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Custom Mouthguards: Benefits, Costs, Care and Types

Contributors:  Natalie Asmussen

You may need a custom mouthguard, whether for playing sports or teeth grinding. And it's best to get a mouthguard that is tailored to your mouth and your bite, for optimized comfort and protection.

Custom mouthguards can come from the dentist, and you can order them online. In this article, we'll talk all about custom mouthguards, including their pros and cons, costs, and care. We'll talk about non-custom mouthguards too, in case you're in a bind and you need to protect your teeth right away.

What are dentist custom mouthguards?


Custom mouthguards are teeth protectors that are made using impressions or scans of your mouth and teeth so that they offer personalized protection.

This customization ensures maximum comfort and effectiveness, particularly in shielding against impacts in sports or reducing damage from teeth grinding. In contrast, standard over-the-counter mouthguards offer a more generic fit, which could result in discomfort or damage to your teeth or mouth.

Other types of mouthguards

Sporting Smiles

Delta Dental

Venum

  • Custom made

  • Order online

  • Used by professional atheletes

  • Boil and bite

  • ADA Accepted

  • Easy instructions

  • One size

  • Gel interior

  • Rubber exterior

Mouthguards that are custom-made for your teeth will fit better, be more comfortable and provide better protection than those that aren't. But if you have severe teeth grinding or play a high-contact sport and don't have access to a custom guard, another type of mouthguard may suffice for the time being — although it's best to confirm with your dentist beforehand.

One-size fits all

This is the least recommendable option. It is made to fit inside all mouths, so there's a greater chance that it won't be comfortable and won't provide the specific protection that your mouth needs. It's also the cheapest option. If you do decide to go this route, do your due diligence and make sure you check customer reviews, and preferably consult your dentist before buying.

The Venum Challenger Mouthguard has good reviews, saying it's comfortable while providing sufficient protection while playing sports, including boxing.

Boil and bite

custom fit mouthguard

Boil and bite mouthguards require you to heat up your guard in hot water, (or the microwave) and then put it in your mouth to mold it to your teeth while it cools. That way it keeps the shape of your teeth. The resulting mold isn't as accurate as it would be were it custom-made in a lab, but it is likely more comfortable than a one-size-fits-all guard.

The Delta Dental Mouth Guard is a good choice because it's ADA Accepted and has positive reviews for its comfort, protection and ease of use.

Do they work?

Over-the-counter mouthguards work in many cases and are a fine option for some. It all depends on the level of protection you need and your particular oral anatomy.

These mouthguards are also more affordable, certainly making them more accessible, but do consult your dentist before making a decision one way or another.

Who needs custom mouthguards?

Custom mouthguards can play a couple of roles. They protect your teeth and mouth during sports, especially contact sports like football, boxing, or hockey; they safeguard against injuries to teeth, gums, and jaws. For individuals with bruxism (teeth grinding), custom mouthguards prevent tooth wear and alleviate jaw strain.

These custom-fitted guards offer a significant advantage over generic ones in fit, comfort, and effectiveness. They are designed to match your dental structure, ensuring better protection and reducing the risk of mouth-related injuries, which is less guaranteed with one-size-fit-all solutions.

Benefits of custom mouthguards


Custom mouthguards offer several key benefits:

  • Enhanced comfort and fit: These mouthguards are tailored to your mouth and teeth, providing a snug, comfortable fit that OTC mouthguards can't match. This personalized fit ensures they stay securely in place, reducing the risk of slippage and discomfort during use.
  • Improved protection: Custom mouthguards offer superior protection thanks to their precise fit which allows for better distribution of force upon impact, crucial in sports or for those suffering from bruxism. This targeted protection significantly reduces the risk of dental injuries, and — according to a study cited by the American Dental Association — even brain injuries.
  • Longevity and durability: Made from high-quality materials, custom mouthguards are more durable and resistant to wear and tear than standard options. Their robust construction means they last longer, making them a cost-effective solution in the long run despite their higher initial cost.

Custom mouthguard process

The process of getting a custom mouthguard from the dentist involves several steps:

  1. Dental consultation: The process begins with a visit to your dentist. They assess your oral health and discuss the need for a custom mouthguard.
  2. Impression taking: Your dentist takes an impression of your teeth. This impression is either done physically with a dental putty or digitally, ensuring an exact replica of your teeth structure.
  3. Making the mouthguard: The impression is sent to a dental lab where the custom mouthguard is crafted.
  4. Final fitting and adjustments: Once the mouthguard is ready, you'll have a final fitting. Your dentist ensures it fits perfectly and makes any necessary adjustments for comfort and protection.

Mouthguard maintenance

How to clean a mouthguard

  • Clean the mouthguard with cool water and a toothbrush or soap after each use.
  • Avoid hot water, which can warp its shape.
  • Store it in a ventilated case to prevent bacterial growth.

Mouthguard replacement

  • Regularly inspect for signs of wear, such as thinning areas, holes, or tears.
  • If the mouthguard becomes uncomfortable or loose, it may need replacing.
  • Typically, replace a custom mouthguard every 6 to 12 months, depending on usage and wear.

Getting a custom mouthguard online

Did you know you can get a custom made mouthguard online? It's just like the one you would get from the dentist, but it's more affordable, and can be more convenient too.

These guards are made using impressions of your teeth that you take at home using a special impression kit, and then they're made in the same lab that the guards you get from the dentist are made from.

The benefits of getting a custom mouthguard online include:

  • Convenience: You can order from the comfort of your home without needing multiple dental appointments.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Often less expensive than those obtained through a dentist.
  • Personalization: Options for customization, including color and design.
  • Ease of use: Simple impression kits with instructions are sent directly to your home.
  • Quality materials: Typically made with high-quality, durable materials.
  • Professional support: Some online services offer support from dental professionals.

These benefits make online custom mouthguards a popular choice for many seeking a blend of convenience, customization, and affordability.

Best custom mouthguard online

best custom mouthguard
Best custom mouthguard

Our top pick for online custom mouthguards is Sporting Smiles. They have a wide selection to choose from with different thicknesses and colors, also varying by sport. You can even get a custom logo or text to make it truly unique. And they have prices as low as $80.

Your kit comes with an easy instructional video so you know exactly how to make your impressions — over a million people have done it successfully!

Protect your mouth and teeth, knowing you are wearing the same mouthguards that professional athletes wear.

Check out the video below to see how easy it is to make your impressions:

Using our self-impression dental kit to make custom Essix Retainers, teeth grinding guards, sports mouthguards, or teeth whitening trays. The same impression kit is used for all our products.

Conclusion

Custom mouthguards offer unparalleled comfort, fit, and protection compared to standard options. They are essential for athletes and individuals with specific dental needs, such as bruxism.

The personalized nature of these mouthguards ensures better safety, longevity, and overall oral health. By investing in a custom mouthguard, you are investing in superior dental protection tailored to your unique needs.

FAQs

How much does a custom mouthguard cost?

A custom mouthguard costs from $80 to $1,000. Why such a range? That all depends on the thickness, material, and durability of the guard, as well as whether you order it online or get it from the dentist.

Is a custom mouthguard for $100 too cheap?

A custom mouthguard for $100 isn't too cheap — that's actually the average price when you order one online. If you get yours from the dentist, it will likely be more.

How long does a custom mouthguard last?

A custom mouthguard can last up to a couple of years, depending on how frequently you use it, and the level of wear and tear. You may also need to replace it sooner if there are changes to your mouth's structure.

Custom Mouthguards: Benefits, Costs, Care and Types
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Contributors:
Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
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