Q: What are the best mouthguards?
A: The position of the Academy for Sports Dentistry is that to be adequate, a mouthguard must be properly fitted and properly worn. In order to ensure a proper fit, a mouthguard is best fitted by a dental professional. It is generally accepted that a custom fitted mouthguard fabricated over a dental cast of the athlete’s teeth will give the best fit.
A mouthguard made by a dental professional can also tailor the mouthguard to the demands of the athlete and the sport. Speech requirements, individual occlusal differences and relative dental and concussion injury risks of each sport can only be customized by fabricating an individual mouthguard. It is difficult to see how an over- the-counter mouthguard can fill all of an athlete’s requirements without being checked and adjusted by an informed dental professional.
Q: Who should wear a mouthguard?
A: Anyone participating in a sport that contains a chance of injury to the teeth, jaws, or oral soft tissues or which shows a potential risk of concussion could benefit from the use of a mouthguard. In general, anyone participating in a contact or collision sport could benefit from a properly fitted and properly worn mouthguard. Participants in an individual sport, such as rollerblading, which puts the athlete at risk, should use a mouthguard. A properly fitted and properly worn mouthguard shouldn’t interfere with an athlete performing any sport at the highest level.