A gum shield is a custom made splint that is used to protect the teeth while participating in any activity where a blow to the mouth is possible.
It is almost always mandatory to wear a gum shield in contact sports such as rugby. The benefit of a custom made gum shield is that it fits snugly onto the top teeth and is not too large or small to fit into the mouth and jaws. Over the counter gum shields can be more difficult to keep in place as they are not as well fitted to the users teeth and jaw. Gum shields that are not held in place securely are not effective and while custom made gum shields are more costly than over the counter version, they are far less costly than the repair of broken teeth.
If new teeth grow in the mouth, or the shape of the mouth changes, it is wise to have a new gum shield made, to ensure maximum protection. This is particularly important for children who have not yet gotten all their adult teeth. A new gum shield every season is recommended for children.