Types of Mouthguards
- Stock Mouth Protectors – These pieces of equipment come from the store and are ready to wear. They come in different sizes in order to try to get as close as possible to your mouth shape for a comfortable fit. However, there isn’t much adjustment that can be done with these mouthguards and their inexpensive price ends up costing you in comfort, ability to breathe properly and speaking ability. These protectors can be found in most sporting goods stores but are not recommended by dentists.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Protectors – These protectors are slightly more customizable than the stock guards. They are found in most sporting goods stores and come in a few different sizes. They are made from a thermoplastic material that is boiled and then bit down on by the individual in order to give them their shape. They fit more tightly to the teeth than the stock mouthguards, but many people still find that their fit is not ideal.
- Custom Fitted Mouth Protectors – These devices are the best fitting of all three types as they are individually designed and constructed for each patient. These mouthguards are created by making an impression of your teeth and then creating the mouthguard based on your exact bite and tooth pattern. Due to the increased personalization, these mouthguards are typically the most expensive of all three, but also offer the most comfortable fit and the best protection.
When you receive your mouthguard(s), be sure to check their fit. A mouthguard should be placed easily, be comfortable to wear, and shouldn’t restrict your breathing or speech. In addition, mouthguards should be tear-resistant, easy to clean and durable.
Patients Who Need Mouthguards
In addition to athletes, patients who grind their teeth at night should consider a mouthguard, bite plate, or bite splint to protect their teeth from wear and degradation. Finally, patients who have dental devices like braces and are experiencing rubbing or rawness on their lips or gums may also consider mouthguards as an option.