A mouthguard is the best way to prevent orofacial injury, but a mouthguard that doesn’t fit properly will not afford good protection. The better the fit, the better the protection, comfort, acceptance and compliance. There are basically three types of athletic mouthguards, all significantly different in fit, comfort and acceptance.
These are available at sporting goods stores. The mouthguard is removed from the package and placed in the mouth. There is no attempt at fit. This is the least desirable and acceptable and not recommended.
Boil and Bite Mouthguards
These are only slightly better than stock mouthguards.
Studies have shown that custom made mouthguards perform the best of the three types of mouthguards available today. Their precise fit allows for greater compliance and reduction in injuries. By placing a material with appropriate shock-absorbing qualities between the upper and lower teeth, the upward force (as in a blow to the face) might be dissipated across a greater area thereby reducing the trauma to the brain and skull. Concussions are especially prevalent in contact sports such as rugby, football and ice hockey.