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Custom-Made vs Over-the-Counter: Which Sports Mouthguard is Best for You?

  • Post category:Dental Tips

Now that the school term has started, your kids will most likely also be starting their training and qualifying for their sports activities in sports clubs and school. When it comes to protecting your teeth and jaws, a mouthguard is something they will be required to wear, especially in any contact sport, such as rugby, football and netball.

But when it comes to choosing your mouthguard, you may be wondering which one to get: the Custom-Made or Over-the-Counter (Off-the-Shelf) mouthguard.

This article will explore the pros and cons of each type of mouthguard to help you choose the best one for you or your kids.

Off-the-shelf mouthguards come in different types:

  • Boil-and-bite, which are moulded to your mouth by heating up material and moulding it directly in your mouth.
  • Over-the-counter plastic mouthguards.

Fit, Comfort and Protection

The fit of a mouthguard is very important, as this affects comfort in the mouth, and most importantly, its protection for the teeth and jaws. An ill-fitting mouthguard can be ineffective in protecting the mouth, lips and teeth, which is its main purpose. Also, when a mouthguard does not fit well, it can cause ulcers and trauma to the gums, cheeks and lips when using it. What you also don’t want is for your mouthguard to fall out during a game!

Over-the-counter mouthguards usually come in a one size fits all. On the off chance, you might come across one that fits you well, but every mouth is different. Due to their bulky nature, they can be uncomfortable to wear and can affect breathing and bite. Also, because some of these require you to mould them into your mouth yourself, you may not do it effectively.

Custom mouthguards are made to the exact size and shape of your mouth and teeth. When it is being made, the dentist can identify the areas which need the most protection, and customise it to your sport. Because it is made to fit your mouth, it is going to be the most comfortable and protective for you.

Custom Mouthguard


Over-the-counter mouthguards are cheaper, so can have plastic materials that do not last long. You may find that they break or wear down quickly over a few months.

Custom mouthguards are made of higher quality materials, which are thicker and more protective. Because they are custom-made, multiple layers can be added depending on the type of sport you play.


Over-the-counter mouthguard pricing varies a lot depending on the brand and type. You can get them as cheap as $10, however, an average price to pay would be around the $15 – $60 range.

Custom-made mouthguards are priced higher due to all the properties discussed above: durability, comfort, fit and protection. On average, be willing to pay $80 and above depending on the material, colour and number of layers you choose. Also, your Private Health Insurance will usually cover most, if not, all of it every year.


With growing children, where jaws are changing and teeth are loose or falling out, mouthguards will not fit very long. In this case, you may want to consider an off-the-shelf mouthguard, which may need to be changed every few months (depending on their age).

However, depending on the type of sport and the time of development of the jaws, it may still be important to get a custom-made mouthguard. In this case, the dentist can add adjustments to the mouthguard to allow for the growth of the new teeth into the mouthguard. Do still expect the mouth guard to be replaced within 6 – 12 months.

Mouthguard Sunnybank Hills
Custom-made mouthguard


Over-the-counter mouthguards are abundant and easily available from the chemist, online, and even in Kmart. However, finding the one that fits may be difficult unless you open the package and try it out.

Custom-made mouthguards are made at the dentist by getting an exact mould or impression of your teeth and making the mouthguard that fits you. The mouthguard will usually be ready within 2-3 weeks. Sometimes, you might get the dentist visiting your sports club for your convenience.

In conclusion, although over-the-counter mouthguards may be more cost-effective, custom-made mouthguards offer the best value due to their comfort, maximum protection, and durability. Want to know more about custom-made mouthguards or our pricing options? Feel free to call us on 07 3188 9477 and we will be happy to help.

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At Aperture Dental we want to make sure that your child’s experience is a positive one. With care and patience at the forefront of our minds, we are confident your little one will be looking forward to seeing our kids dentist for their yearly checkup!