Patients often use the term “mouthguard” to describe many different devices that range from a simple commercially available athletic guard to a sophisticated guard custom-made for a patient as a therapeutic device. In the dental profession, “mouthguard” typically refers to a resilient device that is worn on either the upper or lower teeth to protect the teeth from trauma during contact sports or any activity that might result in a blow to the mouth or jaw. There is also some indication that mouthguards may also help sports-related concussions.
There are three types of mouthguards typically used in sports activities: over-the-counter mouthguards which are available at athletic equipment stores, "boil and bite" mouthguards that are also commercially available and require some preparation by the patient, or custom-made mouthguards fabricated by your prosthodontist that will protect your teeth and adapt precisely to your teeth.
The American College of Prosthodontists maintains position statements on Mouthguard Use in Sports and the Role of Oral Devices in Managing Sleep-disordered Breathing Patients.