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How often should I replace my nightguard?

7 min read
by Angela Todd |

Finding out you need to start wearing a night guard can be a disruptive event. Your night time behaviors now have to change and you’ll have to get used to wearing something in your mouth rather than just closing your eyes and falling asleep. When you discover that you need a night guard to help protect your teeth from the damage caused by your night time clenching and/or grinding behaviors, you are already facing the unexpected expense and changes. 

You’ll may be curious to know how long your night guard should last and how often you should replace it and what you can do to help ensure your guard’s lifespan is long. 

There isn’t a hard and fast rule to how long a guard should last. We recommend replacing your guard every 12-24 months, as we’ve seen that’s a fairly average timeline. Although, we’ve had a few customers report having their original night guard for as long as 5 years before needing to have it replaced. If you’ve selected the right guard type and the fit is correct, your guard should last no less than 12 months of regular wear. In fact, we guarantee this!

The 365-Day guarantee

At JS Dental Lab, we stand by our product so much that we guarantee that you will get a comfortable guard that will last you 365 days, one full year. 

If your guard doesn’t quite fit right, we’ll work with you to adjust the guard or remake it. You can read more about our adjustment process here. If new impressions are needed or an exchange for a different guard material is requested, we’ll explore all options to get you fitted with a guard you love. 

Should you notice that you’ve ground a hole into your guard or that there’s a crack and it’s only been a few months, just let us know. In many cases, such signs are evidence that you may need a different guard material. We’ll take a close look at your impressions and the damage to the guard. We’ll also get some additional information from you to help determine the best course of action. 

And all of this is covered under or 365-day guarantee. If there is any manufacture defect or issue due to selecting the wrong type of guard, we’ll get the issue resolved.

How to care for your night guard

Keeping your guard clean and in proper working condition is probably pretty important to you. In addition to ensuring that your guard is hygienic and smells good, proper cleaning and maintenance of your guard helps to ensure the longest lifespan of your JS Dental Lab night guard. 

We’ve got a list of Do’s and Don’t’s we’ve come up with to help you extend the lifespan of your night guard. 

The Do’s

Clean the guard before and after each use with room temp water (can be tap or distilled).

Brush and floss your teeth before placing the night guard in your mouth. 

Be aware that most cleaners are abrasive and can cause micro-fractures in the night guard, which can hold bacteria over time. After use, rinse the night guard with water, air-dry it, and store it in the container.

The Dont’s

While there aren’t many hardcore rules about cleaning the night guard, here are a few things we know can cause damage to the guard. 

Do NOT soak your night guard in mouthwash, denture cleaner, or alcohol.

Do NOT place your night guard in hot water or expose it to excessive heat such as direct sunlight, as this may warp/distort the guard. 

Do NOT use a hair dryer or heat gun to dry the guard.

Deep Cleaning the guard

Even with regular and proper care, your night guard can still show some signs of needing some extra TLC. We’ve studied our guards and the various options for helping provide a deep clean for your night guard. Here are our recommendations for giving your guard a good deep cleaning.

You may clean the guard using a soft bristle toothbrush and lightly scrub your guard with non-perfumed antibacterial soap and lukewarm water ONLY.

You can deep-clean your night guard by using a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide:Soak the night guard in distilled white vinegar for at least 30 minutes. After soaking, rinse the night guard and the bowl with water. Then, soak the night guard in hydrogen peroxide for at least 30 more minutes. Alternatively, for deep cleaning, you can put the guard in a concentrated, non-perfumed soap solution, for one hour.

But simply cleaning your guard is just one element of your night guard care. There are a number of other factors which can contribute to the lifespan of your guard. 

Factors that can affect your guard lifespan

There are some naturally occurring events which can affect how long your guard will last. These can be major factors or minor ones, but awareness and understanding of how these factors play a role in your night guard’s lifespan can help you to minimize your risks and extend the life of your nightguard. 

  1. Maintenance and care: How you clean and care for your guard can play a big role in the overall longevity of your night guard. 
  2. Storage of your guard- we recommend storing your guard in the night guard case, dry and someplace out of the reach of pesky puppies or other potential risks. 
  3. Individual habits - your oral health and your night time dental habits play a big role in the longevity of your guard. For example, if you tend to be a more intense grinder, you’ll most likely wear through your guard faster than someone who only experiences mild, occasional grinding. 
  4. Jaw contributions - the bone structure of your jaw, individual teeth occlusion, and the structure of incisal edges and cusps can have a big impact not only on the longevity of your night guard, but also can play a major role in your dental health overall. These factors can impact the way that your upper and lower jaw meet, resulting in a stronger bite or grinding force. The insisal edge and cusps also have an effect of the force of contact area. Sharper edges and cusps create more force. If you’ve been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder, we recommend consulting with a specialist to ensure that any underlying jaw alignment issues are addressed. 
  5. Frequency of use - As with many products, extended use tends to wear down the lifespan. If you’re the type of person who religiously wears their night guard every night, without fail, you may notice your night guard needing to be replaced a bit quicker than your partner’s, who only really uses theirs in times of stress. 
  6. Masseter Muscle strength - the masseter muscle is the muscle in the jaw which aides in the action of chewing. The stronger the muscle is, the stronger the bite force and thus the more force that is exerted on your guard when clenching and/or grinding.

Additionally, other events such as dental work or damage to the guard, often force the need to replace the guard. In many cases, these circumstances are unexpected or unavoidable. 

Dental Work

A common scenario which will require you to replace your guard is when you have any type of dental work completed. Fillings, tooth removal, crowns, or other dental procedures often have a small but significant impact on the shape and feel of your teeth alignment.

You may not notice it, but when you try on your guard, you’ll most likely experience some fit issues. Unfortunately, dental work, even when necessary, is a bit out side of our 365 day guarantee stipulations. We do however offer an insurance plan for your guard! 

The insurance plan offers you a one time guard replacement, per 12 months, in the event of dental work, damage, or loss. So if you’ve got upcoming dental work scheduled, we recommend adding our insurance plan to your order.

Our insurance plan is a $39 per 12 month fee which covers your guard from accidents, damage, and loss. The insurance plan is set to automatically renew every 12 months and can be cancelled at any time. You can purchase the insurance plan up to 24 hours following your initial purchase. If you opted out of the insurance initially and would like to add it to your order, you can reach out to our customer support team for additional assistance. 

Damage and Discoloration

Over time, you will notice that your guard may show some signs of wear and tear or discoloration. This is normal and as long as it doesn’t affect the fit of your guard, it isn’t solely a reason to replace your guard. If your guard is more than 12 months old and you start noticing the wear and tear or discoloration rapidly increasing, it may be time to consider replacing your guard.

Change in your teeth

Your teeth can naturally shift subtly over time. This is why we recommend a new impression after 18 months. Additionally, other unexpected events can cause changes in your teeth. Shifting or loss of teeth outside of dental work can and will also impact the fit of your guard. 

Change in Feel or Fit

We recommend replacing your night guard every 12 to 24 months. If your night guard is more than 12 months old and you notice that it starts feeling off balance, tighter or looser in spots, or is just becoming increasingly more uncomfortable, it is possible that the natural shifting of your teeth which occurs over time has created an change in your guard. We’d be happy to help get you a new guard made, even taking a new impression, and offer you a discount through our repurchase program. 

Purchasing a night guard can be expensive and you want to be sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck! Here at JS Dental Lab, we understand how important it is to invest in a product and know that it’s going to last you! If you’re wondering if you need a new night guard, please feel free to reach out to our customer support team and we’ll be glad to help! 

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