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.
It’s not advised to attempt to repair a broken or cracked night guard. The bonding material is most often not going to be safe in the mouth and if the alignment is off in any way, this can cause potential (costly) bite issued down the road.
In general, the best course of action is to consult with your dentist, night guard lab or orthodontist who provided you with the night guard. They will be able to evaluate the specific damage and advise you on the most appropriate solution. They may suggest repairing the night guard using dental materials or recommend a replacement if the damage is severe or compromises the functionality of the night guard.
A replacement guard will be your best option.
Can I use super glue to fix my broken night guard?
While it may be tempting to use super glue to fix a broken nightguard, it is generally not recommended. Super glue is not specifically designed for oral use and can contain chemicals that may be harmful if ingested or come into contact with the mouth.
Additionally, super glue may not provide a durable or safe repair for your nightguard. Nightguards are typically made of specific dental materials, such as acrylic or thermoplastic, which require specialized dental adhesives for effective and long-lasting repairs.
Using super glue to fix your nightguard may result in several issues:
- Toxicity: Super glue can contain chemicals that are not meant for oral contact and may be toxic if ingested or absorbed by the body.
- Fit and comfort: Super glue may not provide a precise and secure bond, leading to an ill-fitting nightguard. An improperly repaired nightguard can cause discomfort, irritation, or interfere with its effectiveness in protecting your teeth and jaws.
- Oral health risks: The use of inappropriate adhesives can introduce foreign substances into your mouth, increasing the risk of allergic reactions, irritation, or potential damage to oral tissues.
To ensure a safe and reliable repair, it is best to consult with your dentist or orthodontist. They have the expertise, knowledge, and appropriate materials to repair your nightguard effectively. They can evaluate the damage and recommend the most suitable repair options or advise you on whether a replacement may be necessary.
Remember, prioritizing your oral health and seeking professional dental care is crucial for maintaining the integrity and functionality of your night guard.
“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.
Skip the dentist bill and order lab direct!
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.
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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.
What are the signs that my night guard needs to be replaced?
There are several signs that indicate your nightguard may need to be replaced. Here are some common indicators:
- Visible wear and tear: Inspect your nightguard regularly for signs of significant wear and tear. This can include cracks, chips, or visible thinning of the material. If you notice substantial damage, it may be time for a replacement.
- Changes in fit or discomfort: If your nightguard no longer fits properly or has become uncomfortable to wear, it could be a sign that it needs to be replaced. Over time, the material can lose its shape or become worn down, resulting in an ill-fitting appliance that may not provide the necessary protection or be comfortable to wear during sleep.
- Foul odor or persistent bad taste: If your nightguard develops a persistent foul odor or imparts an unpleasant taste in your mouth, despite proper cleaning, it may indicate that the material has deteriorated or harbors bacteria. This can be a sign that a replacement is needed for hygiene reasons.
- Changes in effectiveness: If you notice an increase in teeth grinding or clenching symptoms, such as jaw pain, headaches, or tooth sensitivity, it could suggest that your nightguard is no longer adequately protecting your teeth and jaws. Over time, the material may lose its resilience and effectiveness, requiring a replacement.
- Recommended lifespan: Nightguards typically have a recommended lifespan provided by the manufacturer or your dental professional. If you have been using your nightguard for longer than the recommended duration, it is advisable to consult with your dentist or orthodontist to determine if it should be replaced.
Can I still use my night guard if it has a small crack?
Using a nightguard with a small crack is generally not recommended. Even though the crack may appear minor, it can compromise the integrity and effectiveness of the nightguard. Here’s why:
- Decreased protection: A nightguard’s primary function is to provide a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth, cushioning the impact of grinding or clenching. A crack can weaken the structure, making it less effective in absorbing and distributing the forces generated during bruxism. This can potentially lead to increased wear on your teeth or persistent symptoms like jaw pain or headaches.
- Risk of further damage: Small cracks can worsen over time due to the pressure exerted during sleep or when clenching or grinding. A minor crack can expand or propagate, eventually leading to a larger and more significant break. Using a nightguard with an existing crack increases the likelihood of further damage, rendering it ineffective and requiring more extensive repairs or replacement.
- Hygiene concerns: Cracks in a nightguard can harbor bacteria, food particles, and saliva, making it difficult to clean effectively. This can contribute to an increased risk of oral health issues, such as bad breath or tooth decay. Maintaining proper hygiene for your nightguard is crucial, and a cracked appliance may compromise your ability to keep it clean.
Can I make adjustments to my night guard at home?
Making adjustments to your nightguard at home is generally not recommended. Nightguards are designed to provide a precise fit and proper alignment to effectively protect your teeth and jaws during sleep. Attempting to make adjustments without the necessary expertise and equipment can result in an ill-fitting appliance, discomfort, or even damage to the nightguard itself.
Here are a few reasons why it’s best to avoid making adjustments to your nightguard at home:
- Risk of improper fit: Nightguards are custom-made or custom-fitted to your mouth by dental professionals. They take into account the specific alignment of your teeth and jaw structure. Making adjustments without proper knowledge and tools can lead to an improper fit, causing discomfort, irritation, or inadequate protection against teeth grinding or clenching.
- Damage to the nightguard: Nightguards are made from specific materials that require professional handling and expertise. Attempting to adjust the nightguard at home using improper tools or techniques can result in damage to the appliance, such as cracks, fractures, or warping, making it less effective or requiring replacement.
- Oral health risks: Poorly adjusted nightguards can exert uneven pressure on your teeth or cause jaw misalignment. This can potentially lead to issues like tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. It’s important to have any adjustments made by a dental professional who can ensure proper alignment and minimize oral health risks.
If you have concerns about the fit or comfort of your night guard, it is recommended to reach out to your night guard manufacturer or schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist. They have the expertise and appropriate tools to make necessary adjustments or provide a replacement if needed. They can evaluate your specific situation, address any concerns you have, and ensure that your night guard continues to provide the necessary protection while maintaining your oral health.
Make Sure You Are Choosing The Right Thickness
Types of Night Guards and How Long They Last
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.
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.
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.
How can I prevent my night guard from breaking in the future?
To help prevent your nightguard from breaking in the future, consider the following tips:
- Handle with care: Treat your night guard gently and handle it with care. Avoid bending, twisting, or applying excessive force to the appliance, as this can weaken or damage it. When inserting or removing the night guard, use a gentle touch and follow the recommended instructions provided by your dentist or orthodontist.
- Proper storage: Store your night guard in its designated case when not in use. This helps protect it from accidental damage or exposure to harmful bacteria. Avoid leaving it in locations where it can be easily lost, damaged, or exposed to extreme temperatures.
- Regular cleaning: Clean your nightguard regularly as instructed by your dentist. Rinse it with water before and after each use, and gently brush it with a soft toothbrush and mild soap or non-abrasive toothpaste. Avoid using hot water or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the nightguard. Proper cleaning helps maintain its integrity and ensures good oral hygiene.
- Avoid teeth grinding triggers: Identify and minimize triggers that contribute to teeth grinding or clenching. Stress, anxiety, and certain lifestyle factors like excessive caffeine intake or alcohol consumption can exacerbate bruxism. By addressing these triggers, you can potentially reduce the intensity of your grinding and lessen the strain on your nightguard.
- Regular dental check-ups: Visit your dentist regularly for routine check-ups. They can evaluate the condition of your nightguard and provide recommendations based on its wear and tear. Your dentist can also identify any changes in your oral health that may require adjustments to your nightguard or further treatment.
- Replace as needed: Night guards have a limited lifespan, and they may need to be replaced periodically. Follow your dentist’s recommendations regarding the lifespan of your night guard and be proactive about getting a replacement when necessary. Over time, night guards can wear down, become less effective, or accumulate bacteria, so timely replacement is essential.
By implementing these preventive measures, you can help prolong the lifespan of your night guard and ensure that it continues to provide effective protection for your teeth and jaws.
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. Most 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 Information
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 30 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.
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.