A mouth guard is used by athletes of all ages to protect teeth from trauma during competitive and individual sporting activities. The American Association of Orthodontists advocates the use of mouth guards by children and adults during organized and recreational sporting activities.
Mouth Guard Types
Mouth guards are made of a variety of materials, some relatively flexible and others relatively rigid. There are three main types of mouth guards:
Stock Mouth Guards
Stock mouth guards are essentially “ready to wear” versions that are available at most sporting goods stores. Stock mouth guards are sold in pre-determined sizes that cannot be customized and offer the least protection. Most dentists do not recommend the use of these mouth guards as they provide little to no protection.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
A “boil and bite” mouth guard is also sold in most sporting goods stores and can potentially offer a better fit than a stock mouth guard. The mouth guard is typically placed in hot water to soften and then placed in the individual’s mouth to form.
Custom-made Mouth Guard
Custom-made mouth guards are individually designed and created based on your dentist’s prescription. The dentist will take a high-quality impression of the mouth in order to create a model. A mouth guard made of special material is then molded over the model to create a custom, accurate fit. The individualized nature of a custom-made mouth guard makes it more expensive, but custom-made mouth guards deliver the greatest protection and most comfortable fit.