If you’re seeking a sports mouthguard for protection during athletic activities or a night mouthguard to prevent the damaging effects of teeth clinching and grinding, there are plenty of retail options available.
Unfortunately, prefabricated mouthguards and at-home “boil-and-bite” models don’t offer the protection or comfortable, snug fit that custom-made mouthguards from an experienced dentist provide. Burke, Virginia, family dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban offers professionally crafted sports mouthguards and nightguards that fit perfectly while protecting your teeth from traumatic impact and progressive wear.
There are three main types of mouthguards:
- Stock or prefabricated
- Mouth-formed, aka “boil-and-bite”
Stock and mouth-formed mouthguards are readily available at a number of stores, but they offer minimal protection regardless of whether you’re an athlete or nighttime tooth grinder. Stock mouthguards are churned out on assembly lines and are based on average sizes.
But everyone’s mouth is different, and stock mouthguards tend to fit poorly because they don’t conform to your teeth. They are typically either too bulky, which can interfere with speech and normal respiration, or too loose, which can cause them to fall out when you need them most. They also lack the protective qualities of mouthguards that are crafted to properly fit your individual bite.
Likewise, do-it-yourself mouth-formed guards can be difficult to apply and don’t offer the retention of mouthguards made by dental professionals. Boil-and-bite mouthguards also tend to be less durable and less resistant to tears and punctures than custom-made mouthguards.
While retail mouthguards are cheaper than custom-made sports mouthguards or nightguards, consider that the cost of repairing worn, fractured, broken or lost teeth due to ill-fitting mouthguards—or no mouthguards at all—can be much greater.