Difference between Custom and Off-The-Shelf Mouth Guards
Mouth guards are used for a variety of reasons. Based on the usage and requirements, there are two main types, i.e. custom mouth guard and off-the-shelf mouth guard. To explain which mouth guard is right for you, below listed are the features and properties of both types.
Off-the-shelf mouth guards
These mouth guards are made for the sportspersons and athletes. Another purpose for which these mouth guards are used is to stop the teeth from grinding during sleep.
While the mouth guards for sports are made from thick plastic, the normal over-the-counter mouth guards are made of thinner plastic which is more pliable.
In order to make over-the-counter mouth guard fitting in the wearer’s mouth, the mouth guard is put into the boiling water for certain duration. This makes the plastic moldable. Then this mouth guard is placed carefully in the wearer’s mouth and he/she is asked to bite it gently. This bite then makes the mouth guard accustomed to the teeth structure.
Over the counter mouth guards are general purpose. It means anyone who is conscious about the safety of teeth can use these mouth guards during sports and athletic activities. Same goes for the normal mouth guards which are used to prevent teeth grinding during sleep.
There are some pros and cons of over-the-shelf mouth guards. Let’s start with the pros.
- Easily fitting
- Easily available
The cons of these mouth guards are:
- Not suitable for aggressive teeth grinders
- May not last longer
Custom-fitting mouth guards
The mouth guards which are made on the prescription of dental professionals are custom-fitting mouth guards. These mouth guards are made from thermoplastic material based on the teeth impression which the dental professionals take.
Custom-fitting mouth guards are highly personalized because dentists would prescribe the thickness and strength of the material based on the wearer’s requirements. Hence, you will not have to make any adjustment in the mouth guard after it gets ready to wear. These mouth guards can be used for the same purposes as that of over-the-counter mouth guards.
Custom-fitting mouth guards are usually made only for the upper teeth but there can be situations when dentist would prescribe the second part to cover the lower teeth.
The making of this mouth guard involves impression of your teeth which is taken by the dentists. This impression is then used by professionals at the labs to create the mouth guard which is extremely durable and perfectly fitting according to your requirements. And since these mouth guards are made to precisely fulfill the wearer’s requirements, they ought to last much longer as compared to over-the-shelf mouth guards. So, whether you want them to support your teeth during sports, during night if you have the habit of teeth grinding, or any other purpose, custom made mouth guard is your best bet if you want ultimate safety.
With that said, there are some pros and cons of custom-fitting mouth guards. Let’s start with the pros.
- Provides best protection
- Highly durable
- Fits precisely
And the cons:
- Can cost more than over the counter mouth guards
- Needs to be approved by the dentist