How Long Does A Night Guard Last? |
Oral Health

How Long Does A Night Guard Last?


    How long does a night guard last

    Night guards serve as indispensable tools for those who grind their teeth during sleep. But as with everything else, they do not last forever. Knowing the expected lifespan of your dental night guard is vital. It ensures that you know when to expect a need for a replacement.

    So, how long does a night guard last? In general, the life span of a night guard can last from six months to five years. To know how long your night guard lasts, you need to know it’s specific. This article is all about helping you answer this question.


    What Is a Night Guard?

    A night guard is a dental appliance designed to prevent teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. It acts as a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth. Its role in dental health is significant. By using one, you shield your teeth from wear, tear, and potential fractures.

    Night guards also serve various other functions, such as treating temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), fighting sleep apnea, and reducing snoring. You can find various types of them dedicated to these purposes, such as a sleep apnea mouth guard.

    However, a mouth guard to stop grinding teeth is the most popular type. That is because treating nighttime bruxism to prevent complications like tooth wear and jaw pain is the primary function of mouthguard.

    The fit of your night guard is of utmost importance. An improperly fitted guard can slip out of place, causing choking hazards and diminished effectiveness in treating teeth grinding.

    Materials Matter: Laminate Night Guard

    Night guards come in various materials, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Acrylic is rigid and durable, often used in hard night guards. Ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) offers flexibility and is commonly found in soft guards.

    Beware of Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has raised health concerns and may cause alergic reactons to some people. It’s wise to opt for night guards that are both BPA and latex-free for safety reasons even if they might last longer.

    Now, when it comes to laminate night guards, these devices often feature a soft inner layer coupled with a hard exterior layer. They may combine different materials like acrylic and EVA to increase their durability and comfort. Generally, they are the longest lasting type of night guards and last approximately five years on average.

    How Long Do Night Guards Last?

    Night guards typically last between two to five years. Yet, this lifespan can fluctuate based on several variables. Material, frequency of use, and care are some aspects to consider.

    Factors Affecting the Lifespan of Dental Night Guards


    Some teeth grinders might use one type for years, but others might grind through it in a few weeks. It is crucial to choose a fitting type of guard as it impacts the lifespan of your nightguard greatly. Here are the main nightguard types as it relates to their lifespan:

    • Custom-Fit Dentist Office night guards are generally the most expensive option but offer the best fit. However, they tend to last as long as other types.
    • Custom-Fit Direct-to-Customer night guards are more affordable and have a comparable lifespan to those from a dental office.
    • Dual-laminate night guards last the longest but may not be suitable for intense grinding.
    • Hard night guards, while less comfortable, endure the longest, even under heavy clenching and grinding.
    • Soft night guards offer comfort but may not last long if you’re a heavy grinder.

    Severity Of Teeth Grinding

    The severity of teeth grinding has a direct influence on the longevity of your night guard. The way you grind— whether it’s lateral or straightforward movement — can cause specific wear patterns. Frequency of grinding also plays a role too. Nightly grinding will undoubtedly wear out a night guard faster than occasional use.

    The power or force behind the grinding is another consideration. A strong jaw and intense grinding can lead to faster degradation of the material. Moreover, daytime grinding, often less intense but more frequent, can also affect the lifespan of a night guard differently than nighttime grinding, which tends to be more forceful but less frequent.

    Maintenance and Care

    If you aim for longevity, care for your night guard meticulously. Here are the main tips you should take for increasing your night guard’s longevity.

    Daily cleaning with a non-abrasive toothpaste can deter bacteria buildup, extending the guard’s life by several months.

    Soaking your night guard in an antimicrobial solution weekly not only eliminates germs but also prevents unpleasant odors, which can further its usability for another year.

    Storing your guard in a ventilated, hard-shell case protects it from environmental damage, thus improving durability.

    Avoiding extreme temperatures for a night guard is also important. Heat can deform it, reducing its effectiveness and lifespan.

    Quality Of Your Guard

    When evaluating the quality of a night guard, several elements come into play. The materials used in its construction serve as a primary indicator of quality. As discussed earlier, materials like acrylic and ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) have distinct advantages and drawbacks. For instance, acrylic night guards, while rigid, tend to offer greater durability, making them a longer-lasting option.

    The brand of the night guard also factors into its quality. Established brands like Remi, Pro Teeth Guard, and Brux are notable for their reliability and effectiveness within their respective price ranges. These brands utilize advanced materials and manufacturing processes, thus ensuring that their products meet the highest standards of durability and comfort.

    Choosing a reputable brand can save you both time and money in the long run, as these guards often require less frequent replacement compared to lesser-known brands. Therefore, when it comes to the quality of your night guard, scrutinizing both the material and brand can guide you in making an informed decision.

    Impression Process

    Creating an accurate impression at home for a custom-fit night guard is a critical process that unfolds in stages. First, most kits provide a set of trays and impression material. Mixing this material correctly and filling the trays evenly ensures that all your teeth will be adequately captured. The right mix can contribute to a night guard that fits snugly, thus prolonging its life.

    Second, positioning the tray in your mouth demands precision. The tray should encompass all teeth, from molars to incisors, to create a complete impression. An incomplete impression can lead to a guard that doesn’t cover all teeth properly, causing uneven force distribution during grinding, which can prematurely wear out your guard.

    Third, the time you allow for the impression material to set is crucial. Following the recommended setting time ensures that the material captures every nuance of your teeth. If the material is not set properly, the resulting guard may not fit well, contributing to more rapid wear and tear.

    Lastly, removing the tray without distorting the impression ensures that the final guard will conform to the exact shape of your teeth. A distorted impression could lead to a poor fit, which often means that the night guard will wear out unevenly and quicker.

    A well-fitted night guard tends to last longer because it distributes the forces of grinding evenly across all teeth, thereby reducing localized stress points that can lead to quicker material breakdown. On the other hand, a poorly fitted guard could distribute forces unevenly, possibly contributing to tooth movement or shifts. This misalignment can not only affect your dental health but also expedite the degradation of your night guard.

    When to Consider a New Teeth Guard

    Determining the right time to replace your night guard is essential for maintaining optimal dental health. One obvious sign is visible wear and tear, such as thinning or cracking. This could indicate that your guard is no longer effective in protecting your teeth from the intense pressure of grinding.

    Secondly, if you notice that your night guard no longer fits snugly, it’s time to consider a replacement. A loose-fitting guard can’t distribute forces evenly and may contribute to tooth misalignment, which would speed up the wear and tear of both the guard and your teeth.

    A third instance is when you experience persistent discomfort or develop sores in your mouth. This could suggest that the night guard is irritating your gums or inner cheeks, compromising its protective role and potentially causing additional dental problems.

    Fourth, if your dental alignment has changed due to orthodontic work or natural shifts in teeth position, your existing guard will likely no longer be a proper fit. The misfit can lead to uneven wear and potentially exacerbate teeth shifting, making a replacement necessary.

    Lastly, if your night guard gives off an odor even after thorough cleaning, it’s a sign that bacteria have infiltrated the material. In this case, the guard is not only ineffective but could also be a source of infection, necessitating immediate replacement.

    What Night Guard To Buy: Sale and Selection

    Choosing the right night guard involves a careful assessment of your specific needs and budget constraints. While dentist-grade night guards, often priced around $1,000, offer the advantage of precise fit and durable materials, their cost may be prohibitive for some.

    On the other hand, a custom or boil-and-bite night guard cost from $50 to $250, can offer a satisfactory level of protection and comfort for many users.

    Websites frequently run sales on dental products, making it a viable avenue for obtaining a reasonably priced night guard. When choosing a brand or type, it is wise to read customer reviews and scrutinize product details.

    Among the notable brands, Brux, Pro Teeth Guard, Chomper Labs, and Sentinel Mouth Guards stand out for their balance of quality and affordability. These brands offer a range of options that can meet different grinding intensities and comfort requirements.


    The lifespan of a dental night guard varies according to several factors, including the material, care routine, and the severity of your teeth grinding. Regular inspection and timely replacement are critical for maintaining optimal dental health.

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