Parents are sometimes uninformed about the level of contact and potential for serious dental injuries involved with sports in which the child participates. Some, though not all schools, reinforce the health advantage of mouthguards for their contact sports. Cost may be another consideration, although mouthguards come in a variety of price ranges.
- Stock mouth guards - these are a bulky gutter of rigid plastic available from pharmacies and sports stores. They are very uncomfortable, interfere with speech and breathing and because they are not firmly secured offer a false sense of protection.
- Boil and Bite mouth guards - Pharmacies and sports stores also sell “boil and bite” mouth guards. They are made from a thermoplastic material which is softened in hot water and then placed in the mouth to mould to the teeth as the guard is bitten. Like stock guards, they are cheap but never fit well and their shape easily deforms. They can be uncomfortable, impair breathing and speech, offer limited protection and can be an airway hazard.
- Custom fitted mouth guards - These are made by a dental professional using an impression of the teeth from special shock absorbing plastic. A custom fitted mouth guard fits a person’s mouth perfectly. The accurate fit and control of the thickness maximizes the shock absorbing effect. They fit comfortably and won’t interfere with breathing.