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What is the difference between a custom-fitted sports mouthguard and a regular sports mouthguard?


Regular sports mouthguard

What is it?

Mouthguards that are readily available over-the-counter from pharmacies and sports stores. These are made of plastic and come as two types, either a solid mouthguard (with a range of sizes) or a ‘boil-and-bite’ type that needs to be softened using warm water and moulded to your teeth.

How well does it work?

This depends on a few factors such as the amount and type of force applied to the face, the thickness of the mouthguard itself, whether it was moulded properly and its ability to stay on your teeth. Since these mouthguards are not individually made, they do not fit exactly to the shape of your teeth and thus offer a lower level of protection for your teeth and jaws compared to a custom-fitted mouthguard.

Pros and cons

Pros: easily available, quick to fit, affordable

Cons: low level of protection, can affect your speech, uncomfortable, difficult to breathe, potential choking hazard, does not last as long

Custom-fitted sports mouthguard

What is it?

Mouthguards that are prescribed by a dentist and specially designed to fit your mouth based on a detailed mould of your teeth and mouth. They are made by layering thermoplastic material to provide a more comfortable and durable product.

How is it made?

First, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if you need any dental work that may affect the fit of your mouthguard. Then, moulds of your upper and lower teeth are taken physically or digitally. A dual laminated mouthguard will be fabricated for which you can also pick the colour or design of. A quick second appointment after about two weeks is needed for your dentist to ensure your mouthguard fits correctly and to advise you on how to care for your mouthguard.

How well does it work?

These mouthguards are customized for the wearer and hence, offer a very high level of protection for your teeth and jaw with reduced chance of removal during play.

Pros and cons

Pros: best protection for teeth and jaws, comfortable, durable, does not restrict ability to talk or breathe, can have a specific colour/design

Cons: requires dental appointment, less affordable

While the regular mouthguards may sound like a more convenient and affordable option, the custom-fitted mouthguards offer a greater advantage and are also recommended by the Australian Dental Association.

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