Sports guards, mouthguards, and mouth protectors are different names for the same thing: a device worn over your teeth that protects them from blows to the face and head.
Mouthguards are an important piece of athletic equipment for anyone participating in a sport that involves falls, body contact, or flying equipment.
Mouthguards typically cover the upper teeth and are designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips, and other damage to your mouth. If you wear braces or other fixed dental appliances (such as a bridge) on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
Custom-fit mouthguards can only be made by a dentist. An impression is taken using putty-like material so that a plaster model of the teeth can be made. The mouthguard material is then sucked down using a special machine so that the mouthguard fits the teeth perfectly. A custom-fit mouthguard will only fit the person it is made for.
Another benefit of having a dentist fit a mouthguard is that they will ensure the mouthguard is appropriate for your sport, as there are a few different types of custom-fit mouthguards. Additionally a custom fit mouthguard:
- Will not fall when you open your mouth, allowing you to speak whilst wearing it.
- Is comfortable.
- Will not restrict breathing.
- Provides the highest level of protection available for your mouth when participating in contact sports or activities.
The ADA (Australian Dental Association) and Standards Australia do not recommend over-the-counter or ‘boil and bite’ mouthguards. Studies have shown that wearing these types of mouthguards offers only slightly better protection than wearing no mouthguard at all.