Mouthguards are a vital piece of sporting protective equipment. They protect your teeth and jaw from injuries such as teeth being knocked out, fractured teeth or damage to the gums and jawbone. Choosing the right type of mouthguard is clearly very important, so here is a quick guide to the three main types.
Stock mouth protector
As the name suggests, stock mouth protectors are bought "off the shelf" and come in pre-formed shapes and sizes. They are easy to get hold of as they are usually available from sports shops and department stores. They are also a very cheap option.
However, they have many disadvantages. They can make it difficult to talk and even to breathe as they are so bulky. They also do not offer very much protection, especially compared to the other types. In fact, many dentists believe they are dangerous as they offer a false sense of security to a player or athlete who believes they have protection when they do not.
Boil and bite protectors
These are also known as mouth-formed protectors. They are also easily available from sports shops and should not be much more expensive than a stock mouth protector. They are made from a thermoplastic material which has to be heated up and softened in hot water. They are then placed in the mouth where they are moulded to the individual's teeth by pressure from the tongue and fingers. They, therefore, make a better fit than stock protectors. However, they have to be applied carefully, and they often do not fit perfectly. In particular, they can leave only a thin layer of protection over the most prominent teeth which are at the most risk of injury.
Custom-made mouth protectors
This is the most expensive type of mouthguard, but offers the best level of protection and is the type worn by most professional athletes. They are not available from sports shops but have to be specially laboratory-made. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth, which will be used as a mould to make a mouth protector out of a thermoplastic material. The resulting mouthguard will, therefore, fit perfectly in your mouth, having been tailor-made for you personally.
Whichever type you go for, make sure you wear your mouthguard whenever playing sports. You can then concentrate on your game, knowing you are protected from many of the injuries that afflict athletes and sportspeople.
For more information on sports mouthguards, reach out to a local dentist.