Obviously, BJJ is a grappling sport so the aim isn’t to hit or get hit in the head, But accidents do happen and a mouthguard can help prevent both injury and an expensive trip to the dentist. I’ve always worn a mouthguard, partly because I transitioned from Muay Thai so it just been something I’ve always done. However, mine is now over ten years old so I thought it was about time I treated myself to a new one. However, I know that boil and bites don’t work well for me so I thought I’d try Funky Gums and a custom made option (plus hubby was ordering one anyway!)
Funky Gums is a local company (well based in Cumbria which is the North West of England) and is ran by Andrew Pattinson RDT, DipCdtRCS(ENG) (a qualified clinical dental technician). The site offers a range of mouthguards and designs but I opted for a custom text Super Heavy Spartan Guard which other than sounding tough its a4 layer laminated guard with 1 mm hard insert covering the entire upper arch, approximately 4mm thick, giving at least 55% more impact absorption than a boil and bite mouth guard. Ideally for any accidental knees, feet or any other body part to the head.
The first part of the ordering process is really easy. The initial order is done online via their website by selecting the colour, mouthguard type and any extras you want. It’s then a question of fill in the text boxes with the exact details of your text including any font or layout needs. If you ordering a graphic design you can also upload your image.
Once you’ve checked out and paid a few days later you receive your impression kit through the post. This was the bit I was dreading. One of the main reasons I struggle with anything but a custom guard is that I have a strong gag reflex when fitting these things! I’ll be honest my first attempt was a disaster and the impression wasn’t a good enough quality. However funky gums gave great customer service and let us know promptly and sent a replacement kit. The second attempt was after studying the instructions carefully and watching their video guide. The only slight difference was only using around 3/4 of the putty to prevent my gag reflect spoiling the impression.
A week or so after posting our impressions we got an email confirming our guards had been made and would be receiving them soon. We also gave permission for images of our guards to be posted on Instagram so we also got a sneak peek via social media. A couple of days after that they arrived.
In terms of design, the finished project is exactly as I requested and as the social media pictures showed. In terms of fit, I did find the gum shield is thicker than my previous model and that it covered more of teeth and gums. The main difference I experience was that it was incredibly snug. To the point where I need to use both hands to help break the seal, it had made in my mouth to get it out! It definitely took me a couple of sessions to get used to it but I have no happily rolled in it during a mixture of classes including competition class with no problems.
A custom fitted gum shield isn’t as exciting as a new gi but it is a grappling essential! Mine is one of their more expensive models (£89) but if it lasts for anywhere near as long as my last one (10 years) then it’s a great investment piece! If you are considering getting one I would definitely recommend Funky Gums. A great quality item with supportive customer services.