What hockey gum shields do you use and why?
I’d had the same gum shield for four seasons (eugh I know) but unfortunately forgot to take it out of my hockey skirt during a hot wash. It emerged as a gluey mess attached to the fabric of the skirt.
Time for a new one then. But it’s not as easy as it seems to find a comfortable, well-fitting gum shield.
I bought an Opro http://www.opro.com/ silver gum shield. It all looks impressive. There’s a special key thing to keep the air holes open while you are moulding it and help you get it out of the hot water more easily. But it didn’t fit well and I don’t like it. I followed the instructions to the letter – with perfect timings. But still found the gum guard loose and uncomfortable, especially at the top of the front. It seems too loose and threatens to fall out the whole time – not what you need in the middle of a match.
So I’ve now opted for a shock doctor Gel Max guard https://www.shockdoctor.com/gel-max-mouthguard://. It’s more tricky to mould than the Opro but I much prefer the final result. The gel seems thicker and moulded round my teeth better. When I take it out now I almost feel as if it’s going to pull out my teeth – which has to be the sign of a tight fit. In comparison, the Opro falls out far more easily.
The Shock Doctor doesn’t look as good. I’ve got the black and blue version which isn’t a good look to be honest. I prefer the pink Opro. But for performance and ability to speak while it’s in the Shock Doctor is winning every time.
Field Hockey Forum http://www.fieldhockeyforum.com/threads/gumshield-review.2958/ has lots of discussion on gum shields.
Scroll down the page a bit on the above link and you’ll find an post from a dentistry student recommending dentist custom-fitted guards. (Well I guess you can argue that they would say they’re best wouldn’t they).
Anyway, this post says that these are vacuum formed exactly to your teeth, cover les of your palate and fit much better which tends to make them feel more comfortable. You can also breathe and talk better with them in. They are also balance against your lower teeth so won’t dislodge as easily. But they are a lot more expensive. Ask your dentist for more information – and they will probably advise you to have one. (But again they would wouldn’t they.)
I’d love to hear from anybody with experience of a custom fitted one and whether they found it superior in fit and performance.
Finally, here’s a link to a specialist gum shield online shop. I’ve not used them personally – and they haven’t paid me to be on here – but i thought this looked worth checking out. It looks as if they offer an at-home service for a custom fit guard where you take an impression of your own teeth at home then send it off.
The Mouthguard Shop
Finally a tip on fitting gumshields from Total Hockey that seems sensible. Get the temperature up in your mouth before you put the heated gum shield in. Take a few sips of hot tea or a hot drink and then the moulding process is more effective.