding on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to protect the tongue from the teeth

Regardless of the causes there are ways you can protect your tongue from more damage by using mouth guards. These are plastic mouth appliances made to fit over the teeth. They are meant to reduce the damage effect of the teeth to the tongue should it be caught between them.

The mouth guards are also referred to as night dental guards. Wearing dental guards is the best way to prevent damage to the tongue. There are several types of Mouth guard:

Standard & boil/bite athletic mouth guard: These guards are completely different than dental night guards.

These are the mouth guards used by persons who play sports. They are made from tough plastic and either cannot be adjusted or conform to your mouth by using hot water and manual manipulation. They are available in most sports stores and are NOT recommended for wearing at night.

Standard dental night guard:

These are one size fits all, mass produced night guards designed for nighttime use. They are largely seen as too bulky, ineffective and uncomfortable though they are affordable.

Boil and bite mouth guards

These are made from a special kind of plastic that allows you to semi custom-fit them. They’re softened by hot water and then adjusted to fit your mouth. They are available in most CVS or Walgreens stores.

Custom-fitted mouth guards.

sentinel soft dental night guard

Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard. For tongue biting it is recommended to wear a soft dental night guard on both the upper and lower teeth arches. Use promo code “big spender” to receive 20% off your order. Free all inclusive shipping in the USA.

These are made in a dental lab to fit your mouth. The dentist takes an impression of your teeth and then creates a model. The model is then sent to the lab for to make a guard taken from the model. You can also order online and take your own dental impression in the convenience of your own home. Your dental impression is sent to the Sentinel dental lab using our convenient mail-order system.

It is always best to consult a dentist before buying a night guard. They will help determine the best mouth guard for you, especially if your tongue biting is caused by seizure disorder.

dental night guard

What is the Difference Between an Upper or Lower Night Guard?

Upper Or Lower Dental Night Guard

Upper or lower dental night guard? Which one do I choose?

Many people grind or clench their teeth at night during sleep. This is a condition known as nocturnal bruxism. Over time, bruxism can lead to the wearing away of the teeth’s enamel, as well as a host of other problems such as cracked teeth or jaw pain. After the enamel is worn, this also opens up the opportunity for cavities to form in the teeth. Although nocturnal bruxism typically can’t be “cured”, there is an easy solution for those who grind or clench at night in the form of wearing an upper or lower dental night guard. While there are some dental night guards that can be purchased from the pharmacy, a patient’s best bet is to have one custom made by your dentist or an online dental night guard lab. This ensures a proper fit that will be effective and also provide comfort while preventing slipping. The dental night guard acts as a cushioned barrier between the upper and lower teeth, so that while your jaw may still in fact be going through the motions of grinding or clenching, the teeth are not making contact with each other, which prevents further damage to them.

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“Should I Buy an Upper Or Lower Dental Night Guard?”

Dental night guards can be made for either the upper teeth or the lower teeth, but usually not both.

Many people wish to know “what is the difference between an upper or lower night guard?”. They also wish to know if one type of guard is better than the other and which one they should choose. For common cases of bruxism, most find that either teeth arch will provide the same results. The upper dental night guard is still the most common type made but this may be due to a slow progression towards the acceptance & use of lower night guards within the industry. In other words, it may simply be that because the dental night guard was originally made for the upper teeth, dentists/lab technicians are still commonly fabricating the upper teeth guard out of habit or preference for no real or substantiated reason. Though you will always find varying opinions such as dentists who favor lower guards for their patients who grind their teeth.

Most people will first learn of their bruxing disorder through their dentist & so naturally they make a follow-up appointment in order to have impressions made for a custom dental night guard.

An alternative and cost effective option for creating a great fitting custom night guard is to contact us here at Sentinel Mouthguard Co. & we will mail out a dental impression kit where you can take your own impressions at home and mail them back to our lab to have the custom guard made for you. We provide a cost saving solution without ever having to leave your home! More about this can be found in our FAQ. Either way, a custom made guard provides you with a much better fit than one of the boil and bite versions you might buy in the local pharmacy or retail outlet.

Most mouth guards are made from materials such as acetate, rubber, acrylic, or vinyl. You should check to make sure your night guard is BPA, Silicon & Latex free. When either an upper or lower dental night guard fits properly, the wearer should not experience slipping or moving of the guard. They also should not be able to “spit” the guard out during sleep. The guard should be comfortable and mold itself to your teeth while keeping the teeth in place. This is another reason why an upper or lower dental night guard made by a dental professional or lab is far superior to those found in stores.

Sentinel Mouthguards are made from BPA, Silicon & Latex FREE material.

EVA (Ethylene – Vinyl Copolymer) is the material used for the Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard. This product contains no HAP’s or ODS & does not contain any chemicals listed under the U. S. Clean Water Act Priority Pollutant and Hazardous Substance List. This product is not considered to be hazardous under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard and is regulated under Section 311-312 (40 CFR 370). It is safe to use in the mouth on a nightly basis and will not irritate the oral area or skin.  The Sentinel Hard Dental Night Guard is made of a copolyester material. Prolonged contact is non-irritating to the oral cavity or skin. This product also contains no HAP’s or ODS, does not contain any chemicals listed under the U. S. Clean Water Act Priority Pollutant and Hazardous Substance List & is not considered to be hazardous under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The Sentinel Dual Laminated Night Guard is a combination of both materials stated above and meets all likewise requirements.

Taking your dental impression on the upper teeth and lower teeth

When taking your lower dental impression you will receive trays that look slightly different than the upper teeth impression trays. The lower teeth impression tray has a “cut out” for your tongue. Follow the instructions exactly as written and you will be sure to get a great impression no matter which teeth arch you choose ensuring that your upper or lower dental night guard fits like a glove.

lower teeth impression tray
Lower teeth impression tray. Slightly different than an upper impression tray. Note the cutout for the tongue
upper teeth dental impression tray
Upper teeth impression tray
sentinel mouthguards dental impression instructions
Your Sentinel Mouthguard dental impression instructions will come with directions for taking the upper teeth impression. Please note it is the same exact process for the lower teeth.

sentinel mouthguards impression instructions with photos
What are the dentists saying?

Here are some varying opinions from dentists on whether to choose an upper or lower night guard:

“Both the upper or lower dental night guard serves the same function . They provide a gliding surface for teeth to rub against rather than a direct impact on teeth to teeth. If someone has a gag reflex we may recommend a lower night guard .”  Mark Bishara, DDS



Bottom Line
Consult your dentist as to whether they feel your individual case would benefit most from an upper or lower night guard. In most cases, it’s simply a matter of getting a well fitting guard that does its job of keeping the upper and lower jaw from coming into contact with each other.

night guard for teeth grinding

Affordable Night Guard For Teeth Grinding + Free Shipping

affordable night guards online

Looking for an affordable night guard for teeth grinding? You have come to the right place! Oh and there’s more good news:

You don’t have to leave your house.

  • Direct from the lab
  • Easy online ordering
  • Easy do-it-yourself dental impression kit
  • Affordable custom night guard same as dentist

buy night guard online

Meet Sentinel Mouth Guard Company

Sentinel Mouth Guard Company is an eCommerce dental mouth guard company located in the St. Petersburg/Tampa area distributing custom night guard products worldwide. We specialize in custom made mouth guards for persons suffering from bruxism (the habit of excessive teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching) and athletes involved in contact sports.

An affordable solution for teeth grinders available online

When you want to protect your teeth against the irreversible effects of involuntary teeth grinding, the only true option that is available is to protect your teeth with the use of a dental night guard. A dental night guard is for those who want to preserve their teeth, and perhaps, save on huge dental bills they will likely incur in the future. Instead of paying dental office prices, check out our direct lab services. We send out a DIY teeth impression kit with everything you need to take a nice cast of your teeth. Simply mail it back in to us using the prepaid mailer and never leave your home!

what does a night guard look like?

If you live in Tampa, Idaho, Montreal or even Singapore we can help! It’s time to shield your teeth from the  effects of jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Don’t waste your money on some other store-bought night guard product. The reason behind the high dissatisfaction rate amongst most of the night guards available is because these are not designed from a mold of your teeth, hence they become extremely uncomfortable at night.

With that in mind, you should be looking for a custom-made dental night guard that will fit your teeth like a glove and not add stress on your jaws.

Affordable Night Guard For Teeth Grinding Lab in Tampa, FL

Our low-cost dental night guards are customized for you and able to fully protect your teeth.  The Sentinel Night Guard is made by experienced, professional lab technicians & designed with the unique dental contours of the patient in mind.

Types of night guards offered

These include the hard dental night guard, dual laminated night guard, and the soft dental night guard. Each one of these come in varying thicknesses & material unique to patients who order them.

Which do I choose?

The decision to choose a particular night guard over the other depends on your dentist’s prescription and whether you’re an intense or moderate clencher/grinder.

How it works

The mechanism behind the Sentinel Night Guard is very straight forward. The oral piece simply creates a small space between your upper and lower arch. This way, your teeth will not come into contact with one another.

These customized night guards are made out of the mold of your teeth with the best material money can buy and because they are designed to follow the impression of your teeth, they will fit snugly and comfortably, whether you’re using them for sleeping at night or athletics purposes. The correct dental impression will include your teeth and also extend towards the gum tissues on the upper or lower part of the teeth.

affordable night guard for teeth grinding

Why these night guards for teeth grinding are different from others

Customers in Tampa/ St. Petersburg and those buying from other parts of the world can enjoy the fact that these night guards are more superior than boil & bite models. They’re the highest tier in mouth protection and outperform over the counter or stock mouth guards. What’s more: they’re thin, and this makes talking, breathing or even swallowing easier for the wearer.

Sentinel mouth guards can be bought online, plus our Live Chat experts are readily available for your questions. The company is situated in St. Petersburg/ Tampa Florida area (available online only), though it serves customers across the globe. Therefore, it only makes sense to protect your teeth using this low-cost solution rather than visiting your dentist for a costly tooth job in the future.

  • Direct from the lab
  • Easy online ordering
  • Easy do-it-yourself dental impression kit
  • Same as dentists at an affordable price.
comfortable dental night guard

Can You Sleep With A Mouth Guard?

Can you sleep with a mouth guard?

Comfortable Night Guards and Where to Find Them

How long does it take to get used to wearing one?

Is there such a thing as a comfortable night guard?

These are the two questions that ran through Mary’s mind as she sat with her dentist. “You need a night guard, Mary. Plain and simple. Those teeth of yours are going to look like broken eggshells if you keep grinding them together” he said.

The thought of wearing a plastic teeth guard to bed every night really bothered her. Never one to just fall asleep into blissful oblivion, she couldn’t imagine ever getting used to sleeping with a foreign object in her mouth night after night. Skeptical Mary politely thanked the doctor, went home and took to the internet to explore her options. She thought to herself “can you sleep with a mouth guard?”

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Night grinding or bruxism is a condition that is characterized by involuntary grinding of teeth when the individual is asleep at night.

Night grinding manifests in varying degrees across patients, and may cause a number of problems to the person involved. In fact, with the constant grinding at night, teeth structure is likely to suffer since vital tissues of the teeth are exposed as a result of the clenching. Again, the teeth of the patient may become uneven.

Depending on the severity of the problem, the condition may be serious, prompting the individual to resolve the issue as fast as possible. Thankfully, the effects of night grinding can be controlled with a night guard.

A night guard is a simple dental appliance that is worn in the mouth so the patient can protect their teeth from the effects of teeth grinding. These effects tend to be irreversible. This means that the moment the damage has occurred, it is impossible for the teeth to regenerate, thus restorative work is needed to fix the problem. This can be costly.

Therefore, it makes sense for the patient to manage their condition using a night guard. And just like most other products on the market, there are many options.

  1. Is a night guard uncomfortable to wear?
  2. What are the factors that increase chances of a night guard being uncomfortable?
  3. What are some of the characteristics of a comfortable night guard device?
  4. What are the most comfortable types of night guards?

So. Where art thou comfortable night guards?

It depends on the type of night guard a patient chooses.

If one chooses to go with a store bought night guard, comfort is usually sacrificed since store bought options are made in mass volume and created for the general public. On the other hand, if one chooses to buy a customized one, the device will conform to the natural contours of their dental anatomy, thus it will be more comfortable for them to wear.

Factors that increase chances of a night guard being comfortable

Conformity to the mouth, night guard material and material thickness will play the main roles in determining comfort level. You can opt for a soft or dual laminate material which feels cozy in the mouth. Soft night guards tend to be very comfortable for those suffering from minor cases of bruxism. Dual laminate devices with a soft interior and hard exterior tend to be more durable and comfortable to the person wearing them. A hard custom night guard can be very nice as well but make sure your dental impression is highly accurate. There is no room for error when wearing a hard night guard. If your hard night guard was made from a distorted dental impression you will feel it! Thinner is more comfortable but you will sacrifice durability and longevity the thinner you go. A 2mm thickness tends to be the most popular choice.

Characteristics of a comfortable night guard

It has to be constructed with a special kind of plastic which is in perfect sync with the dental tissues & tooth structure in the mouth. Again, the device has to be a snug fit (not too tight but not falling out of the mouth) to achieve maximum comfort a.k.a custom made.

The different types of night guards and comfort levels

On a large scale, there are three types of night guards a patient can buy. These include the standard types which can be purchased as ready-made, the boil and bite type which is partially customizes, and lastly — a custom-made device done by a professional dentist or a specialized night guard lab such as ours.

The first option tends to be uncomfortable since it’s standard. The second option is not so comfortable since it’s slightly modified. Lastly, the fully-customized option is the most comfortable.


If a patient can afford it, it’s best that they opt for the fully-customized option since it conforms to their dental impression. Luckily, dental night guards have become more affordable thanks to the internet and online services that allow you to take your own dental impression using a mail order system. Thickness is a primary factor in night guard comfort. The thinner the guard the more comfortable it is (but may be less durable). Fabrication method is also a factor. A knowledgeable, trained lab technician will be sure to make the night guard as comfortable as possible.

how long do dental night guards last?

“How Long Do Dental Night Guards Last?”

“How Long Do Dental Night Guards Last?”



How long do dental night guards last?

If you have been diagnosed with bruxism by your dentist, he/she may have recommended a night guard for you.

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Dental night guards are pretty expensive. With such a hefty price tag, you may find yourself wondering how long a dental night guard will serve you. How long do dental night guards last before you need to get a replacement?

Night guards have varying durability

This can be is attributed to a number of factors.

One of these factors is the type of night guard. Dental night guards come in different types, and each type is prescribed for a given severity of bruxism. The three most common types of night guards are: the soft night guards, dual laminate night guards and hard night guards. The average lifespan of night guards typically given as 2-10 years (sometimes less for the soft type). To understand the reason for this variation, let’s have a look at each type of night guard and its durability.

Soft Night Guards: Six months +

sentinel soft dental night guard for bruxism

This type is commonly prescribed to patients with mild bruxism. These are patients who don’t grind or clench their teeth on a nightly basis and when they do so, the grinding is not so significant. The material used to make these night guards is usually soft and doesn’t offer as much durability as the two types below though the soft night guards do handle the cases they have been prescribed for pretty well. So, if you’re a light teeth grinder or jaw clencher, the soft night guard should suffice.

Dual Laminate Dental Night Guard: 9 months to 5+ years

sentinel dual laminate dental night guard

The next type of night guard is the dual laminate night guard. This version is prescribed for moderate to severe bruxism. It is usually hard on the outside but soft on the inside and offers more durability than the soft night guard.

Hard Dental Night Guard: 12 months to 5+ years

hard dental night guard sentinel

Last but not least is the hard dental night guard. Generally prescribed for moderate to severe bruxism, this type is more durable than double laminate as long as it is 2mm thick or more. This is due to the solid hard  plastic used throughout the guard. Acrylic and acrylic-like plastic is a more durable material and can be known to last for 5 years or more under regular use.

Note: If you choose a thin style of any of the above mentioned guards you can expect to gain comfort and a minimalist feel but you will sacrifice durability.

Apart from the type of night guards, other factors also affect the durability of a night guard

These are: the severity of your teeth grinding as an individual and the age of the individual. The age of the individual is a viable factor since for younger patients such as toddlers, the night guards need to be changed frequently to accommodate the growth of teeth and teeth movement.

Despite the assured durability of a given type of night guard, there are certain practices that can cause the night guard to wear out faster than expected. One of these practices is poor night guard maintenance. A common mistake made by many people is washing their night guards using hot water. Hot water is known to weaken the plastic making the night guard and as a result, it loses shape and fails to fit well in the mouth, calling for a replacement. Eating and drinking with your night guard on will also contribute to reduced durability. The food or drink may discolor it and the food particles may accumulate on the mouth guard, providing a breeding place for bacteria and viruses. The material will discolor, become brittle and may warp or break.

Clean Your Night Guard To Ensure Longevity

cleaning your dental night guard

It is everyone’s desire to prolong the life of his/her dental night guard.

The surest way to do this is through careful maintenance of your night guard. For most people, cleaning their night guards is a commonly ignored matter. However, this is imperative. There are several ways of cleaning your night guard. One quick way is cleaning it using cold water, a toothbrush and toothpaste; just like you clean your own teeth.  Keep in mind some toothpastes can be very abrasive.

What’s the best way to clean my night guard?

An ideal solution is to purchase a natural cleanser such as Dr. Bronners Peppermint Soap.

You can cut this particular soap with water so it lasts and lasts. Get a soft toothbrush, place a little peppermint soap on the brush and gently clean your guard. Remember to dry it completely afterwards.  It leaves a nice peppermint smell. It’s all organic and very effective at keeping your guard fresh. Apart from this simple exercise; which should be done on a daily basis, it is recommended that once in a week, you soak it in a mix of a mouth guard cleaner and water for a few hours. This will remove plaque and bacteria in the night guard, and also give it a nice smell. Makeshift mouth guard cleaners such as vinegar have been suggested by some though they are not highly recommended as their odor will penetrate the plastic and last for a longer time which might not be appealing. Once you have cleaned your night guard, ensure you dry it thoroughly, keep it in a ventilated box, away from a heat source.

Dental night guards can serve you for a long time if you get the right type and maintain it the right way. In return for the service you are giving it, it will protect your teeth and save you from frighteningly costly dental repairs down the road.

does a dental night guard stop teeth grinding?

“Does A Dental Night Guard Stop Teeth Grinding?”


Many people grind their teeth subconsciously in their sleep.

Medically referred to as bruxism, this condition affects many people in oblivion, leaving the only chance of recognizing this condition to the signs of worn out teeth; which is dangerous.

Grinding of teeth takes place when the upper jaw and the lower jaw move back and forth with great force that tends to flatten out the teeth at the point of contact. This wear and tear eventually leads to sensitive teeth due to the complete wearing out of the enamel; that exposes the nerve endings of the tooth to the external environment. As a matter of fact, bruxism has been named as one of the major causes of teeth problems in the world.

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What is the purpose of a night guard?

To combat this condition, night guards were invented.

So, what are night guards? A night guard is a mouthpiece that is worn on the teeth to offer protection to the enamel during grinding. These night guards are usually not standard in size due to the fact that there are different degrees of bruxism and different mouth types. Night guards are not the sexiest things on earth. It is therefore not a surprise that so many people find the idea of using a night guard rather off. But if you don’t want to deal with the pain of losing a tooth, or have to deal with expensive teeth restorations and repairs a dental night guard is the greatest solution.

And does a night guard stop teeth grinding?

Misconceptions in the medical world are unavoidable. Getting to know what night guards are and why one has to wear a night guard is not enough to separate fact from fiction; in this case the misconception is that night guards stop the teeth from grinding. The truth of the matter is that bruxism is a natural occurrence whose actual cause is yet to be established. However, several theories regarding the cause of bruxism have been raised, one of them being stress. The lack of an established cause has relatively led to the lack of an established cure. There is no viable cure for bruxism. Treatments such as biofeedback hypnosis and botox have been used in combating Bruxism but the most effective treatment so far is the use of a night guard.

The role of a dental night guard is essential in prevention

A night guard protects the teeth from damage due to grinding and rather does not stop the grinding. Since tooth grinding is natural and quite unavoidable during sleep, a night guard covers the enamel thus offering a protective layer over the enamel. This protects the enamel from damage, during tooth grinding.

With the fact that night guards do not prevent grinding but rather protect the teeth from damage during grinding well understood, it is key to note that bruxism is a condition better diagnosed by a dentist. However, there are some pointers that might help you know whether you have the condition. These are: waking up with pain in the facial region and teeth, cracks and fractures on the teeth. If you have these signs when you wake up, it is a good idea to visit your dentist as soon as possible to avoid losing your teeth, and rather speeding up your ageing process. The dentist will recommend a night guard for you that will effectively protect your teeth from the grinding force of your jaw movement as you sleep.

3mm sentinel soft dental night guard

How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?

Dental Night Guard Thickness: “How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

How thick should a dental night guard be?

Most customers that ring our line here at Sentinel have two questions:

Short answer: There is no night guard on the market that is perfect for every single individual. It simply doesn’t exist. The reason why is because every one of us has a different mouth shape, teeth arch, and dental anatomy. To go beyond that, we also have different levels of intensity when dealing with grinding and clenching habits. Some of us will grind right through a thin guard within a few months while a thin type may last and last for a less intense teeth grinder.

“So How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

Custom Night Guard

Effective night guards are specific to the individual.

We’ve found that the best way to find the solution to these two questions is to first determine your own grinding habits. Are you a severe teeth grinder or clencher? Light to moderate? Have you worn a night guard in the past? Was it thick or thin? Tolerable? If your only experience with night guards has been the use of a cheap store bought kind, you will be happy to learn that even our thickest night guard is smaller and less bulky than most mass produced, bulky stock type.

Second, accept that finding a dental night guard that works for you might include a little trial and error. We hope to nail it the first time around (and most often we do!). But just in case you receive your dental night guard and think “I wish I would have gone thicker (or thinner)” or “I wish I would have chosen a different type” DO NOT WORRY! We’re here to get you a great fitting guard. This means working with you until you say “Yep! This one is perfect for me.” Period.

thin dental night guard

A Little Bruxism Background Info

Bruxism is a condition that makes you grind, clench or gnash your teeth during sleep.

If a person has the condition, they may grind their teeth during the day or they may also grind/clench their teeth while asleep. Night bruxism is more common and tends to raise more concern compared to experiencing the condition during the day. This is because we grind and/or clench significantly harder at nighttime. Wearing a night guard is a preventative measure. Even a person with mild bruxism may have major dental issues down the road if the condition persists and they opt to forego the wearing a protective appliance for the teeth. Bruxism can make life uncomfortable not to mention expensive (costly dental repairs).

Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep disorder. Some research has indicated that it can be caused by other sleep complications/conditions such as sleep apnea, snoring & disturbed sleep patterns of the individual. The reason for this is most likely an unconscious response to the collapsed airways by tightening the jaw muscles to prevent restrictions of airflow. If you have even a mild form of the condition, through years of continuous grinding or clenching action, it can lead to damaged teeth, gum recession, jaw disorders and bad headaches. It is thus important for you to seek treatment from a qualified dentist.

The Use of a Dental Night Guard

If you have visited a dentist and a diagnosis has confirmed that indeed you have the problem, it is important to manage the condition.

Bottom line: Don’t sweep this one under the rug. Untreated bruxism can cause major and expensive dental work down the road). The only known surefire way to protect your teeth from the effects of bruxing is the consistent use of a dental night guard.

While shopping around, most shoppers encounter a dilemma right off the bat:

Dental Night Guard Thickness: “How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

sentinel mouthguard co

You already know that the best way to go is to avoid mass produced “one size fits all types” and order a custom dental night guard from a reputable company. Sentinel Mouthguard Co. makes it easy for you to take an impression of your teeth by providing a kit that allows you do it from the comfort of your home. Once the lab receives your impression, we are able to customize and produce a dental night guard that fits your teeth like a glove but there are still decisions to make here. Below are some tips and tricks to steer you towards the right thickness.

Tips and Tricks

1mm Thin Dental Night Guard (optimal for daytime use)

If you are looking for a dental night guard that you can wear during the day, a 1mm thin dental guard may be the best option for you. This is because it allows you to conduct your daily activities including speaking without a problem. This type of dental night guard is available in a thickness of 1mm and its slimline design allows you wear it comfortably & speak with ease for the duration of your day. Always remove your daytime guard while eating and drinking. This type of dental nightguard is likely to serve you for a period of between six months to two years. Pictured below is the Sentinel Hard Dental Night Guard (1mm thick) for your daytime needs.

thin Sentinel night guard
1mm thickness (for light teeth grinders)

Thin 1mm dental night guard for day or night use

Medium Thickness Night guard (2mm)

If on the other hand you have a case of night bruxism that is moderate, you are better off settling for a dental night guard of medium thickness. This guard will have the capacity to protect your teeth while being comfortable in the mouth. This thickness is not bulky. A nickel coin is a great reference point to get an idea of a 2mm thick night guard. The nickel is almost exactly two millimeters thick.  The medium thickness dental night guard is available is likely to serve you for a period of between one to three years.

Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard

3mm Thick Dental Night Guard (for heavy teeth grinding/jaw clenching)

In case you have a severe form of the condition that is adversely affecting your teeth, it may be advisable (always check with your dentist) to choose a thicker (3mm) dental night guard. These guards are a full 3mm of thickness between the chewing surfaces of the teeth and you can therefore expect complete protection no matter how serious your condition is. However, due to their thickness, the thicker guard may take some initial “getting used to” and most often require some adjustments. Since they are thick enough to withstand your grinding, you can expect them to serve you for a period of between two to five years. We offer a 3mm soft (flexible) night guard only. We do not offer the 3mm thickness is the hard or dual laminate types because of the complex fabrication of these thicker appliances & greater need for adjustments. It is best to purchase this type in the hard or dual laminated materials through your dentist so that he/she can fit you correctly.

sentinel soft night guard

“How Thick Should a Dental Night Guard Be?”

All Sentinel Mouthguards and Nightguards are backed by our 100% satisfaction guarantee. This doesn’t just mean we’ll give you your money back if it doesn’t work out the first time around. This means we will work with you continuously (if you so choose) to get you a night guard that is a great fit FOR YOU.

Custom Dental Night Guard

What Does A Night Guard Do?

It is well known that a smile is an important asset in life, yet it is often taken for granted. Whether you flaunt your all-natural teeth when you smile, or have cosmetically enhanced your teeth in one way or the other, a dental night guard may be the solution you need to protect your teeth. A dental night guard is a device that is normally considered to be the first-line treatment for teeth grinding (bruxism). Often known as an occlusal splint, the dental night guard might cover just one row of teeth or both rows, depending on one’s requirements. Generally, a night guard is recommended to be worn on one teeth arch only (not both). The best night guard type is custom fitted to help reduce the clenching and grinding during the night. It is worn at night (and sometimes during the day) to protect your teeth against potential damage by the grinding or clenching. The action of grinding or clenching teeth at night is considered a sleep disorder. The effects of stress, one’s irregular bite, medications, stimulants or other issues may be the cause. Wearing a night guard will significantly reduce the effects of continuous grinding & clenching by creating a barrier between the chewing surfaces of the teeth thus preventing direct tooth on tooth contact.

what does a night guard do Ordering online–
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 common 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.

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.


buy affordable night guard here

So what does a night guard do exactly?

A dental night guard will reduce your teeth grinding problem by:

• Relaxing your jaws, thereby reducing muscles spasms;

• Easing the tension that leads to a constant ache and alleviating constant headaches;

• Allowing your jaw muscles to align properly, thereby preventing your teeth from constantly locking together;

• Providing an alternative to your teeth to help prevent wear

• It also cushions the teeth, thereby preventing your teeth from damage due to the grinding or clenching action.

A dental night guard will not only protect your teeth against surface damage, gum problems (including recession) and loose teeth, it will also help strengthen your teeth.

During daytime, it is important to note that the teeth are supposed to meet when you are chewing or swallowing. At other times, teeth should be apart and lips together. Teeth grinding can overtime wear away the teeth surface, making them susceptible to damage, becoming loose or painful. While upper arch (maxillary) devices are often used to treat the condition, a lower arch device can be recommended to a patient who doesn’t want to have a visible or noticeable device or if there is a serious gag reflex action with the maxillary device. A night guard on either teeth arch will serve the same function. That is, to create a barrier so that the teeth do not have direct tooth on tooth contact with one another.

There are a number of materials that can be used to make a dental night guard, including hard and soft plastics or a combination of both. All materials are effective, although the hard night guards are less flexible and therefore, more likely to stay in place longer, preventing direct tooth on tooth grinding for a longer period of time. These types are generally more expensive than soft night guards.

Drufomat ScanA professional dental lab can also tailor a dental night guard for your individual needs. The dimensions and outline of your mouth are recorded and used to make a custom night guard. This is usually the best night guard because it provides the best fit and comfort.

You may have bought a one size fits all dental night guard previously, but what you may not know is that your teeth impression should be used to make the dental night guards for the best results. A professional lab can customize a night guard for you based on your teeth impression.

Quality dental night guards can be quite affordable and you can easily avoid further damage to your teeth surface. They can also help protect your valuable investment in case you have undergone a dental smile makeover. With these devices, some change in the fit can occur over time. For instance, your dental anatomy may shift over the years and cause your dental night guard to not fit like it used to. Night guards should be regularly assessed and adjusted to ensure they are well fitting and serving their purpose well. Poorly devised or badly aligned night guards might not be able to solve the issue. Well-adjusted dental night guards will enable anyone with bruxism to lead a normal lifestyle, without having to worry about tooth wear or any other dental-related does a dental night guard work?

For your dental night guard to properly limit the issue related to teeth grinding, it is highly recommended to wear the device each night. Some patients will ultimately be able to stop teeth grinding over time and the night guard won’t be required. In order to maintain the night guard, it must be properly cleaned after use by brushing it and rinsing thoroughly.

How Are Dental Night Guards Made?

Here is the process to make a night dental guard:

Step 1: Impression Taking
This is a critical step to guarantee an excellent end result. A negative copy of the lower and/or upper teeth is taken in order to create a stone cast from it. The impression gels have viscosities that capture the softness and hardness of the tissues. This cast or mold is used in a dental laboratory to create the custom dental night guard. In a dental office, most often a type of alginate is used to take your dental impression. The powdery alginate is mixed with water. You may remember seeing this goopy mixture if you have ever had your dental impression taken in a dental office setting.

The impression material you receive when you order online is not messy like the alginate yet gives the same clear results.  It is similar to play-doh in texture and mixes together easily with no residue. Taking your own dental impression is easy. Mix the two putties together and roll into a hotdog like shape. Place the putty in the tray and submerge all the whites of your teeth. Hold very still and the putty will begin to harden. Remove when putty has completely hardened.

how to take teeth impression
Mixing putty (base & catalyst) | Different sized dental impression trays |

Step 2: Making of the Mold

Once the impression has been taken, it is time to pour up the stone cast of the teeth. Here you may begin to understand why the impression taking process is so important. A stone replica of the teeth should capture all of your unique dental anatomy. It should be a perfect cast of your exact teeth. The gum margin should be visible too. The lab will mix a powdery dental stone and water together to create a thick, soupy mixture. A dental vibrator is used for thorough mixing. The stone is then laid carefully into the teeth impression. It is stacked high to create a nice base and the weight of the stone disrupts any bubbles that may have formed in the teeth area. Now we wait for the stone to harden. Hardening times differ (on average it’s about a 20 minute wait time). The stone will become hot before it cools. After the model is dry and hard, we carefully remove the stone from the dental impression. It is always necessary to trim the excess stone material. All of this prep work is to ensure that the night guard will fit as perfectly as possible. It is imperative not to skip steps. Make sure that the back of the stone cast lays completely flat so that the night guard material can distribute evenly across the surfaces of the teeth. When the model is trimmed and dried it is then sprayed with a lubricant so that the night guard material separates easily from the stone mold during fabrication.

how is a dental night guard madetrimming the excess stone on a stone cast of teeth

Step 3: Fabrication
Now that the model is ready for fabrication, the process to follow is a method of bilamination by thermopressure. In this process, the trimmed model and night guard sheet is placed under a heater to soften the materials. A timer is set and the mold is ready to be thermoformed and pressurized. After this process, the mold is left to cool down before a second trimming takes place. A skilled technician uses multiple burs, cutting wheels and a bit of artistry to create a well-fitted custom appliance.

how is a custom mouth guard made?
black athletic mouthguard is getting its second layer of mouthguard material. The Drufomat Scan (machine) has the capability to fuse several layers of material together for a thicker appliance to be made (if necessary).

Step 4: Delivery
When the dental guard is finished, it is delivered to the customer to try it in and check for fit and comfort. The guard should be stable and not cause any kind of pain or discomfort. Some tightness may be felt initially but should ease after a few days of consistent use. Sometimes it is necessary to do minor adjustments, but this occurs in rare occasions. If everything fits perfectly, the customer also receives instructions for proper wear and care of the guard. A case is also provided to keep it in when not in use.
Teeth grinding or bruxism can greatly weaken the teeth, cause chipping and high sensitivity. If it is left untreated not only the health of the teeth and jaw can be compromised, but your overall health and lifestyle can change.

A professionally made dental night guard can relieve the pain and discomfort caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching and also protect the teeth from further damage (weakening, breakage, flattening).

The night guard keeps the teeth from making direct contact with one another which helps to avoid the effects of grinding of the teeth and the clenching of the jaw.
Every case is different. It is important to speak to a certified dental professional to see if the use of a dental night guard is needed and what type of night guard is more appropriate for a specific situation.

Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a serious condition that can lead to a number of problems like jaw disorders, jaw pain, earaches, and persistent headaches, to name a few. This condition affects people from all ages and the generally identified causes can be physical, psychological, or both, including:

-Emotions, like stress, frustration, anger, or anxiety

– Personality, either hyperactive, competitive or aggressive

– Malocclusion which is the abnormal alignment of the teeth

– Sleep problems

– Acid reflux

– Response to pain

– Complications from certain disorders

– Genetics

A person with bruxism requires treatment.

An immediate solution to stopping all the dental damage and health problems this condition causes is the use of a professionally made dental night guard. As opposed to the over-the-counter mouth guards, a professionally made dental guard will fit the patient’s mouth to the slightest detail, protecting the teeth and the jaw from additional pain and damage during sleep.
The way the dental night guards are fabricated guarantees their effectiveness due to the preciseness of the process the dental lab goes through, which also gives the patient not only the piece of mind of wearing a guard professionally made just for them, but also the comfort to have a good sleep without having to worry about the guard in their mouth.

sentinel 2mm soft dental night guard

dentist made night dental guards

“Why Do Dental Night Guards Cost So Much?” | Sentinel Mouthguard Team

Why Do Dental Night Guards Cost So Much?

What do dental night guards cost?Short answer: Dental night guards cost as little as $20 and as much as $1500. They vary greatly in price.

Store bought “ready to wear” dental night guards cost as little as $20.00. Some dentists are charging upwards of $800. Online you can purchase a custom made night guard by taking your own dental impression for as little as $99.00. What gives? Sometimes your dentist can justify the price of what dental night guards cost. If they are making you a complex guard to treat misalignment of the jaw or sleep apnea, for example, you will just have to suck it up and pay the price. If your dentist is making you a traditional custom night guard with no bells and whistles, it might be wise to explore your options (hint: keep reading)..

Teeth grinding or bruxism is not only painful but can also be harmful to ones’ dental health. It can result in the fracturing of teeth and eventually teeth loss. In some chronic cases, it could even lead to jaw disorders such as temporomandibular joint disorder and change the appearance of the face. The worst part is that it usually happens when the person is asleep ,and thus, unaware of any knowledge of performing the act.

So why DO night guards cost so much?

If you find yourself in the market for a night dental guard and you’re unsure of which route to take, there is comfort (not to mention savings) in knowing your options.

The good news is, night dental guards were created to counter the effects of bruxism. This is a removable appliance worn by patients during sleep to protect his teeth and jaw from the damage caused by the habit. It reduces the hazardous effects triggered by teeth grinding. The question is- why the hefty cost? and which one is better — the ones made by dentists or the direct night guard labs online ? To help individuals in their decision making, let’s have a closer look at the pros and cons of each one.

Dentist Made Night Dental Guards

Pros of going through your dentist:

1. The primary advantage of choosing to go to your local dentist for your night guard is convenience.

He or she will do all the work for you. During the initial visit, the dentist will take impressions of your teeth and fill out the necessary paper work as your teeth impression is sent to a professional dental laboratory for fabrication. A return visit is done to fit the fabricated night guard once it has been shipped to your dentist.

2. Fitting adjustments.

If your night guard needs some minor adjustments it’s more convenient to visit your dentist and have him make adjustments to any areas of concern.

3. Ability to make a more customized type.

Custom dental night guards can become more involved if a person is being treated for TMJ or alignment issues. If a dentist recommends you wear a night guard with special metal clasps, or ramps etc because of TMJ, alignment or other issues, you will not want to go through an online night guard lab. You will need to rely on and trust the expertise of your dentist.


And the not-so-good side of going through a dentist…

1. Price.

The downside is that it could cost you anywhere from $300 up to $1200+. Also, often times, the dental night guard cost is not covered by your insurance. On the brighter side of things, given that the night guard you purchase from your dentist are made from the molds from your teeth impression, it usually has a snug and comfortable fit. It has a slim design making it closely fitted, plus it is stable when worn.

2. No guarantee.

Many dentists (not all- there are some great ones out there) do not offer any sort of money back guarantee. Check with your dentist to see if he/she will refund you if you’re not satisfied. Most online night guard labs offer full refunds if you’re dissatisfied for any reason.


Online Night Dental Night Guards

Upsides baby!

1. Same. Exact. Nightguard. (unless your dentist is fashioning a more complicated type to treat sleep apnea, TMJ, misalignment, etc).

Today, consumers have an option of buying custom made night guards online. Dental guards purchased online have the same quality as the ones you get from a dentist, not only because it is custom made but because the same dental labs where your dentist gets your night guards are the same guys who fabricate the night guards you get directly online. That was wordy. What we meant to say is: It’s the exact same thing!

2. Price.

The best part is that you could save around $300 to $800 by skipping your dentist’s high fees. Dental night guards online will only cost you from $100-200. Getting the same quality for a lower price is indeed a great benefit. Plus, Sentinel Mouthguards offers free all inclusive shipping on any product.

different types of dental night guards
Sentinel Mouthguard Co. offers 3 different types of custom night guards to choose from + you pick your desired thickness. All inclusive free shipping in the USA!

3. Money back guarantee and/or satisfaction guarantee.

Finding the right night guard can sometimes feel a lot like the Goldilocks’ dilemma. Too thick. Too thin. Too soft. Too hard. Personal preference varies and what works great for one may not work for another. Again, a reputable night guard lab will work with you to find your perfect night guard match even after you’ve received your product. This is what 100% satisfaction means!

A few “cons” of going the online route:

1. You are responsible for the outcome of your own dental impression. Making your own teeth impression from the home kit provided is easy but requires your focus. You must read the instructions and watch the tutorial video before attempting your dental impression. Note* reputable dental night guard labs should have no problem sending you a new dental impression kit for free if you don’t get your impression right at first.

2. Any adjustments to your night guard device that may be needed are easier to perform in a dental office when the patient is present and can work with the dentist to reach satisfaction of fit. However, you can still get adjustments made through an online night guard lab. You should be aware the this will take more time because of the mailing correspondence involved. Also, most reputable online dental night guard sellers will offer money back guarantee to ensure customer satisfaction.

So how much does an night guard cost from the dentist?

Dental office night guard cost

Our tecustom mouth guardeth tend to be resilient considering the constant biting, chewing and grinding they are prone to. With time, however, changes keep occurring to our teeth. For instance, they continually wear and tear as one ages, and you may experience problems such as grinding your teeth at night or even clenching your jaw. Such problems can lead to a dental condition known as bruxism, which may put your teeth at the risk of erosion and pain if not treated. In such a case, dentists recommend using custom mouth guards.

Mouth guards are important in protecting your teeth, this is because frequent teeth grinding and clenching can severely damage your dental health resulting in cracks and fractures on your teeth. Instead of going for costly and painful procedures such as getting root canals, crowns, or bridges why not use preventive measures such as dental night guards.

How much is a mouth guard from the dentist?
There are a number of night guard options out there ranging from cheap options to very expensive ones. It is important to carefully evaluate all the available choices before purchasing your dental night guards. It is important is to find the dental night guard that best protect your teeth, while giving you service for a long time.

What kind of dental night guards should I go for?

First, what to avoid:
The Sports Mouth Guard
blue sentinel athletic mouthguardSports mouth guards are very common; this is because it is mandatory for young children to have them on while playing most sports. They are made of stiff plastic, making them uncomfortable to wear for long hours because of their hard material. Some can be boiled then molded to your teeth, but they tend to be bulky. They are a great option for protecting teeth from impact during sport activities.



They are not effective as dental night guards as their structure and material causes sleeping and breathing difficulties. In fact, they can worsen the condition and may cause jaw problems because of their bulky nature and bad fit.



Acceptable Night Guard Choices


Over the Counter Dental Night Guard
You can actually purchase night mouth guards over the counter from some convenience stores. They are made of plastic and can be boiled then fitted to your teeth. They are similar to sports mouth guards, only that their material is softer and more comfortable for night use.
They are relatively affordable as their price falls in the range of $15 -$30 and can be used as dental night guards. However, they are fairly thick and one may find them rather uncomfortable to wear. Many people complain that the excess material towards the back and up the sides makes it difficult to wear.


Professional Night Guard from Dentists
These are custom dental night guards ordered directly from your dentist. Usually, the dentist takes a mold of your teeth then takes it to the lab, where your own customized dental night guard for your teeth is created.
These night guards are very effective at preventing teeth grinding at night as they are custom fitted for your teeth specifically. They vary in thickness depending on the severity of teeth grinding. In addition to preventing teeth grinding, they curb jaw strain and enhance better jaw muscle positioning preventing long term teeth grinding and clenching. They are comfortable to wear and can give you service for a very long time if well take care of.
However, this is the most expensive option out there, with their price falling in the range of $300 to $1200+ depending on the dentist. The dental office price can vary greatly depending on which state you live in and particular area within that state (ex: in NYC the price for a night guard averages over $1000)

sentinel mouthguard coProfessional Night Guard from Online Stores
These are custom dental night guards ordered from online stores. Sentinel Mouthguard Company will send you supplies and instructions to help you take a mold of your teeth from which you take it to them.


Then we use your mold to create a customized dental night guard. These appliances produced are the same high quality dental night guard as you would get from your own dentist, serving the same purpose of comfort and protection.


This is a less expensive yet very reliable alternative to purchasing from your dentist, as the level of quality is the same. Price falls in the range of $90 to $140, making this a very effective yet cheap option to go for. Basically, dentists are more expensive as you pay them for taking the mold of your teeth; this is the only difference between the two unless your dentist is making a more complex appliance (such as one for TMJ that sets the jaw into desired position). Check out our frequently asked questions page for more information on how it works, the Sentinel guarantee (something a dentist very rarely offers) and more!

How much do professional night guards cost from online stores?

With the many options out there, you may be split for choice. The option of buying “one size fits all” type of mouth guards, may seem as a convenient temporary fix to prevent teeth grinding, however this may not give you service for a long time. You can comfortably enjoy the services of a professional dental lab at half the price from buying from an online store. This is a convenient option because the mouth guard is custom made to suit your mouth and it saves you loads of money and it is hassle free. There are many online stores out there dealing with selling of mouth guards, ensure you go to a credited source to avoid the risks associated with fraudsters.


In today’s world, most people underestimate the importance of dental care. They fail to understand that oral issues can lead to wide range of disorders affecting different regions of the body. As a result, it is quite essential that you understand what your oral health requirements are. The cost of dental night guards might seem too much for some, but in reality it is a worthy investment. These are items that will help you not only today, but in future also.

In conclusion

Healthy strong teeth are vital for not only proper dental health but also for comfort and well-being. If diagnosed with bruxism, worry less; however take preventive measures to ensure the problem does not go further. Most dentists often suggest expensive custom mouth guards but by going to an online store you can save tremendous amounts of money while enjoying the same comfort and protection. Why spend $ 500+? You can save more than half the price by going for online options and have your mouth guards made at the same quality. Well there you have it. Thank you for taking the time to read!


Whether you choose night guards made by your dentists or purchase custom made online night guards, we hope that you would finally sleep better knowing that your teeth grinding won’t cause damage to your dental health and that you purchased the best night guard available today (custom made) to suit your needs.