I have always enjoyed sports and exercise, but I have grown bored with my workouts lately. For a change of pace, I am actually considering boxing. I don’t really want to fight, but I do want to train. If I give it a try, I’ll probably have to buy some equipment – boxing gloves, a heavy bag, a speed bag, and a mouthguard. So this week’s Ask Dr. Geier column on wearing a mouthguard in sports is not only appropriate for athletes in a variety of sports, but the answer potentially helps me as well!

A concerned physician asks:

Although it’s not orthopedic-related, we would so appreciate guidance/direction regarding protection from dental injuries in sports. Our son plays basketball, and we’ve read about the PlaySafe mouthguard (@$300!) at the dentist. We had already purchased a ShockDoctor mouthguard ($20), which carries a warranty. They’ would pay up to $10,000 of dental care if a dental injury happens while wearing it.

Thank you for your time!

Mouthguard in sports
Maybe a custom mouthguard would have helped this soccer player.

I honestly am not an expert on dental injuries or injury prevention. I posed this question to J. Mark Barry, DDS, MBA. Dr. Barry helped with my post about initial treatment when an athlete has a tooth knocked out in sports, and that posts was very popular.

Like I cannot and will not endorse specific products, I do not think that his answer endorses or rejects a specific brand. This is Dr. Barry’s response to the reader’s question about a mouthguard in sports:

“My opinion on athletic mouthguards is similar to night guards use to protect patients from the destructive effects of clenching and grinding. An athletic mouthguard fabricated by a dentist is better because it is custom made from an impression of the patient’s dentition. A store bought athletic mouthguard is adequate but not as good because it does not fit the athlete’s dentition.”