A mouthguard is a resilient intraoral protective device useful in reducing mouth injuries and protecting the teeth and surrounding structures from injury.
There are two common forms of mouthguards or sportsguard commonly available. For the purpose of our discussion the terms mouthguard and sportsguard are one and the same.
A stock mouthguard can be purchased at most sports stores. Placing the material in hot water and then in the mouth allows the material to mold to the shape of the teeth. This type of a mouthguard provides some protection from tooth and jaw injury by cushioning the blow. However, the best form of protection is a custom-made mouthguard or sportsguard. These dental appliances are usually made at a dental office. The custom sportsguard fits perfectly over the teeth and allows for superior fit and protection against any type of mouth injury.
The cost of a custom mouthguard fabricated at a dental office can be much higher then a stock mouthguard purchased from a store. One of the reasons for the higher cost is that the stock sportsguard is mass-produced and the custom one is made specifically for you. The custom mouthguards will last longer and because of a snug fit will provide superior protection. The stock sportsguard provides advantages over not using any sort of appliance for mouth protection, however the custom-made sportsguard will fit and function much better.
Children with braces are much more prone to soft tissue injuries, cuts and scrapes, due to metal brackets and wires present in the mouth. These children and young adults would benefit from a stock sportsguard because the orthodontic treatment is temporary and the high cost of a custom sportsguard. After braces come off a custom made mouthguard would be ideal.