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.

Teeth grinding takes place when the upper jaw and the lower jaw move back and forth with a great force that tends to flatten out the teeth at the point of contact over time.

This wear and tear eventually leads to sensitive teeth, due to the complete wearing out of the enamel. This exposes the nerve endings of the tooth to its 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 a grinding session, whether it’s happening subconsciously or not.

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 off-putting.

But if you don’t want to deal with the pain of losing a tooth or 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 rather than stopping the grinding itself. Since tooth grinding is natural and quite unavoidable during sleep, a night guard covers the enamel, protecting it with a layer of special material. This protects the enamel from damage during tooth grinding.

With this in mind, 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: waking up with pain in the facial region and teeth, and or 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 permanently damaging your teeth. 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 longer for a less intense teeth grinder.

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

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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, or not?

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 types.

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 we most often 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 Background Information on Bruxism

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 wearing a protective appliance for their 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 you do indeed 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?”

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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 our lab receives your impression, we are able to customize and produce a dental night guard that fits your teeth like a glove.

However, there are still a few decisions to make here. Below is some advice to help steer you towards choosing the right thickness.

Dental Night Guards: Choosing the right thickness

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 and 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 6 months to 2 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)

This is a 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’re 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 likely to serve you for a period of between 1 to 3 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, so you can 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 requires some adjustments.

Since they are thick enough to withstand your grinding, you can expect them to serve you for a period of between 2 to 5 years.

We offer a 3mm soft (flexible) night guard and an extreme durability 3mm hard night guard. We do not offer the 3mm thickness in the dual laminate type because of the complex fabrication of this thicker appliance & greater need for adjustments.

It is best to purchase this type in the hard 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 – it means we will work with you continuously (if you so choose) to get you a night guard that is a perfect fit for you.

sentinel dual laminate night guard

BPA Free Dental Night Guards

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

If you’ve 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 per lifetime.

Grinding or clenching comes with serious consequences, such as teeth flattening, teeth cracking/breakage, tongue indentation, headaches, and it 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 and safe.

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 than a cure. Don’t wait until it’s too late and your teeth are seriously damaged to take preventive measures for tooth protection.

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, plastic coffee cups concerns, 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 with BPA that have shown that you can give a person a single dose of BPA and it would disrupt 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 of BPA 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 BPA your liver inactivates 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 be too?

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 banning of the compound in countries such as Canada and the European Union when it comes to baby bottle manufacturing.

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 guards do not contain BPA.

All Sentinel Mouthguards are completely BPA Free


Are Sentinel Mouth Guards & Night Guards Phthalate Free?
Phthalates, commonly known as plasticizers, are chemicals included in plastics to make them flexible and harder to break. The CDC affirms that any dangers posed by low amounts of phthalates are unknown – but have also revealed that in large amounts, phthalates have had an effect on laboratory animals’ reproductive systems.

Most forms of vinyl need phthalates in their processing, but luckily 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 and 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 are popular with sippy cup manufacturers like Nuby because it’s considered non-toxic. 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 is BPA bad?

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 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 more teeth and need to wear a nighttime guard, you may already know the struggles of finding a secure, comfortable and well fitting night guard.

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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, and most importantly, the right machine.

Making Mouth Guards for Missing Teeth: The problems dental labs face

1. Not using the right machine. 

Many night guards are made using a lower level vacuum forming machine, a.k.a. the “suck down”.

This machine is a great step up from any mass produced (one size fits all) or boil & bite types. However, it’s not as efficient as a Drufomat or Biostar – machines that use high pressure and heat + computerized technology to get an extremely precise fit.

You especially need this precision when constructing mouth guards for those 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 of machine 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)

The 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 craft that one gets better and better at 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, and always strive 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 shall attempt to give you a better understanding of the night guard you will be wearing, in addition to 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 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 of 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 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, and 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 thicker, 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’re getting it through a dentist). It can be purchased on our website for less than $100. Recently, we added an option that enables you to choose your thickness. You can choose between 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, 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 cleaning) 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, and also Phthalate, Silicon & Latex free.

Additional information:

-The 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 mouth guard related topics. We would love to get your feedback!