Just as shoulder pads and shin guards are essential pieces of equipment for athletes, mouth guards are very important as well. Oral injuries are easier to sustain than you might think, from broken teeth to injuries to the lips, tongue, face, or jaw. These injuries can be prevented – or at least minimized – by a mouth guard.
Types of mouth guards
There are several types of sports guards available. They can be easily be found over-the-counter, as stock and boil-and-bite mouth guards. Though stock sports guards offer some protection and are the most affordable, they don’t fit very well since they come pre-formed. They can be bulky and make breathing and speaking difficult, which lowers their effectiveness.
Boil-and-bite sports guards can be molded to the mouth by being softened in hot water, then inserted into the mouth to change shape. Because they can be fitted to the mouth, they offer more comfort and protection than stock mouth guards, but the best-fitting type is a custom-fitted sports guard.
Custom-made sports guards are specially made by your dentist. They are the most expensive option, but provide the best in fit and comfort.