dog ate my night guard

My Dog Ate My Night Guard!

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

My dog ate my night guard!

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

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

After My Dog Ate My Night Guard

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

Here’s how it works:

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

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

sentinel dual laminate night guard

BPA Free Dental Night Guards

Are Night Guards BPA Free? Pthalate free?

BPA free dental night guards

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

All Sentinel Mouthguards are completely BPA Free

logo_SM_250_blackAre Sentinel Mouth Guards & Night Guards Phthalate Free?
Phthalates, commonly known as plasticizers, are chemicals included in plastics to make them flexible and harder to break. The CDC affirms that any dangers posed by low amounts of phthalates are unknown but have also revealed that in large amounts, phthalates have had an effect on laboratory animals’ reproductive systems. Most forms of vinyl need phthalates in their processing but lucky for us, EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) vinyl, which is used in making soft night guards, contains absolutely no phthalates. Dialkyl ortho-phthalate (o-DAPS) is used in the manufacture of some hard acrylic night guards to give them the thermoplastic nature. While people are exposed to phthalates from an array of products & sources such as dietary sources, teething rings & toys, indoor air pollution and, to a lesser extent, dermal contact, human health effects from phthalates at low environmental doses are currently unknown.

Sentinel Dental Night Guards do not contain phthalates

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


“Why do we not like BPA?”

BPA is linked with

cardiovascular disease

breast, brain & prostate cancer

Attention related disorders

Erectile dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction

Learning disorders

Early onset puberty




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

All Sentinel Mouthguards are BPA, silicon and latex free.

night guard pain

Can a Night Guard Shift Your Teeth?

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

Let’s first start by determining which type of dental night guard you’re using. Are you wearing a boil and bite or one size fits all dental guard that you purchased through a retailer like CVS, Walgreens or Amazon? This could be an issue. Though some do have success wearing these less expensive versions (versus custom made) many people feel discomfort and report being unsatisfied with their purchase.  These mass produced night guards can even lead to greater problems like increased jaw pain and/or soreness. One of the reasons for this is because mouth arches and teeth sizes are so varied. It’s terribly difficult to create a “one size fits all” solution. Can a night guard shift your teeth? Perhaps the use of an ill-fitting hard night guard could shift your teeth if worn continuously or a more likely story is that your teeth naturally may shift over time.

Custom Night Guard

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

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

teeth grinding and stress

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

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

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

Sentinel Soft Dental Night Guard

Why is my night guard causing me pain?

A couple of things to remember:

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

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

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

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

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

dental night guard cost

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

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

Why is my night guard not fitting my mouth?

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

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

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

What further problems do ill-fitting night guards cause?

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

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

night guard for missing teeth

Finding The Right Night Guard For Missing Teeth

The Search For The Perfect Night Guard (when you have imperfect teeth)

Finding The Right Night Guard For Missing Teeth

If you’re missing one or many teeth and need to wear a nighttime guard, you may already know the struggles of finding a secure, comfortable and well fitting night guard.

Custom Night Guard

Protect Your Teeth

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A custom fitted dental guard made specifically from your distinct teeth anatomy will make a remarkable difference compared to molding a preformed OTC night guard to your teeth.

But even purchasing a custom night guard can sometimes bring on some troubles of its own if the technician is not accustomed to making mouth guards with missing teeth. Most often (when constructing these guards) it takes extra skill, time, a bit of patience & most importantly- The right machine.

The Trouble:

1. Not using the right machine. 

Many night guards are made using a lower level vacuum forming machine aka the “suck down”. This machine is a great step up from any mass produced (one size fits all) or boil & bite types. BUT. but. It’s a big step down from a Drufomat or Biostar that uses high pressure and heat + computerized technology to get an extremely precise fit. You especially need this precision when constructing mouth guards for persons with missing teeth because the material has to form tightly around all those nooks and crannies. Because a mouth with missing teeth has so many deep variations in anatomy, it is very important to use this top level machine to get a great fit. Not to mention this is the only type that can combine multiple layers to make your guard as thick or thin as you need.

Q: What type of machine does Sentinel use?

For all of our products we use (and are great fans of) the Drufomat Scan Pressure machine. It attaches to an air compressor and incorporates high pressure, high heat and computer technology that is specific to each type of material used.

Drufomat Scan

2. Fabrication (especially when working with hard dental guards)

Construction of a night guard with missing teeth can be difficult for an unfamiliar technician. I note the difficultly specific to hard acrylic night guards because of the non-flexibility of the material. The stiff material used for the hard night guard can be challenging to work with for an unfamiliar technician (especially when dealing with missing teeth). Many people do not know (when purchasing a night guard through their dentist) that often times, a dental assistant is actually the one fabricating the night guard. These dental assistants may or may not be trained in proper night guard fabrication.

The Solution

Making great mouth guards & night guards is a skill that develops over time. Sentinel Mouth Guards is a specialized lab that only deals in mouth guard, night guard & whitening tray fabrication. We have delivered thousands of great fitting teeth protectors while always striving to make improvements and grow as a company producing only the highest quality products.

night guard for missing teeth

As a customer, your single most important step to ensure you get the best fitting night guard is to take a clear, accurate dental impression. Learn more about how to take your own dental impression here. It’s easy!

hard acrylic night guard for teeth grinding fits seamlessly on teeth

Difference Between Dental Night Guard Types


different types of dental night guardsSo you’re faced with the decision to buy a custom fit night guard for your teeth grinding or jaw clenching habits. But which one?

Should you go with the less expensive soft night guard? Or the dual laminated (soft interior/hard exterior)? Or the hard, thin acrylic type?

What’s the difference?

What is the night guard material made out of?

Most online companies are pretty vague about these product descriptions. Here we will attempt to give you a better understanding of the night guard you will be wearing + the pros & cons of each type so that you can make the right choice.

Did you know that there have been a few studies suggesting that soft night guards actually encourage grinding? The argument here is that we innately want to chew on the soft plastic material. Now this theory has more substance if we’re talking about the soft store bought sleep guards like the Dentek Night Guard that you boil & bite to fit to your teeth. Because the Dentek night guard and other boil & bites alike are not true custom-fitted guards, there is a greater chance that the guard will slide or move around while you sleep. This action could entice the user to want to grind on the soft plastic device. We cannot stress enough that boiling & biting a mouth guard is not the same as having a custom fit night guard made for you. It’s the difference between having a pair of pants that are too big for you professionally tailored to fit & throwing the pants in the dryer hoping they will shrink a little.


Let’s talk about the  Hard Dental Night Guard.

When you’re considering purchasing the hard night guard, you should first determine your grinding habits. Are you a heavy grinder?

Do you already have occlusal damage/wear from grinding or clenching? Can your partner hear you grinding your teeth together at night? Do you have a lot of stress in your life that causes intense grinding?

Hard night guards are known for their durability. They are mostly recommended for moderate to tough/heavy grinding habits. They also snap on and stay in place (remember the above mention about the increased chance of mobility found in some soft night guards?). Your night guard should stay secure on your teeth.

Determine how severe your bruxism (teeth grinding) is. If you only grind sometimes and you feel like it is relatively light in intensity, a custom fitted (not over the counter boil & bite) soft night guard may be a better option for you. A trained dentist will be able to accurately determine the severity of your grinding habits.

Some common complaints about the hard dental night guard often involve comfort. Some customers have said that the hard material is too tight or oppositely it comes loose. Some complain of hard (and even jagged) edges damaging the tongue or gums.

These complaints are most often a consequence of a dental professionals lack of care/knowledge when fabricating the night appliance.

It starts with a good dental impression. This is the first and most important step and should be taken very seriously. A clear and precise dental impression of your teeth will guarantee a perfect fit.

The second complaint (the hard/jagged edges) can be prevented by a caring, detail oriented dental professional that will be careful not to extend the guard all the way to the margin (the gum line) and will use a high polishing technique to make every surface smooth and comfortable. Overall, most serious grinders prefer the hard acrylic stint option or the dual laminated guard as they are both tough, durable and excellent for keeping the teeth aligned properly.

The Dual Laminated Dental Night Guard:

This type of guard takes a special machine that combines heat & pressure to fuse two layers together.

Not all offices/companies can make this type of sleep guard. It has a thin, soft inside and a hard durable outside. The hard outside is made with the exact same hard material used to make the all over hard dental night guard.

So you’re essentially getting the best of both worlds. Your teeth will feel comfortable against the soft gel-like inside & the hard outside will do it’s “knightly” duties to combat the effects of Bruxism. This little device is also extra durable. You will have to do some serious damage to grind through the two layers.

One concern some people have about this particular custom appliance is that it may be too thick. Here at Sentinel Mouthguards, we give you the option to choose your own thickness. You can choose between 1mm, 2mm, or 3mm (3mm in soft type only).  If you see a company boasting that their night guards are 3mm or more thick you may want to reconsider using them. 3mm+ is great for an athletic mouthguard (when you’re potentially taking hits to the face) but if you’re attempting to wear a thick night guard while you sleep, there’s a good chance it is going to end up on the other side of your bedroom in the morning.

The Soft .120 Dental Night Guard

The soft .120 custom fitted night guard is the least expensive option (unless you go through a dentist). It can be purchased on our website for less than $100. Recently, we have added the “choose your thickness option”. You can choose between a 1mm (for light bruxism), 2mm (moderate bruxism) or 3mm (heavy bruxism).

The soft night guard is comfortable and highly effective in preventing jaw pain, soreness, teeth damage, and headaches. Now, it is said by dental professionals that these soft types do not typically last as long as the hard night guard or the dual laminated guard. Most companies end their warranty at about 6 months of use. However. HOWEVER. We’ll let you in on a little secret. These soft babies can last quite a long time. It really just depends on your grinding habits. If you’re a light to medium grinder, this may be the perfect solution for you. Make sure to keep yours very clean (daily cleanings) and dry and store it in its original retainer case.

What is a night guard made out of?

We can’t tell you that all night guards are created equal. Dentists and labs alike are allowed to choose where they purchase their materials and supplies. Material prices range and so does quality.

Here at Sentinel, we use Proform material for all of our night guards. Time tested, this has proved to be an excellent high quality and durable material.

Product Name: Proform NiteGuard Manufacturer: KEYSTONE INDUSTRIES. The night guard material is BPA free, Phthalate, Silicon & Latex free.

Additional information:

-Material is not considered hazardous by OSHA per 29 CFR 1910.

At Sentinel Mouthguard Co, we continuously strive to provide you with the most up to date, accurate information on all mouthguard related topics. We would love to get your feedback!