A few years ago I suffered several injuries to the jaw while working on my guard-pass and being on the receiving end of some knees and elbows. Despite the pain I did't get myself a mouthguard and kept on as usual. A few weeks later I made another mistake and refused to tap from a nasty RNC being applied over my jaw. So committed was my opponent to pulling my head off with the RNC the back end of my jaw pulled in and bruised the cartilage surrounding my inner ear. I suffered from 'benign positional vertigo' for several days which means at certain angles I would lose all sense of balance and collapse to the floor, head spinning and prone to nausea. I couldn't read, work at the computer and I certainly could not train. Besides the trauma to the alignment of my jaw which is permanent, the impact that I had received from these elbows, knees and RNC would cause headaches.

Convinced I needed to get protective gear I went about searching online and bought a name brand boil'n'bite with a nice case and fancy colors. It took a few weeks to arrive from the US and was all excited to get this going. I followed the instructions and got my fitted mouthguard. Unfortunately for me it was hard to keep the mouthguard in place and certain parts would irritate my gums. I kept at it for a few weeks but couldn't manage to make it through a few sessions without spitting it out. While I gave up on this one I still knew I had to get something and during a trip to the US I bought a cheapo version thinking it couldn't be any worse than the first one. Basically the second one made it hard to breath without the damn thing falling out. In the end I approached my dentist to make me one which took a good 20 minutes explaining what I needed it for, why and what the hell jiu-jitsu was. By the end of it I told him I do Judo and he seemed to be happy with that. The custom mouthguard I received from my dentist worked great but but after some heavy wear/tear it was time for a new one. 

I could have gone back to my dentist and got another fitting but I thought there should be a more practical option made by those that understand the needs of BJJ/Grappling/MMA fighters. In the US there are plenty of companies that provide these services but it didn't seem feasible to receive and ship impressions overseas, making the costs huge. That is when I came across Phuket based company KOMBAT MOUTHGUARDS. These guys have been working with Muay Thai and MMA fighters for some time now with 100% custom work from the fitting to the artwork. In fact, I am in the process of having my own custom mouthguard made for me in time for the 2010 Thailand Open. Which by the way is where you can find the folks at KOMBAT MOUTHGUARDS with their own table. They will be there to take impressions on site.

I will be sharing my experience with making a custom mouthguard on BJJ-ASIA. 

***All competitors at the 2010 Thailand Open will receive a voucher for 20% discount for their own custom mouthguard and can be fitted on site. 

Below are pics I took after receiving my impression kit through the mail.

Received the kit within a couple of days after making my order online.

All the parts included in the kit. There are 3x tray sizes to choose from and 2x sets of impression material.

You have about 20 seconds to mix to the two parts together, complete making it the orange color. Fit within the tray and bite down making sure all your teeth are covered. The tray stays in for about 1-2 minutes as the impression material sets and hardens. It takes a little work getting the tray loosened from your teeth but a perfect mold should come from this. Should you mess up the first time, you have the back-up material to start all over with again.

So now that I've made my impression and shipped this back to their Phuket offices, I will soon received my new custom made mouthguard. If you check out their site or facebook page you'll see the huge variety of graphics people have chosen to adorn their mouthguard. I thought I'd go with fangs or something macho but in the end I picked hot pink! Yes, no one will mistake my mouthguard for theirs, hahaha. So when it arrives, I will provide a write-up of my experience. -Luke

Mouthguards & Concussions

The single most important value of a mouthguard is the concussion saving effect  following impact to the mandible (lower jaw). Ninety-five percent of all fIghting concussions are transmitted through the mandible to the brain. Therefore, the use of athletic mouthguards should be encouraged in all contact sports.

Mouthguards serve as a shock absorber to prevent concussions and brain injuries. With the proper thickness of 3 to 5mm between the teeth, mouthguards reduce the rate of a concussion by preventing the condyle (lower jaw hinge) from being forced into the base of the brain (temporal bone) at impact.

Besides protecting against concussions and brain injuries, mouthguards also protect against neck injuries. Lastly, mouthguards protect the teeth by distributing the force of a blow over all of the teeth ultimately diminishing contact between the mandible (lower jaw) and the maxilla (upper jaw).

More Than A Mouthful

An athlete who does not wear a mouthguard can be susceptible to a concussion or jaw injury. A properly fitted mouthguard can cushion a blow to the mouth area and can help prevent such injuries.

Sport Dentistry Facts
Dental injuries are the most common type of orofacial injury sustained during participation in sports. The majority of these injuries are preventable by wearing a KOMBAT Mouthguard.
Every athlete involved in a contact sport has about 50%  chance per season of an orofacial injury. Every professional athlete has a 35-56% chance of sustaining such an injury during their athletic career.

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out each year during sport-related activities. This can help be prevented by wearing an athletic mouthguard.

An athlete is sixty times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when not wearing a protective mouthguard.

The cost of a fractured tooth is many times greater than the cost of a dentist diagnosed and professionally designed mouthguard.

The cost to replant a tooth and follow up dental treatment can run costly.

A properly fitted mouthguard reduces the chance of the athlete sustaining a concussion from a blow to the jaw.


Ben W. said...

Nice stuff.

Though I must say I was a little surprised about the "Chinese Bird" Design on their facebook, which to me looks like the UCK flag (Kosovo Liberation Army).. haha..

Ray Elbe said...

I wear a Kombat Mouth Guard when I fight---as do all the Tiger Muay Thai fighters.

It fits so perfectly into your mouth---that I forget to take it out at when the round ends :)