Stock mouth guards are available at most sporting goods stores. They are not form fitted and are bulky. They also may interfere with speech and breathing. They may not be as effective because they move around.

A better option than stock is the "boil and bite" type of mouth guards. These are available at most sporting goods stores. The wearer must soften the mouth guard by placing it in boiling water and then bite down on the material. This type of mouth guard offers
a better fit and more protection than the stock variety. The wearer should follow manufacturer's instructions for the best fit and use.

The custom-fitted mouth guards are the best option and are made at base dental clinics. They require two short dental clinic visits for proper sizing and fitting. Custom-fitted mouth guards can be trimmed to keep any bulk to a minimum, especially for patients who have a sensitive gag reflex. They also offer the best protection, fit and comfort without interfering with speech or breathing.

-- Dr. (Maj.) Daniel Palazzolo
359th Dental Squadron