Dr. Kanani always recommends that his patients wear custom-made sports mouth guards any time they play sports during their braces treatment.
To keep your orthodontic appliances and your mouth and face safe during sports, it's important to always wear a protective mouth guard.
But the type of mouth guard you choose matters; not all sports mouth guards are created equal!
Each style of mouth guard available has its pros and cons:
Stock Mouth Guards
Stock mouth guards are the most inexpensive, and are available at your average sporting goods store. The main (and probably the only) benefit of these is the price; they’re very inexpensive.
Remember: you get what you pay for. Stock mouth guards usually come in one standard size, and there's nothing you can really do to adjust the way they fit. Depending on the size and shape of your mouth and jaw, the fit can be anywhere on the scale from mildly uncomfortable to downright terrible. They can also make speaking and even breathing somewhat difficult and more importantly, they do very little to actually protect you.
Boil & Bite Mouth Guards
Boil and Bite mouth guards are also available at most sporting goods stores are inexpensive, and provide slightly better fit and protection than stock mouth guards do.
Boil and bite mouth guards are made of a malleable thermoplastic material that you place under hot water to soften. This allows them to be shape around your teeth with your fingers and tongue.
These mouth guards provide a better fit than stock guards do, but are still somewhat awkward and uncomfortable to wear.
Custom-Made Mouth Guards
Custom mouth guards are made at your dentist's or orthodontist's office or in a lab to fit your teeth and mouth specifically. They're made based on teeth impressions your dentist or orthodontist take beforehand.
Custom mouth guards provide the best comfort, fit and protection. On the downside, they’re more expensive than the other two options, but the benefits when it comes to comfort and safety are worth it. Especially if you wear braces!