Young Child Playing Football Wearing Mouthguard

Sports Mouthguards: What You Need to Know

Team General Dentistry

Does your child play sports? Any active sport, regardless of the level of contact involved, could result in damage to the teeth. It is a good idea to wear a mouthguard for most sports, including football, baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball, gymnastics, martial arts, and many more. Even low contact sports can result in a fall that could hurt the mouth. Mouthguards go a long way toward preventing serious dental injuries. 

There are various types of mouthguards. Some are available in sporting goods stores, others can be custom made by your dentist. There are definite differences between store-bought mouthguards and custom-made mouthguards. Each option has its pros and cons.

Store-Bought Mouthguards

If you’re considering purchasing a mouthguard from a sporting goods store, consider the pros and cons. 


  • Less expensive than custom mouthguards.
  • Many can be boiled to soften the plastic so that you can bite down on it and mold it to your teeth. 
  • Come in a variety of sizes.


  • Won’t fit as well as a custom mouthguard made by a dentist.
  • Poor fit could result in higher risk of tooth damage.
  • May need to be replaced each year.

Custom-Made Mouthguards

If you’re considering purchasing a custom mouthguard created by a dentist, consider the pros and cons. 


  • Custom made for a perfect fit.
  • Closer fit offers better protection for the teeth. 
  • Stays in place.
  • More comfortable. 


  • More expensive than store bought mouthguards.
  • Must be replaced periodically as the child grows.

Choosing the Best Option For Your Child

It can be difficult to decide between mouthguards, especially when the less expensive choice is tempting. But the important thing to keep in mind is that you only get one set of permanent teeth in a lifetime. If a tooth or teeth are damaged beyond repair, replacement options are available, such as crowns and dental implants. But if you compare the cost of a dental implant and a custom mouthguard, you’ll find that a custom mouthguard created by a dentist suddenly looks much more affordable. 

If cost is a major concern, consider what type of sport your child plays. If it's a full-contact sport such as tackle football or hockey, a custom mouthguard is no question. But perhaps for soccer or baseball you could make do with a store bought mouthguard. Also consider how frequently your child plays their sport, because the more they play the greater the chances of an injury. Discuss with your dentist for a professional opinion on the best way to protect your child’s teeth. Prevention is definitely less expensive than restoration or replacement of teeth. 

Another consideration is braces. If your child currently has metal or ceramic braces that include brackets on the front of their teeth, a custom mouthguard is especially wise. Getting hit in the mouth by a ball or an elbow while wearing braces can be even more painful and potentially damaging to teeth and lips. A custom mouthguard will be more comfortable to wear over braces and will help prevent damage to the braces themselves.

Custom Mouthguards by Tender Smiles 4 Kids

If you’re interested in having a custom mouthguard made for your child, Tender Smiles 4 Kids can help. The process is easy and fast so that they will be ready for the upcoming sports season. Give your child the best possible protection for a lifetime of healthy teeth

Contact us at one of our 4 convenient offices to schedule a consultation:

Freehold Office: 732-625-8080

North Brunswick Office: 732-249-1010

Edison Office: 732-549-3773

Roselle Office: 908-245-5556