If you or your child plays contact sports, a mouthguard is a must, helping protect the teeth against trauma and loss.
But did you know there’s more than one type of mouthguard available, with options ranging from over-the-counter mouthguards to custom-fitted devices made by your dentist.
Here’s an insight into the different types of mouthguards and why a tailor-made device often works best.
The mighty job of mouthguards
Mouthguards are designed to protect your mouth, jaw, teeth and lips from serious injuries when It comes to playing sport, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not just contact sports where they are beneficial.
As the Australian Dental Association notes: “Even non-contact sports like cricket, basketball, netball, touch football, skateboarding and soccer, carry a real risk of accidental collision, and result in dental trauma”.
Meanwhile, there are three main types of mouthguards readily available – those you buy pre-made, boil and bite mouthguards, and custom-fitted mouthguards that are provided by your dentist or orthodontist.
Available at sporting shops and your local chemist, over-the-counter or “stock” mouthguards offer a generic solution.
They come in a range of sizes and are designed to fit the upper teeth, but they can be uncomfortable, tend to make talking a bit more of a challenge and are unlikely to fit as well as a tailor-made device.
Although better than wearing nothing, stock mouthguards also offer the least protection when it comes to looking after your teeth. That’s because they don’t fit snugly around your highly individual pearly whites.
Boil and bite
Also available from chemists and sporting stores, boil and bite mouthguards use a pre-formed mould that you heat up until it becomes soft. The wearer then bites into it to make an impression of their teeth.
Boil and bite mouthguards provide a more customised fit than the stock option, however they do not protect the teeth as well as a professionally made mouthguard and do tend to be more bulky.
Designed to fit the exact contours of your mouth and sit snuggly over your teeth, custom fitted mouthguards are only available from your dentist or orthodontist.
The process of making a custom fitted mouthguard sees the dentist take impressions of your teeth before crafting a device using special materials that are designed to minimise the impact of any blows to the mouth.
The ADA notes, although a custom-fitted mouthguard can be more expensive than a store-bought option, it is “far superior to an over-the-counter mouthguard because it’s specially designed to fit the exact contours of your mouth, is resilient, balances your bite and allows speech and normal breathing”.
“If properly used, stored, and checked by your dentist every year, a custom-fitted mouthguard should last several seasons.”
Caring for your mouthguard involves keeping it out of the sun, storing it in its case, and washing it with cold water after use.
About Brite Dental
Brite Dental is a community-focused dental practice, committed to ensuring you and your family receive the highest quality of care in a warm and professional environment.
Offering a full range of dental services ranging, from children’s dentistry through to high-end cosmetic dentistry, we are conveniently located in central Panania.