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NIGHT GUARD MATERIAL & SAFETY: Acrylic, BPA, and Phthalates
Since night guards are normally made from a hard, durable, heat-cured plastic, it is understandable that patients will have questions about the chemicals used. This blog post will help answer some of these questions.
Chronic teeth grinding and clenching is a problem for many dental patients and is well known for causing significant damage to teeth. However, it can be treated by providing patients with a custom-made dental night guard. In recent years people have become much more concerned about potentially harmful chemicals in plastic products, and bisphenol A (BPA) is a prime example. Other concerns have been raised over phthalates and methyl methacrylate (MMA) use.
Since night guards are usually made from a hard, durable, heat-cured plastic, it is understandable that patients will have questions. These night guards can also be made in regular and softer acrylic-based materials to increase patient comfort and compliance.
The good news is that any reputable dental laboratory will always put patient safety first and only use high-quality materials that have undergone significant and rigorous clinical tests.
BPA is a chemical used to create hard plastics. It is best known for being found in water bottles, food cans, other plastic containers, and dental sealants. There have been concerns that high levels of BPA could affect hormone levels and cause heart problems, diabetes, and brain and behavioral issues.
BPA has also been associated with early-onset puberty, infertility, and obesity. It is estimated that most Americans have some BPA in their body.
According to the American Dental Association, BPA is not a primary ingredient in modern dental materials. However, it may be present in residual amounts in some dental sealants and composites but is not found in any materials used to make night guards. All night guards and sports guards made at DDS Lab are BPA-free.
Soft Night Guards
Soft, flexible night guards are made from ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), which is considered safe. This material can also be used to line hybrid night guards.
Hard Night Guards - Methyl Methacrylate
Methyl methacrylate was frequently used to apply acrylic nails before it was found to cause severe irritation to the nail bed. It’s since been banned for use in nail salons and has been since the 1970s.
More recently, methyl methacrylate has been used to make plexiglass, bathroom fixtures, and medical cement for bone replacements. The main difference is that these items are appropriately cured, whereas methyl methacrylate was applied to nails as a liquid. The acrylic appliances produced by dental laboratories are appropriately cured, so patients are not at risk of exposure.
If you are concerned about the chemicals used in the production of night guards, your dental laboratory should be able to tell you precisely what is in any given material.
Please be reminded that should you wish to discuss a case in more detail; our experienced technical team is here to assist you.