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When JS Dental Lab is better than your dentist

7 min read
by Angela Sartain |

Discovering that you need to wear a night guard can come as an unexpected surprise to your daily routine and your finances. You may have spent weeks waking up with pain and soreness in your jaw as a result of your nighttime clenching behaviors. Or perhaps your partner has complained endlessly about your nighttime grinding sounding like a belt sander over concrete. Either way, you know something must be done. 

You’ve researched your options and while over-the-counter, boil and bite guards are cheap and easily accessible, the reviews you’ve read have you wondering if a more quality device is what you need. Despite your hesitance to fork out hundreds of dollars, you seek out the advice of your dentist. After a thorough evaluation from your dentist, he recommends what you already suspected: you need a night guard. 

Your dentist quotes you a price and you feel your wallet retreat from the idea of spending hundreds of dollars on a night guard. You wonder if there’s an alternative option that can provide you with the relief from your troublesome nighttime behaviors, without crippling your ability to take that vacation you’d planned next month. So what exactly is a night guard and why is your dentist quoting you such a high price for something you’ll wear in your sleep? 

There are a number of dental appliances that are labeled as one type of guard or another. In general, night guards are dental devices that are fabricated to fit your teeth and serve as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. This helps your teeth to be protected from additional damage caused by clenching and grinding behaviors. 

How are night guards made?

Whether you choose to have your dentist make your night guard or you choose JS Dental Lab, the process is actually quite similar. The subtle differences in our process versus your dentist are what help to drive our costs down, passing the savings on to you. 

Once you’ve determined that a night guard is needed, the first step is to make an impression of your teeth. 

Your dentist may have a dental assistant or dental hygienist help you to make an impression. An impression can be made in three ways. First, and the way we use, a PVS impression material is mixed and placed into a tray and pressed onto your teeth to harden. Alternatively, your dentist may prefer using an alginate material to make an impression. Alginate materials have a different consistency but the process is similar to the PVS impression. Your dentist may also opt for a digital scan of your teeth, which is done in their office using special equipment. 

Once your teeth have been captured, either in an impression or by digital scan, your dentist will then send that information out to a dental lab, typically one close to their office. The dental lab will use the impressions or scans to create plaster molds of your teeth which are used to form the guard. Fabrication of the guard can happen through thermo-forming, heat curing, light curing, or 3D printing.

Dental lab technicians use the teeth mold to help identify areas where the guard should fit, trying to avoid the guard being too tight or too loose on the teeth mold. The completed guard is then returned back to your dentist’s office. 

Your dentist may have you try the guard on and ensure that there are no additional adjustments or corrections that need to be made or they may simply have you pick the guard up at your convenience.

So where does the process differ from your dentist?

Much like the process above, when you place an order for a guard from JS Dental Lab, you’ll receive an impression kit. The upper and lower kits each come with 3 tray sizes and two sets of putty (2 white and 2 purple). 

Instead of forking over a co-pay for the assistance of your dentist or dental assistant, you’ll make the impressions at home. The process is fairly simple, though it may take a few tries to get a good impression.  

At JS Dental Lab, we are here to help in the impression process as much as possible. Once you’ve made your attempt, you can send us a photo to our email, SMS, or through our mobile application and we’ll take a look.  

If we see any obvious signs that the impression may not be acceptable, we’ll let you know and provide you with tips to make the next attempt better! Issues such as large breaks in the putty, slanting, improperly captured teeth, and some distortion can often be picked up by looking at photos of the impression from different angles. 

If you need more than two tries (I know I sure did!), then just drop us a quick note with your order information and we’ll be happy to send out some more putty to you right away! 

Once you’ve sent us a photo of an acceptable impression, we’ll have you ship it back to our lab. Your shipping is always included both ways for orders in the US. We do advise that there’s always a chance that an impression that looks okay in the photo, may not be acceptable when it is reviewed at the lab. This is because there are cases where issues such as distortion or shallow molars aren’t visible in the photos but are noticed when the lab pours the white plaster mold of your teeth. If this happens, the lab will send you a replacement kit immediately with some information on what they noticed when they examined the impression in person. 

After our lab has accepted an impression, the process is very much the same. Our team of dental technicians will use your impression or impressions to create the plaster molds of your teeth and fabricate the guard based on the material you’ve chosen. 

The completed guard is then shipped directly to your door! 

When is it better to go to the dentist to have your guard made? 

We strive to provide you with a high-quality, well-fitted guard that is equal to a guard your dentist would have made for you. By eliminating the need for an appointment and co-pay, we’re able to provide you with a night guard at a much lower cost, which is a definite perk for our customers! In fact, in-person service and overhead costs are two of the major factors which raise the cost of a night guard purchased through your dentist. 

  1. However, our primary concern is your health and safety and sometimes, we know that there are circumstances where we may not be the best option for your night guard needs. 
  2. If you have a TMJ disorder diagnosis - TMJ disorders are complex and unique, often having an individualization to them akin to a fingerprint. While our night guards can help to prevent damage to the teeth caused by the grinding and clenching symptoms associated with TMJ disorders, they are not a treatment for TMJ disorders and are not designed to prevent or stop the clenching and grinding behaviors. Additionally, we recommend seeking the professional advice of a TMJ specialist, whether you purchase a guard from us or not. If you do have a TMJ disorder and decide to purchase a guard from JS Dental Lab, we ask that you keep in mind that it is NOT a treatment for TMJ or TMJ symptoms. That being said, some of our customers do report experiencing some relief or reduction in their symptoms as a result of wearing our 3D Premium night guards. 
  3. If you are unable to make a good impression- The vast majority of our customers are able to get an acceptable impression after a few tries. However, there are special circumstances where it is not possible for an individual to take an acceptable impression at home after multiple attempts. If you are not able to make an acceptable impression, it might be best to see your dentist for their assistance or to have them take a digital scan. (JS Dental Lab can accept your digital scans taken by your dentist to make your guard. Just send us an email with the digital file and your order number and we’ll forward it to our lab.) 
  4. If you have sleep apnea- Sleep apnea is a special condition that often requires a unique dental device to wear at night. If you have sleep apnea, we recommend that you seek the advice of a specialist prior to purchasing a night guard. If your sleep apnea specialist advises the use of a night guard for your clenching and grinding, we’re happy to help!
  5. If you are purchasing a guard for someone under the age of 18- It can be hard to decide if your child needs a night guard. We recommend consulting your child’s dentist before purchasing a night guard. Additionally, we advise that the night guard may need to be replaced every six months or sooner, as your child's teeth are changing and developing. We also recommend the Soft guard for children to avoid any potential for damage or restriction caused by a harder night guard. 
  6. If your grinding is caused by a TMJ imbalance or malocclusion- As with TMJ disorders, we recommend consulting the advice of a professional who specializes in TMJ disorders. Most dentists are not trained or skilled in this specific area, so a specialist is your best choice. If a night guard is recommended for your grinding and is providing relief, we recommend considering our 3D night guard, which is fabricated with our TMD customers in mind. Additionally, malocclusion often requires treatment with braces or clear aligners, which can result in diminishing the grinding behaviors being experienced. 

We know that your smile is one of the first and most important things that people see and a big part of not only your self-confidence but also your sanity! Maintaining your smile can be expensive and time-consuming. Here at JS Dental Lab, we work diligently to provide you with an alternative option for your customized night guard while saving you a little money. If you’re looking for a high-quality night guard and do not want to spend an exorbitant amount of money, JS Dental Lab may be the way to go!

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