Can you tell me about different types of athletic mouthguards?
A mouthguard is a flexible appliance that is worn during athletic and recreational activities to prevent injuries to the mouth and face. It is advisable to wear a mouthguard any time there is a strong chance of the head making contact with other participants or hard surfaces. There are several types of mouthguards, including the following:
Stock mouthguards: The least expensive option is a ready-made stock item available over-the-counter, which offers the least protection as little can be done to adjust its fit. This type requires the user to close his/her jaw to hold it in place, so as a result it may interfere with breathing and speech. It is also more likely to lead to jaw muscle soreness. This type is not considered an acceptable device for facial protection.
Mouth-formed mouthguards: There are two types, both over-the-counter. The first is a shell-liner, which is made from acrylic that is poured into an outer shell, where it forms a lining. When placed in an athlete’s mouth, the lining material molds to the teeth and is allowed to set. The second type is a thermoplastic or “boil and bite” mouthguard. It is softened in hot water, placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using a finger or the tongue. These two types can provide some degree of protection, but can be bulky and have a loose fit.
Custom-made mouthguards: When it comes to injury prevention, this is your best option. This type is made by your dentist from a model of the athlete’s teeth, and therefore offers the best protection, fit and comfort.