Mouthguards: Do You Know The Difference Between Your Choices?
With so much to think about preparing for a game, the last thing on your mind is your protective gear — especially a piece of equipment as seemingly insignificant as a mouthguard.
Sure, there are plenty of mouthguard options, but they’re all basically the same, right? The $15 one can’t be that much different from the $55 version.
Mouthguards, much like the mouths they protect, are not created equally. What makes one mouthguard better than another? We’re here to help:
What Are The Differences?
When it comes to mouthguards, there are two main types: generic boil-and-bite mouthguards and custom-made mouthguards.
Boil-and-bite mouthguards come right off the shelf of a storeroom and are formed to the mouth by boiling in hot water and biting into them — hence the name. Here’s the thing though, your mouth is only able to generate 7-9 pounds per square inch of pressure. And because boil-and-bite mouthguards are made from a stock-injected mold, they are not meant to fit your unique mouth structure.
Everyone’s mouth is different and proper protection comes from a perfect fit — something you’re not getting from a boil-and-bite mouthguard. A custom mouthguard, though, is made directly on a stone model of your mouth, which is made from an exact impression of your teeth. This is what makes it custom, as each guard is specific to each athlete.
So what’s the difference? Custom mouthguards are pressed at 120 pounds per square inch, allowing for the most imitate fit possible.
What Are The Advantages?
The fit, which we covered, is first and foremost, but the design of the different types of mouthguards provides different advantages as well.
Because boil-and-bites are created from a uniform mold, they have one uniform thickness around the entire mouthguard, which puts material in places it doesn’t need to be. That makes the mouthguard uncomfortable, and inhibits speaking and breathing.
The creation of a custom mouthguard is a layered process that allows different areas to have varying levels of thickness, based on the protection needs of the individual athlete. This layering allows a custom mouthguard to be thicker in the impact zones — the areas in front of the teeth and under the molars — providing more protection, while being thinner or having no material in areas where protection isn’t needed — behind the back of the front teeth and the roof of the mouth.
Not only are custom mouthguards the most comfortable mouthguards available, their design doesn’t comprise breathing or speaking either!
What About The Price?
Sure, at first glance the boil-and-bite’s lower price point seems attractive — around $10-25 compared to $55-100 for a custom mouthguard — but the cost of a custom isn’t simply for better protection and comfort. With the creation of the stone model for your custom mouthguard, you have the ability to forgo the impression process in the future.
Most custom mouthguard manufactures offer discounts up to 50% off on future orders with that stone model, as that is what’s needed to create your custom mouthguard. Because athletes go through multiple boil-and-bite mouthguards per year, the long-term value of a superior mouthguard should make your decision easy.