Despite the outrageous claims of unscrupulous over-the-counter and online mouthguard retailers, nothing beats a custom-fitted mouthguard made by your dentist.
In fact, these “do-it-yourself” mouthguards have been proven to be far less safe and effective in U.S. studies, and are not endorsed by the Australian Dental Association (ADA). You can’t even claim health insurance for any of these products.
Your first visit
When a dental professional creates your sports mouthguard, the first step they take is to make detailed impressions of your upper and lower teeth that match their shape and contours exactly.
This is achieved by the use of dental putty in an “impression tray” that is pressed into every nook and cranny of your unique set of teeth until the correct mould is created. After the putty has set in just a few minutes, it is removed, and you are free to go.
Your dentist will also take your individual needs into account, and adjust the shape and thickness of the mouthguard accordingly. This also includes providing space for growing teeth in the case of children and teenagers, and ensuring the correct thickness in critical areas of the mouthguard.
The previous step is a comfortable, quick and easy procedure, and when complete, the perfectly formed mould is used by a dental technician to create a plaster cast.
The technician then fabricates your actual mouthguard by layering superheated thermoplastic over the cast precisely via a vacuum forming machine, which is then cooled down. The end result is a perfectly formed and extremely durable sports mouthguard. The mouthguard is also checked and evaluated against the cast, after which it may be trimmed and polished for a more exact fit and better retention.
Time to pick up your new mouthguard
At your follow-up visit, your dentist will fit your new mouthguard and make any final adjustments necessary for better comfort, fit and protection. Your custom-fitted mouthguard should not feel bulky, and must have excellent retention to ensure it doesn’t dislodge in the event of an impact. You should also be able to speak and breathe freely.
The costs of custom-fitted mouthguards vary, but in general they range in price from $120 to $200 depending on what options you choose. Turn-a-around times are about a week, so you and your children will be able to confidently “play it safe” in no time!