Mouth Guards

A Properly Fitted Mouthguard

An athletic mouthguard is a resilient device or appliance placed inside the mouth to reduce injuries particularly to the teeth and surrounding structures.
For optimal safety and well-being of athletes competing in the 21st Century, the Academy for Sports Dentistry has adopted the position that the single word “mouthguard” must be replaced by the term “a properly fitted custom mouthguard”.

In contact sports, it is critical that the mouthguard provides protection from direct and indirect impact. It must fit accurately, stay in position during impact, and redistribute the impact’s energy. The criteria for the fabrication or adaptation of a properly fitted mouthguard must include the following considerations:

    1 Pertinent Medical History
    2 Dental Status that considers:
        a.  Dental Caries
        b.  Periodontal Status
        c.  Developmental Occlusion
        d.  Orthodontic or Prosthodontic Appliances
        e.   Congenital/Pathologic Conditions
        f.  Jaw Relationships
    3 Demographic Factors
    4 Type of Sport Played

The fitting of a mouthguard is best accomplished under the supervision or direction of a dentist. The athlete and/or parents should always be advised of the special design for the “properly fitted mouthguard,” and the end product should have the following properties and considerations:
  • It should be fabricated to adequately cover and protect both the teeth in the arch, and the surrounding tissues.
  • The mouthguard should be fabricated and properly fitted and worn on the leading arch of the athlete. This is the most protruding arch, which is more likely to incur the greatest forces.
  • It should be fabricated on a model of the patient’s teeth made from an impression of the athlete.
  • It should be fabricated on a stone model or imaged model taken from an impression of the athlete.
  • Adequate thickness in all areas to provide for the reduction of impact forces. In particular, a minimum of 3mm thickness in the occlusal/labial area.
  • It should have a seated equilibrated occlusion that is balanced for even occlusal contact. This helps to provide for the ideal absorption of impact energy.
  • A fit that is retentive and not dislodged on impact.
  • Speech considerations equal to the demands of the playing status of the athlete.
  • It should be fabricated using FDA approved materials.
  • The properly fitted custom mouthguard should be routinely and professionally examined for fit and function. The frequency of routine inspection is dependent on factors such as the athlete’s age, the demand for the sport that the athlete is engaged in, and the willingness for the athlete to properly care for the appliance. The frequency of the inspection should be determined by the dental professional for each individual situation and athlete.
Approved by the Academy for Sports Dentistry Board of Directors Updated: 06/19/2019

Academy for Sports Dentistry Position Statement on the use of Mouthguards and other Oral Appliances for the Prevention of Concussion and Enhancement of Strength and Performance
The Academy for Sports Dentistry supports continued validated scientific research on the issues of concussion injury reduction and performance enhancement by athletes wearing properly fitted and properly worn mouthguards.  ASD is aware of newly published research suggesting that a properly fitted mouthguard with a thickness of 3.0+ mm in the posterior the occlusal area might reduce the incidence of concussion injury when trauma is delivered to the athlete, but is not as yet ready to support or refute the conclusion.
 Approved by the Academy for Sports Dentistry Board of Directors July 19, 2015

Mouthguard Mandates

The Academy for Sports Dentistry recommends the use of properly fitted Custom mouthguards. It encourages the use of a custom-fabricated mouthguard made over a dental cast and delivered under the supervision of a dentist. The ASD recommends that athletes wear Custom Mouthguards to participate in over forty sports. These sports include but are not limited to both collision and contact sports.

In an effort to properly protect all athletes' oral and facial health, the ASD strongly supports and encourages a mandate by the governing bodies of these sports for the use of a properly fitted Custom Mouthguard in all collision and contact sports.

Approved by the Academy for Sports Dentistry Board of Directors Updated: 06/19/19

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