Hockey Season Is Upon Us – Is Your Star Athlete Ready With Mouth Protection?

The New Year: Time to put away those holiday decorations, collect tax records and—if you’re a pro hockey player—get chummy with your dentist. That’s right! After a disrupted 2020 season due to COVID-19, the NHL is on track to start again sometime in January. Players will be hitting the biscuit (puck) while trying to avoid getting their chicklets (teeth) knocked out, and for that, mouth protection is required.

Hockey indeed has a roughhousing kind of reputation, which tends to lead to, among other things, chipped, fractured or knocked-out teeth. But to be fair, hockey isn’t the only sport with a risk for orofacial injuries. It’s not even top on the list: Basketball has the highest mouth and facial trauma incidence among all contact sports.

With over a half-million amateur and professional players, hockey still has its share of teeth, gum, and jaw injuries. Fortunately, an athletic mouthguard is an effective way to reduce sports-related oral trauma.


Although there are different styles, most mouthguards are made of soft plastic that helps cushion teeth against hard contact. You can sort most mouthguards into two categories: “boil and bite” and custom.

You can buy mouthguards in the first category online or in retail sporting goods stores, and they’re relatively inexpensive. They’re called “boil and bite” because they’re first immersed in hot or boiling water to soften them. While the guard is still soft, the wearer places it in their mouth and bites down to create somewhat of an individual fit. On the downside, though, “boil and bite” mouthguards tend to be bulky with a fit that isn’t as exact as it could be. This can make for uncomfortable wearing, which could tempt players not to wear them as often as they should for mouth protection. Also, because the materials are softer, they move with jaw movement, and your teeth can move with them. Over time, teeth could loosen.

Custom Made Mouthguard

A custom-made mouthguard, on the other hand, is created by a dentist. We begin the process with a detailed mouth impression, which we then use to fashion the mouthguard. Custom mouthguards are more streamlined and fit better than their “boil and bite” counterparts. Because of this better fit, players may be more apt to wear them. They are more expensive, but a custom mouthguard is a wise investment compared to the cost of dental injury treatment. For the best and most comfortable teeth, gum, and mouth protection, you can’t go wrong getting a custom mouthguard for the hockey players (as well as football and basketball players) in your family.

Please contact us or schedule a consultation if you want more information about athletic mouthguards. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards: One of the Most Important Parts of Any Uniform.”