A sports guard is a dental device that is worn over your teeth to protect the teeth and mouth from injuries to the face and head. It is a very important piece of athletic equipment for anyone participating in a contact sport that involves falls, body contact or flying equipment. Sports guards can be easily found over the counter as stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards. However, while these types of sports guards do offer some protection, they do not fit as well as custom made sports guards, since they are pre-formed. Pre-formed sports guards can be bulky and make breathing and speaking difficult, which also lessens their effectiveness.
The best fitting sports guards are custom sports guards, which are made by your dentist to specifically fit the unique shape of your teeth and mouth. The custom fit makes them more comfortable and easier to wear than over-the-counter varieties. While they are more expensive than over-the-counter versions, they provide the best fit and comfort. A properly fitted sports guard can absorb the shock of impacts. It can also protect teeth against potential chips and cracks, fractures, knock-out, and damage. A sports guard is especially important for those who wear braces or other fixed orthodontic appliances because any impact to the mouth can damage the brackets and wires of braces and can also cause added cuts and tears to the soft tissue inside of the mouth.