According to the American Association of Endodontists, mouthguards prevent about 20,000 oral injuries each year in the United States alone. Even though basketball may not “technically” be considered a contact sport, in reality, basketball players are twice as likely as football players to sustain oral injuries, as Family Dental Care reports. While there are a variety of mouthguard brands, there are three basic types: stock, boil-and-bite and custom mouthguards --- all offering varying degrees of protection.
Stock mouthguards are the least expensive of the three types. However, as Family Dental Care points out, stock mouthguards inhibit breathing and speech. They also tend to fit poorly and require the wearer to close their jaws to hold them in place. Boil-and-bite mouthguards -- also called mouth-formed protectors -- are mid-priced among the three mouthguard types and offer some degree of custom fit. After the boil-and-bite mouthguards are immersed in hot water and cooled, they mold to the teeth. However, they don’t fit as well as true custom-fit mouthguards, nor do they last as long. Custom mouthguards are specially designed for the wearer, and thus, they fit the best. They also last the longest among the three types; however, they are the most expensive.
According to the American Dental Association, the most effective mouthguard should be comfortable, durable and easy to clean and should not restrict breathing or speech. Custom mouthguards meet all the criteria. Also, Family Dental Care reports that custom mouthguards are better than stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards because they uniquely conform to your actual bite and tooth pattern and are made of more durable material.