Sports Protection: The Pros & Cons of Each Mouthguard Option

hockey player trying on sports mouthguard at the dentist

When it comes to safety during sports activities, it is so important to wear proper protection on your body, so why skip out on protecting your teeth? Oral care is so important, and injuries to the face, teeth and jaws are not only painful and expensive but can also have permanent effects for the rest of your life. The prevention value of sports mouthguards can significantly reduce the risk of sports-related injuries, and can prevent a lifetime of jaw, teeth, or facial related pain, and expenses! 

 

Aren’t Mouthguards All the Same?

There are three different types of mouthguards, custom, which are fabricated by a dental professional, and two over-the-counter options picked up at a local pharmacy or sporting goods store. In this article, we will go through the pros and cons of each, to help you protect your investment of orthodontics.

 

Custom-Fit Mouthguards

Custom-fit mouthguards are made from a mouth impression and sent to a dental lab for fabrication using high-quality material. The mouthguard is made to form exactly to every contour of your mouth and made to ensure a tight and comfortable fit. Because custom made mouthguards are designed to properly protect where you need it the most, the dentist and dental lab technician are able to address certain areas of concern, adding thickness to specific areas, and will work with you until everything feels right.

Pros:
  • High-quality comfortable materials
  • May be covered by dental insurance
  • Covers all teeth and cushions jaw
  • Should not interfere with speech or breathing
Cons:
  • Can be expensive
  • If it goes missing, it is expensive to replace

Boil & Bite Mouthguards

football player showing mouthguard for sports protection

This option is purchased from a sporting goods store, and just as the name implies, you need to soak the unshaped mouthguard in boiling water, in which the thermoplastic material softens. You then place the material in the mouth and bite down on it allowing the material to shape around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure to help. 

Pros:
  • Cost-effective
  • Provides a good individual fit
Cons:
  • Wear out in a short amount of time
  • Bulkier, more difficult to breathe/speak

Stock Mouthguards

Stock mouthguards are usually made of rubber or polyvinyl, are pre-formed and come ready to wear. They can be bought at most sporting goods stores. They typically come in three sizes, small, medium, or large. Dentists do not really recommend this option.

Pros:
  • Inexpensive
Cons:
  • Little can be done to adjust the fit
  • Bulky, and make breathing and speaking difficult
  • Least effective for protection
  • Stays in the mouth only when closed

Conclusion

custom mouthguard from orthodontist for teeth protection in sports boxing

Regardless of your choice, an effective mouthguard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable, easy to clean, and should not restrict your speech or breathing.

To get the most out of your mouthguard, you will need to take proper care of it. Washing it in cool, soapy water, scrubbing with a toothbrush, and/or rinsing your mouthguard with a mouth rinse before and after each use will keep it clean and free from bacteria. Keep your mouthguard in a firm, perforated case to store or transport it, and avoid high temperatures, such as hot water or even direct sunlight to minimize distorting its shape. 

If you have any questions on which mouthguard is right for you, please ask our team of orthodontists and they’ll point you in the right direction. 

 

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