If you’re an athlete, you’re 60 times more susceptible to injuring your teeth when you don’t wear a mouthguard for protection. When choosing a mouthguard, it helps to know what’s available, as well as the pros an cons of the main types.
This is the cheapest type, but it offers the least protection. They’re called “stock” mouthguards because you find them in stock. They're ready to be used and don’t entail any customization.
Unfortunately, athletes wearing stock mouthguards tend to clench their teeth to make up for their loose fit. However, this can make breathing and speaking a challenge. Even worse, this mouthguard doesn't stay in place.
This is the one that’s most commonly used among athletes. Boil-and-bite guards protect you more than stock mouthguards. Although they cost slightly more than stock mouthguards, they’re not as expensive as customized ones. This type of mouthguard offers more comfort because of its thermoplastic construction, which allows the device to mold to a wearer’s mouth.
A downside to the Boil-and-Bite mouthguards is that they can feel bulky, or sometimes not cover the back teeth, which is essential if you play football. If you choose this mouthguard, be sure it’s at least 3 mm thick.
For the highest level of protection, buy a customized . Besides its durability, this mouthguard is also tasteless and odorless. Of the three kinds of mouthguards, custom-made ones do the best job of maintaining their shape.
Their main drawback is that they’re the most expensive, ranging in price from $100 to $300. Maybe that’s why just 10 percent of football athletes wear them.
Considerations and Warnings
- Most sports regulations only require that the top teeth be covered. On the other hand, you can always have your bottom teeth covered if this is recommended by your dentist.
- You’ll need a mouthguard that’s specifically made for orthodontics if you wear braces.
- Mouth guards made from softer materials have a shorter longevity than those constructed from harder plastics.