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We wanted to help your night guard last longer, so here is what we did.

5 min read
by Dylan Hao |

Do you have a subscription that you wish you cancelled earlier? 

I do. As much as I love Harry's product, I had to cancel the subscription because I had too many in stock, like a few years worth of stock.

Every year when I do the taxes, I find a list of active subscription services or products like Harry's that our business or my family no longer uses.

What follows, inevitably, is a session of hair pulling, deep breathing, and then never again mantras.

As the chief cook and bottle washer at JS Dental Lab, I had entertained the idea of turning our night guard product into a subscription. 


Because subscriptions means predictable cashflow and more sales over the lifetime of a customer. That is why businesses with a subscription model tend to be valued at much higher prices than the counterparts.

While it was tempting, we decided to not lock our customers into subscriptions for two reasons:

  • Night guards are not a consumable product like toilet paper. It should last you a long time and become more comfortable overtime until it breaks apart, like a pair of high quality Nike shoes.
  • we believe in making more conscious, necessary and smart purchases.

That is why we guarantee our night guards for an entire year.

And we often see customers coming back to replace their guards anywhere from 1 to 5 years.

Although a quality night guard becomes more comfortable overtime before it finally gives out, you want to make sure it is cleaned effectively to maximize its lifespan, and to be free of harmful bacteria.

With these two objectives in mind, we decided to partner with a manufacture to develop an ultrasonic + UVC LED cleaner that does just that.

Choosing the manufacturer

Initially, I found four manufactures on Alibaba and spent the first month asked a lot of questions that pertains to the details of the components and how they worked.

One manufacturer was more thorough and proactive in their communication during this the process and that made me feel more confident they were the right partner to bring this product to life.

So we signed the contract.

Immediately after that, I did nothing but learning as much as I can about the product we are trying to develop.

What I learned about a ultrasonic cleaner

I learned the ultrasonic cleaner by transmitting a high-frequency sound waves at 40 kHz through water which creates cavitation that creates microscopic bubbles in the water. These bubbles then bursts with enough energy that scrubs and dislodges the contaminants on the surface.

I further learned that by adding a degassing function into the cleaner, we can increase the effectiveness of the ultrasonic cleaning.

So we decided to add this function into our product and quickly learned no other similar products has this feature. 

I learned that although traditional mercury-containing UVC bulbs costs less as a component, they are less eco-friendly and more susceptible to breakage compared to UVC LEDs, so we decided to use the latter instead.

Here is what a traditional UVC lamp looks like in a dental appliance cleaner.

I learned that quartz is a good transmitter of UVC rays compared to other more cost effective types of glass.

So we used quartz as the cover material that protects the two built-in UVC LEDs.

Here is what our two UVC LEDs look like with the quartz glass protection cover.

I also studied the products in the market today and found that the leading cleaner in the market had one major flaw: instead of dispersing the ultrasonic energy across the entire surface of the cleaned object, it was mainly concentrated in the middle.

We ran some tests and here is the results.

The tin foil on the left are tested with the product that concentrates the cleaning only at the middle area.

The toil foils on the right, in the yellow circle, are tested in our fine-tuned product where the cleaning is dispersed more evenly, which means all the areas of the night guard will be cleaned effectively as supposed to just one small area.

Equipped with these key learnings and discoveries, we were confident to move forward to prototyping.

Prototyping: private label vs owning the mould

We had the option to simply private label whatever is already in production and just print our logo on the product, or go with full customization where we get control the exact features, materials, shape and color and all details that go into this product.

In the end, we chose the 100% customization route which required us to purchase the right to the manufacturing mould of our product.

This is important for two reasons:

  • This gave us maximum control on the outcome of the product and made sure the key learnings are implemented into this product
  • And that means this product will be exclusive to our customers

Product design

After carefully studying what are in the market already and the tank capacity inside cleaner, we came up with different designs. 

With a creative background during my childhood, I voluntarily invited myself in the design process, which might or might not have been appreciated by the designers, and suggested a few amateurish designs, one of which features a  pyramid looking voodoo. Alas, it was discarded, luckily. 

my ultrasonic design

In the end, here is the design we came up with and create a prototype with. 

Once I had the prototype in my hands, I took it apart, critiqued the details of the product, and sent it back to the manufacture for further fine-tuning.

The color came out horrendous and looked very "cheap" although we packed a lot of great features into the product. This needs to change.

This orange and blue combo on the LED cover in the picture below reminded my son's diapers. That is not going to work.


In the photo below, the JS Dental Lab logo's lit-up effect was so bad that I immediately regretted choosing this manufacturer.

But I was quickly assured that this is just a prototype which still needs much fine-tuning.

After many nights of back of forth with the manufacture, and showing them our brand color guidelines, we made a decision that completely changed how the final product looked - we decided to use a lighter version of our brand blue. This is the blue we decided on.

The manufacture had a hard time finding the exact blue that matches our desired result but they pulled through in the end.

Here is the initial rendering of how it'll look.

And here is the final product, which looks absolutely beautiful.

Final packaging design

The final packaging design process was fairly straightforward.

We wanted to make sure our brand colors were illustrated and presented well and wanted to use as much recycled and eco-friendly papers as possible.

So for the outer box, we chose a nice looking corrugated box.

For the protective insert, we chose the brown version made of recycled paper pulps.

Here is the insert material we chose.

Here is the plastic alternative we voted againt.

I am proud to say the final touch on the design came from one modification.

We initially the copy "keeping your night guard clean just got easier".

But I decided to replace "night guard" with just "______" to allow users to come think creatively the type of items and objects they can clean with this cleaner, such as coins, jewelry, brush heads, buttons, cuff links and more.

And here the final product, packed and ready to ship


All in all, we spent over a year to make this product a reality and the communication I had with the manufacture occupies 2GB of space on my iPhone, which is equivalent of about 70,000 text messages.

Now I can happily say: Brought to you by JS Dental Lab.


And most important of all, let us know what you think and how we can make it better.

We initially the copy "keeping your night guard clean just got easier".

But I decided to replace "night guard" with just "______" to allow users to come think creatively the type of items and objects they can clean with this cleaner, such as coins, jewelry, brush heads, buttons, cuff links and more.

Now I can happily say: brought to you by JS Dental Lab.


And most important of all, let us know what you think and how we can make it better.

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