Bit of a different post, this time. I came across a company called Protech Dent, part of Akervall Technologies. The good folks at Akervall Technologies sent me a few of their Protech Dent mouth guards to review.
As a hockey player, mouth guards are something that I’ve began to obsess over. Playing as an 18 year old and moving to a half visor, I felt that a mouth guard was an essential piece of protection. But I have not found one that truly fits and I have tried them all. I have tried ones that you can pick up from your supermarket’s sports department, I have tried ones from Shock Doctor, Reebok and very expensive ones, but I have not found one that fits and feels comfortable.
Many would recommend that I visit a dentist to get one custom made, but there is such a huge cost of those in this country it simply isn’t feasible. So onto Protech Dent then:
What came out of the box was somewhat surprising. Where normally when you buy a mouth guard, you would receive one that has the usual shape, but not with Protech Dent. Protech dent in its base form is actually a 1.6mm ‘disc’ and my first thought was, there is no way this will fit or work. The material looks quite flimsy and carries no bulk. The product promises that it will create a snug fit and will protect your teeth because the material is harder than conventional mouth guards.
The moulding process is much the same as other mouth guards. You heat it in water and wait till the material turns clear. After that it is a simple case of fitting it in your mouth and moulding it according to your teeth. Once the product returns to its original colour your mouth guard is complete.
I found the fitting process simple. My previous mouthguard, Reebok Smart Mouth, was overall a messy process with the putty ending up everywhere and I remember spitting chunks of blue goo out of my mouth nearly a week after I had fitted it. Additionally with the Smart Mouth, the material would not stick properly and would come off in use. Further to the fore mentioned mouth guards, I’ve often found that during the moulding process the edges and the outer surface of the mouth guards can become rough and, at least in my case, have caused mouth ulcers due to the sharp and rough edges cutting my lip from the inside.
I have to admit that once the Protech Dent mouth guard had finished I was even more surprised. The flimsy 1.6mm disc did turn into a mouth guard that was truly unique to my teeth. The material was harder than others I have used, including Shock Doctor, Reebok and Itech to mention but a few.
However, on a negative side, I find that the snug fit that the brochures and fitting instructions promise, is a bit too snug. Where the mouth guard fits nicely around my teeth, it takes a while to take the mouth guard out of your mouth. This might be because I have sustained dental damage from cross checks and high sticks in the past so my teeth tend to be a bit sensitive to pulling it out.
However, when I compared the ability to speak, breathe whilst skating, drinking in between drills/shifts with the Reebok Smart Mouth, the Protech Dent one was the clear winner in all categories. I was speaking with ease and clearly and the mouth guard was not falling off its place. It didn’t hinder my breathing and I actually felt that I’m getting the same performance as I would do as playing without a mouth guard. The ones I’ve used from Reebok and Shock Doctor feel like I’m losing an edge because the size of the mouth guard limits the breathing and air intake, leaving me gasping for air a lot sooner. So another HUGE plus to the Protech column.
I think the more important thing I’ve found out is that the mouth guard matches the marketing collateral word for word and does what it says on the tin. The fit is indeed snug, though as I said, I find it a bit TOO snug, the material is light weight and sturdy, it helps your performance because it is easy to breathe with it and speak so guys know you are calling for a pass or telling them to keep their heads up. All in all with Protech Dent, it feels like you are not wearing a mouth guard at all.
The only test I did not carry out was to see how good it is at absorbing impact and to be honest, I don’t think any sane person would freely take a shot or a stick in the face. However when worn during a game, I did get punched in the mouth when screening the goalie and I’m happy to say that I didn’t sustain any dental damage and I scored from the situation, so there.
I would warmly recommend this mouth guard to any hockey player, both pro and amateur or to anyone involved in contact sports or martial arts.
You can buy the mouth guards through http://www.protechguard.com
By the numbers:
Ease of use and fitting: 5/5
Fit: 4/5 (only because I find it difficult to take out)