I assume if you stumbled on this article, you are a bruxer (you grind your teeth). If this is the case, I hope that you have invested in a custom night guard from your dentist. A custom night guard will last much longer than an over-the-counter one from a drugstore. A custom guard will also have a far superior fit, providing better comfort and greater effectiveness.
Because I am also a bruxer, I understand firsthand how important a quality night guard can be. At Anderson Dental Care, we are proud to use a top-rated lab to create all of our night guards (including mine). Not to sound arrogant, but our night guards are the best.
The following care instructions are from the lab we work with. If you have a night guard from another dentist, you should contact them for cleaning instructions for your particular guard. If you live in Cincinnati and you need a night guard, make an appointment at our Anderson Township dental office, and we’ll get you the best night guard on the market.
The night guards we commission from our lab have a hard acrylic and kevlar outside with a soft inside. At Anderson Dental Care, fitting patients for night guards, making the night guards comfortable so they get worn, and then seeing the benefits for our patients makes our office of dental nerds really happy! A night guard from us should last you 10-15 years, if not longer.
- KEEP YOUR NIGHT GUARD AWAY FROM ANIMALS
It may seem like a silly suggestion, but I get “the dog ate my night guard” story more than you would believe. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons patients need a replacement guard. At the $300+ price tag, you really don’t want Benji eating it for breakfast. Because your animals are attracted to saliva (and your night guard is covered in it!), they think it makes the perfect snack/toy.
- TRY TO NOT DROP YOUR NIGHT GUARD
As strong as they are, they are not meant to be dropped onto a hard bathroom floor. The night guard’s strength to withstand your 5,000 lb. worth of grinding is not the same strength necessary to keep it from breaking if dropped. I’m not saying that the first time you drop your guard it’s going to shatter, but I have seen them break, so be mindful.
- CLEAN YOUR NIGHT GUARD WITH CLEAR, MILD, PERFUME-FREE, HAND SOAP
- Because your night guard is made from a high-grade plastic, it is porous. If you use colored hand soap, over time, your night guard will start to take on that color. Use clear hand soap (like Dial) and a dedicated toothbrush to clean your night guard. If you begin to see little scratches or grooves, don’t panic–it’s normal.
- I suggest that you clean your night guard both before and after you wear it. Because your saliva is in contact with the night guard for so many hours, there is an increased possibility for calcium to build up. This buildup can cause a foul smell and also affect the fit.
4. STORE YOUR NIGHT GUARD IN A CLEAN, BRIGHTLY COLORED CASE
- Night guards are clear and easy to lose or misplace. If you can remember to keep your guard in a brightly colored case, you have less of a chance of leaving it in a hotel room or having it blend in with bathroom clutter. The bright case is a good reminder for you to WEAR your night guard.
- Keeping your night guard in a case also keeps it clean between uses. Bathrooms are full of splatters – shaving cream, face wash, makeup, etc. None of those are things you want on the night guard when you put it in your mouth for 8 hours.
- Keep your case clean and dry since dust, bacteria, and other nasties like to congregate in dark, damp environments.
- Bonus: In support of #1 on my list – keeping your guard in a case is an excellent way to keep it out of your dog’s slobbery mouth.
5. DON’T SOAK YOUR NIGHT GUARD!
- If you have a top-quality night guard from my Cincinnati office, don’t soak it!
- NO Listerine & NO Efferdent
These products often have dyes that will end up dying your night guard. Soaking is also not recommended by the lab who makes our night guards.
- If you feel like your night guard smells or needs a refresher, then try the tips above to get back on the right track caring for your night guard regularly, and prolong the life of your investment!
I know firsthand what a difference a custom night guard can make to someone who grinds. If you are in need of a night guard or have questions about your current night guard, call our Cincinnati dental office at 513-817-0834 or make an appointment online to chat with someone in our office.
If you’ve been putting off seeing a dentist due to cost, you’ll be happy to know that we provide an affordable alternative to paying out of pocket or carrying pricey dental insurance. At Anderson Dental Care, we offer a PREMIER DENTAL CARE MEMBERSHIP, and our members save 20% on dental procedures and get anywhere from 2-4 maintenance cleanings a year. Packages start at $31/month.