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The Different Types of Mouthguards: Pros & Cons of each type

Updated: Sep 19, 2023

Dental injuries are easily preventable. For athletes who play competitive or recreational sports where impact, contact and collision are likely, mouthguards are recommended.


Did you know that sports are the cause of about one third of all dental injuries and traumas? That amounts to 200,000 injuries every year that could have been avoided by wearing a protective guard. Injury types include:

  • Chipped or broken teeth

  • Dislodged tooth or teeth

  • Fractured bridgework or crowns

  • Cheek and lip injuries

  • Root damage

  • Gum lacerations

Regardless of whether you play rugby, hockey, boxing, or martial arts, gum shields /mouthguards are crucial for protecting your teeth. A protective mouthguard should have the following characteristics, according to the American Dental Association:

  • Comfortable

  • Resilient 

  • Tear-resistant

  • Durable

  • Easy to clean

  • Fits properly

  • Should not restrict speech

  • Should not restrict breathing

A sports mouth guard can cost anywhere from a few pounds to £150, so what should you look for when shopping for one? Let's take a closer look at the three types of gum shields...

Stock-mouthguards

Typically, these only cost a few pounds each. They are usually available at sporting goods stores, department stores, and pharmacies. In most cases, they're made of rubber, polyvinyl chloride, or a polyvinyl acetate co-polymer and are only available in limited sizes. The result will be a poor fit. As well as being bulky, they can be uncomfortable to wear and can make breathing and speaking difficult.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive

  • Conveniently purchased

  • Quick to fit


Cons:

  • Only available in limited sizes

  • Requires jaw to be closed to hold it in place

  • Prone to be chewed on

  • Inhibits speech & breathing

  • Lack of athlete compliance (due to discomfort)

  • Quick to wear down

Boil & Bite Next, you have boil-and-bite gumshields such as Game Guard.




These can be customized a bit more because they come in a preformed shape that can be changed by placing them in boiling water. By biting into the soft plastic, the wearer can create a more personalized fit. Most reputable sports shops carry them. This type of sports gum shield typically costs between £5 and £30.

Pros

  • Easy to mould & fit

  • Affordable

  • Some such as Game Guard are CE approved

  • Available in variety of sizes, colours & flavours

  • Great choice or reliable spare

Cons

  • Can be tricky to fit if you do not follow instructions

  • Can be hard to breathe around


Custom Mouthguards

Finally, we have custom-made sports mouthguards fabricated by dental professionals, either in a dental lab or at a dental practice. These aren't available in sports stores, pharmacies, or supermarkets. Since custom gumshields/mouthguards are made based on a detailed impression, they tend to provide exceptional protection and fit. Comfortable and reassuring because the snug shape hugs the teeth, gums, and jaw. Additionally, these highly personalized guards are typically made from heavy-duty thermoplastic, making them extremely durable. Although they won't lose their shape like store-bought mouthguards, you should consider replacing them every few years depending on how frequently you use them.

Pros

  • Individualised fit provides better protection

  • Fully customisable to your style and design

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Requires impressions from the dentist

  • Takes up to 12 weeks to manufacture in a lab


It may seem that a mouthguard doesn't have a big impact on your game, but a properly fitted mouthguard can make a big difference on your performance, oxygen intake and communication on the field. Having an uncomfortable sports mouthguard is the last thing you want to worry about before a big game.


Experience the Ideal Fit or Receive a Full Refund! For comprehensive instructions on fitting your new boil and bite gumshield, simply click here.





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