When it comes to educating the public about different types of mouthguards available, the most common mouthguard types that are talked about by dental journals and the dental community are stock mouthguards, boil and bite mouthguards and custom mouthguards. My intention in this post is to expand on the sub categories of this list. I will talk about Stock Mouthguards, Boil and Bite Mouthguards, Lip Guards, Mouthguard for Braces, Double Mouthguards, and Flavored Mouthguards. I will save the discussion for Custom Mouthguards, and Vertical Force Protection Mouthguards VFP™ (a new category of mouthguard) for Part II of this discussion.
These are mouthguards that do not require molding of any sort. You just pop them in your mouth and hope for the best. I have used many of these types of mouthguards growing up playing football. They are typically bulky in feel, and uncomfortable, but if you are in a pinch to wear a mouthguard these types will have to suffice. However, these are the least favorable of mouthguard varieties available.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
These are the most common mouthguards sold throughout the world. Walk into any sporting goods store and you will be overwhelmed with the choices available to you. They typically range in price from about $10-$40. This is the type of mouthguard that you place in boiling hot water for a period of time, and then bite down into and mold to your teeth, hence the term boil and bite. Keep in mind, the majority of boil and bite mouthguards do not mold very well to your teeth. Oftentimes mouthguard companies can get carried away building "technologies" into their mouthguards that the mouthguards become too thick, hard, bulky, and heavy. Most of these varieties do not form well making them more likely to shift in your mouth or fall off your teeth from body movement. This can cause breath obstruction and speech inhibition. Around 99% of the mouthguards sold in the world are boil and bite. Many people are unaware that there are better alternatives available, such as custom mouthguard options. Damage Control's boil and bite mouthguards, however, fit very well. Check out the reviews in a past post, Damage Control Mouthguard Reviews, to see the mouthguard reviews that were done on our boil and bite mouth guards.
Lip Protector Mouthguards
Also known as a pacifier mouthpiece, binky mouthguard, or lip guards. Whatever you choose to call them, these are mouthguards that cover the lips. Pacifier mouthpieces provide an external shield that protects the lip regions from impact and these mouthguards do not require boiling. Because of the shield the upper and lower teeth are also protected. Often worn in American football, these lip-protecting mouthguards can be popped in for a play, and then popped out and hung from the helmet as the player communicates with his teammates in between plays.
Pacifier mouthpieces stay in the mouth by the athlete clenching down on the mouth guard. Tune in to any NFL football game and you will see many of the players wearing these types of mouthguards. We at Damage Control had the pleasure of making Philadelphia Eagles player Kenjon Barner a custom fit mouthguard so that he could communicate clearly with his teammates.
Mouthguard for Braces
Mouthguards for braces are mouthguards that people look for who are wearing orthodontic braces, or who are going through other orthodontic treatments like Invisalign. Our High Impact and Extreme Impact mouthguards can be worn during orthodontic treatment. These can be reboiled multiple times, so we recommend after each ortho adjustment appointment that the mouthguards be boiled when they start to feel tight as the teeth are shifting.
You may be wondering why these mouthguards should be used instead of a boil and bite. Here’s why! Our boil and bite mouthguards cannot be worn with an orthodontic spacer, and they only cover the upper teeth. On the other hand, our custom lip-protection mouthguards are the ideal mouthguard we offer for braces. They cover both upper and bottom teeth as well as the lips which is very important while wearing braces. The lip protector mouthguard can also be worn with an orthodontic spacer. We suggest you ask your orthodontists what they would recommend for you or your child, before purchasing a mouthguard for braces.
Double mouthguards cover both the upper and lower teeth. People in combat sports often gravitate toward these types of mouthguards which is reasonable since the face is often the main target for your opponent. There are also double mouth guards available for people with upper and lower orthodontic braces. Many double mouthguards can be boiled to fit, require clenching to stay in your mouth, and typically have small breathing holes built in.
Although you will find these types of mouthguards in the boxing/MMA sections of most sporting goods stores, the majority of the professional boxers and MMA athletes do not wear double mouth guards. Instead they choose to wear custom fit mouthguards. The reason for this is because custom mouth guards offer greater protection, and better breathability; moreover, they also offer sufficient protection for your bottom teeth as well when a full balance bite is achieved. That is, if you do not have a malocclusion (misaligned bite) your bottom teeth will be protected by your custom mouthguard. If you do have a malocclusion there are tricks we offer our customers to achieve a full balance bite for their custom mouthguards.
Choose Quality Mouthguards
If you are a serious athlete you want to avoid the generic mouth guards such as stock mouthguards and many types of boil and bite mouth guards. Invest in a good quality mouthguard that will fit well and offer the highest level of protection.