When it comes to educating the public about different types of mouth guards available, the most common mouth guard types that are talked about by dental journals and the dental community are stock mouth guards, boil and bite mouth guards and custom mouth guards. My intention in this post is to expand on the sub categories of this list. I will talk about Stock Mouth Guards, Boil and Bite Mouthguards, Lip Guards, Mouth Guard for Braces, Double Mouth Guards, and Flavored Mouth Guards. I will save the discussion for Custom Mouth Guards, and Vertical Force Protection Mouth Guards VFP™ (a new category of mouth guard) for Part II of this discussion.
Stock Mouth Guards
These are mouth guards 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 mouth guards growing up playing football. They are typically bulky in feel, and uncomfortable, but if you are in a pinch to wear a mouth guard, these are the least favorable of varieties available.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
These are the most common mouth guards sold throughout the world. Walk into in sporting good store and you will be inundated with the choices available. They typically range in price from about $10-$40. These are the type of mouth guards that you place in boiling hot water for a period of time, and then bite down in to to mold to your teeth, hence the term boil and bite. Keep in mind that the majority of boil and bite mouth guards you buy do not mold very well to your teeth. Often times mouth guard companies can get carried away building "technologies" into their mouth guards that the mouth guards become too thick, hard, bulky and heavy. Most of these varieties do not form well making them more likely to shift in your mouth from body movement, and constantly come off the teeth from gravity. This can cause breath obstruction, and speech inhibition. These are the reasons why people hate mouth guards. Also, around 99% of the mouth guards sold in the world are boil and bite mouth guards, and many people are unaware that there are better alternatives like custom mouth guard options available. Damage Control's boil and bite mouth guards, however, fit very well. Check out the reviews in a past post, Damage Control Mouthguard Reviews, to see the mouth guard reviews that were done on our boil and bite mouth guards. Other than our own boil and bite mouth guards, I can only think of about 1-2 competitors that have great fitting boil and bites mouth guards while maintaining protective qualities needed to absorb high energy forces.
Lip Protector Mouth Guards
Also known as pacifier mouth guards, binky mouth guard, or lip guards. These mouth guards are often seen worn in American football. Tune in to an NFL football game and you will see many players wearing these types of mouth guards. These mouth guards do not require boiling; therefore, they may be considered stock mouth guards. They stay in the mouth from the athlete clenching down on the mouth guard. Which may be a concern if you are an athlete that needs to communicate to his teammates. A lip protector mouth guard was not ideal for Philadelphia Eagles player Kenjon Barner when he had to communicate to his other players. Read the article by Bob Grotz here to see how a lip protector mouth guard was an issue for Barner. To remedy the issue Damage Control made Barner a custom fit mouth guard that way he can now communicate clearly with his teammates. These mouth guards provide an external shield that protects the lip regions from impact. Because of the shield the athletes upper and lower teeth are also protected. These lip protector mouth guards are great for football, for they can be popped in for a play, and popped out and hung from the helmet as the player communicates with his teammates.
Mouth Guard for Braces
Mouth guards for braces are mouth guards that people look for who are wearing orthodontic braces, or who are going through other orthodontic treatment like Invisalign. Our High Impact and Extreme Impact mouth guards can be worn during orthodontic treatment. They can be reboiled multiple times, so we recommend after each ortho adjustment appointment ( or put in new retainers for Invisalign) that the mouth guards be boiled when they start to feel tight as the teeth are shifting. However, our boil and bite mouth guards cannot be worn with an orthodontic spacer, and they only cover the upper teeth. Our lip protector mouth guard is the ideal mouth guard we offer for braces, for it covers both upper and bottom teeth as well as the lips which is very important while wearing braces. The lip protector mouth guard can also be worn with a orthodontic spacer. We would ask your orthodontists what he or she would recommend for you or your child, before purchasing a mouth guard for braces.
Double Mouth Guards
Double mouth guards cover both the upper and lower teeth. People in combat sports often gravitate toward these types of mouth guards 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 of double mouth guards can be boil fitted, but still require clenching to stay in your mouth, and typically have small breathing holes built in which do not allow for good oxygen intake. Although, you will find these types of mouth guard in the boxing, mma sections of most sporting good stores, the majority of the professional boxers and mma athletes do not wear double mouth guards, but choose to wear custom fit mouth guards which only cover the upper teeth. 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 mouth guard. If you do have a malocclusion there are tricks we offer our customers to achieve a full balance bite for their custom mouth guards.
Flavored Mouth Guards
These types of mouth guards are made with an additive that gives flavor to the mouth guard. These types of mouth guards come in mint flavor, orange flavor, fruit punch flavor and bubble gum flavor. When these types of mouth guards arrived to the scene about 7 years ago I thought they would be just a fad and eventually fade away; however, these mouth guards seem to be very popular with the youth. Why you would want your salivary glands activated, which can cause excessive drooling, as you play your sport remains a mystery, but it appears these types of mouth guard are here to stay.
If you are a serious athlete you may want to avoid the cheap types of mouth guards like stock mouth guards, many types boil and bite mouth guards , and actually invest a good quality mouth guard that will fit well and offer the highest level of protection. In Part II of this blog series we will be discussing custom mouth guards, the types of technologies Damage Control incorporates into their custom mouth guards, and we discuss a new category of mouth guard called Vertical Force Protection.