This is a question I get a lot. With the new school year starting it is important to get the facts about mouthguards. The truth is there is actually a big difference between the two types of mouthguards. A mouthguard should be worn for any contact sport (football, soccer, wrestling, basketball, etc). The ones sold in stores are stock mouthguards and may not correctly conform to your child’s mouth. The mouthguard provides protection by conforming to the teeth and having a certain level of thickness. If the mouthguard does not conform to the teeth then your child will have to bite on it to keep it in place. Biting on the mouthguard can interfere with the athlete’s breathing, therefore, interfering with sports performance. If the mouthguard is too thin then it will not protect the teeth adequately. Stock mouthguards can also be very bulky. Avoid trimming them because in doing so you further reduce the protective coverage.
Custom ones made by your dentist conform to your child’s teeth. They provide superior protection and retention so breathing and thus athletic performance is not impaired. Their thickness is customized based on the sport and level of protection that is needed for that sport. Although mouthguards made by your dentist cost more they provide a superior level of protection, they are more comfortable increasing the chances that your child will wear it, they are custom made, and they last longer.
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