Posted on 1/20/2020 by Dr Jonathan Ford
|If we recommended a mouthguard to protect your oral health, you may be wondering if buying one off the shelf is sufficient for your needs. After all, a mouthguard available at a drugstore is less expensive than a custom mouthguard and less of a hassle to acquire.
In addition, you won't be wearing your mouthguard the vast majority of the time, so many patients wonder why they should invest their time and money into a custom mouthguard if there isn't much difference in how effectively it works for them.
Custom Mouthguards vs Store-Bought Mouthguards
As with any dental treatment, which mouthguard is right for you will vary depending on a few factors, but is largely dependent on your personal preferences regarding cost, comfort level, protection levels, and materials. However, there are also key differences between a custom mouthguard and an off-the-shelf mouthguard that can make a difference in how well it functions for you specifically.
How Custom Mouthguards Differ from Over-the-Counter Mouthguards
A significant difference between custom and off-the-shelf mouthguards is the durability of their materials. Although both are made of plastic, OTC mouthguards are made of a much thinner plastic than that used for custom mouthguards. This means that it's possible to bite through drugstore mouthguards if you're grinding and clenching, or even your chewing, are aggressive enough.
When Do I Need a Custom Mouthguard?
Store-bought mouthguards typically work well enough to be worn during athletics or to protect your teeth from clenching and grinding while you sleep, although they weren't specifically designed to protect against damage due to athletic activity. It's better to have a store-bought mouthguard than no protection at all, but in many cases a custom mouthguard is necessary to fully protect your oral health.
Choosing the best mouthguard for you will depend largely on personal preference. However, there are also important differences between these two types of mouthguards that can greatly affect your oral health. Your best bet is to schedule a visit with our office to discuss these options to ensure that you opt for the mouthguard that will work most effectively for you.
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