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Case Study: Moulded Mouth Guards

The importance of having a good mouth-guard if you are playing a sport cannot be discounted, they save your teeth, and have something to do with concussion prevention as well (although their relative value in this area has been disputed), and most (if not all) minor sport organization make it mandatory for your kids to have this kind of protection (certainly for hockey, rugby and football).

When I was a kid you went to Canadian Tire, bought a mouthguard which you then would put in boiling water, wait a few seconds, put it in your mouth (hopefully not burning the roof off your mouth) and the mouthguard moulded somewhat to your mouth.

These days, that is not sufficient for our kids, today we need to get a better fitted mouthguard, so we go to our dentist to get it. The first time I did this for my daughter it cost $70, and I found out it is in NO WAY covered by my dental coverage. I figured I wasn’t going to have to do this very often, so a one time cost was fine, however, I was mistaken.  That mouthguard wore out, it was replaced, and it was then lost and replaced and thanks to my daughter breaking her capped tooth, a new mouthguard was needed (the new cap did not fit into the mouth-guard correctly).

Our rugby club sent out a notice saying that a “service” was going to come and do mouthguards for $50. My wife and I decided this was something to investigate, so off my wife and daughter went to get a new mouthguard. What did they learn?

  • The mouth-guard is the same as the one used by Dentists, however, it is being set up by a Dental Hygienist (in fact all the work is done by the Hygienist, the dentist simply has this happening in their office).
  • The new Dental Schedule, has mouth-guards costing $190 (again not covered by dental plans), which may or may not be true (I can’t confirm that one).
  • This is a cut throat business, since this “service” was formerly 2 people, they dissolved their partnership, and the other partner called By-Law Enforcement for this “fitting” as well (just a side note).

So here we see free enterprise at work: Dentists attempting to make LOTS of money off a new product line, and entrepreneurs with some expertise (i.e. dental technicians) seeing the opportunity and thus undercutting the dentists.

Soft Mouth Guard
Soft Mouth Guard

I await the counter-salvo from the dental community stating that if you don’t get your form-fitted mouth-guard from an accredited Dentist, you are putting your life (or worse your kids’ lives) in danger!

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