What to Know About Different Mouthguards and Their Uses

The smile is one of the first things people notice about others. If you have invested in braces, retainers, teeth whitening, and other procedures for keeping your pearly whites looking their best, you would want to protect it and ensure it lasts. Mouthguards give you that protection. They come in several types for different applications, and they ensure that your teeth are safe and straight. Here are different types of mouthguards and what you should know about them.

Acrylic Mouthguards

Acrylic mouthguards are light, rigid, and transparent, typically used for maintaining teeth position over long periods. This type of guard is for regular, everyday use, not for sports or intense physical activity. Often, acrylic mouthguards are clear, subtle, and less noticeable when worn. Dentists customize this type of mouthguard for each patient to ensure that it does the job.

Thermoplastic Mouthguards

Also known as boil-and-bite mouthguards, thermoplastic guards are available over-the-counter in dental supply stores or drugstores. Thermoplastic is firm and pliable, comes in different colors, and is typically around three to four millimeters thick. You can customize this type of mouthguard to an extent by heating it in water and allowing the wearer to bite on it. This re-molds the plastic to the wearer’s bite.

Thermoplastic mouthguards are the most affordable option if your goal is protection during casual sports games. However, keep in mind that fitted, custom sports mouthguards offer a higher level of protection. A downside to this type of guard is that they don’t offer a comfortable fit since they come pre-sized.

Laminate Mouthguards

This type of mouthguard is a multi-material guard and is of a higher quality than thermoplastic guards. Family dentists can customize laminate guards to the wearer’s teeth. Multi-material guards have different layers of varying firmness that provide pressure distribution, shock absorption, and a higher quality of protection against damaging forces.

Like thermoplastic, laminate comes in different color combinations and could even feature designs and patterns. Some wearers prefer to customize their mouthguards to show their personality.

Mouthguards for Sleep

Many people experience bruxism or the clenching of teeth during sleep. To provide relief, dentists prescribe nightguards that prevent patients from grinding their teeth. These mouthguards come in soft and hard variants—the soft kinds are usually hybrid types with an EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate surface, while the hard ones are acrylic. Wearing nightguards relieves headaches, reduces jaw soreness, and provides a barrier that mutes the sound of grinding teeth.

Mouthguards for Sports

Sports mouthguards consist of multiple layers of shock-absorbing materials that protect the teeth and jaw during aggressive physical activity. This type of mouthguard is a requirement in contact sports like hockey, boxing, martial arts, lacrosse, wrestling, and more.

Post-Orthodontic Mouthguards

Another reason why people might wear mouthguards is to preserve the results from orthodontic treatments. Post-orthodontic mouthguards are usually the clear and acrylic kind because the patient needs to wear them at all times. This kind of mouthguard is simple to remove, replace, clean, and incorporate into an existing dental hygiene routine.


Mouthguards help people protect their teeth and their alignment. People choose to wear mouthguards for different reasons, and these mouth appliances can be made out of acrylic, EVA, and other protective materials. Talk to your family dentist today if you’re considering having a custom-made mouthguard.

Visit Ivy Rose Family Dentistry for your dental needs. We provide cosmetic and restorative dental services in Mansfield, TX, including customizing mouth guards for TMJ, teeth grinding, and sports. Contact us today to learn more!