Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard Review
The Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard is my favourite mouthguard when training and competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I have been using this mouthguard for more than three years and in that time I have taken some serious whacks (Thank you spazzy white belts). It is thanks to the Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard that I have a full set of healthy teeth. This Shock Doctor mouthguard review is unbiased and based on a product I purchased several years ago. I hope you may find useful when choosing a mouthguard for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (or grappling in general).
Introduction to the Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
Shock Doctor is one of the industry leaders in mouthguard technology and also has a keen interest in sports protection and performance around the world. They claim that their products are worn by hundreds of professional and college athletes and are available in more than 10,000 retail locations. The original version of the Gel Max was introduced in 2002. So it is reasonable to assume that the brand and its product are pretty well established.
The Gel Max – as its name suggests – has (according to Shock Doctor) a “Gel-fit lining technology”. It provides an extra level of comfort especially when being worn for long periods such as several BJJ classes or weekend open mats. The mouthguard has a triple-layered design which really does make a difference to absorbing the impact of a stray elbow or knee. Also worth mentioning is that the Shock Doctor Gel Max comes with a $35000 dental warranty. This suggests that the product – which is nearly 20 years old now – is quality and fit for purpose.
Who is it for?
The Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard is suitable for all impact sports where a mouth guard is required or recommended. This includes American football, basketball, lacrosse, hockey, football, wrestling, boxing, and so on. However, my Shock Doctor Mouthguard review is based solely on its use when training and competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu so bear that in mind if you play other sports. The low price point makes this accessible for the budget conscious and those who are brand new to the sport and still unsure if BJJ is going to be a long term commitment.
The Shock Doctor Gel Max is a mouthguard which I have personally bought and used for the last few years. When starting in BJJ as a fresh white belt, I was completely new to contact sports and martial arts and – unsurprisingly – completely clueless when trying to figure out what equipment I needed to help me with getting started in BJJ (note: I wrote an article on Getting Started in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, feel free to have a read and let me know what you think!). A mouthguard was way down the list of my priorities, I was far more concerned with how to tie my belt properly and not completely gassing out during the warm up. However, a stray knee from a training partner during triangle drilling left me bloody, dazed and in no doubt that I need a mouthguard ASAP!
After spending what seemed like hours scouring the internet for reviews and advice on which mouthguard is recommended, I decided that I would go for the Shock Doctor Gel Max which I found on Amazon for £11.99 and free delivery. The 1000+ 4 and 5 star rated feedback was the icing on the cake on top of safety features, dental warranty and attractive price point.
What does it come with?
The mouthguard comes with a clear plastic carry case and a convertible tether which the consumer can use as an attachment to their helmet in sports like Ice Hockey and American Football. It also comes with manufacturer warranty information and detailed instructions on how to fit the mouthguard.
Fitting the Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
The Shock Doctor Gel Max is a ‘boil and bite’ type of mouthguard, which means that you need to spend a few minutes to go through the fitting process.
For those unfamiliar with the fitting process, this requires submerging the mouthguard in recently boiled water to heat the material to a temperature point where it becomes malleable. Once a suitable temperature has been achieved, the consumer aligns the centre of the mouthguard with the middle of their front teeth and ‘bites’ into it. Using their fingers they then press firmly into the mouthguard at the same time as clenching their jaw in a biting action.
This process ensures that the mouthguard moulds itself to the owners individual dental composition. When satisfied with the fit, the mouthguard can be pulled out and run under cold tap water for about 30 seconds, after which the mouthguard is ready to be tested. I followed these steps and it took two or three attempts before I was comfortable with the fit. And I have never had to do this again in more than three years of hard, daily usage.
My Experience with the Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
From a comfort perspective the Shock Doctor Gel Max could be considered fairly clunky. If you are taking part in a sport or activity which requires some degree of verbal communication then you are probably more likely to need a more streamlined custom solution. This is not an issue for me as I can 100% focused on not getting crushed on the mats and use the mouthguard as a layer of protection for my crippling social awkwardness. The gel-fit lining technology feels comfortable and gives an additional element of absorption when the outer layer is impacted. The mouthguard has never once dislodged itself or felt like it would slip out of place; this is partly due to the gel-fit lining being robustly moulded around the owners set of teeth during the fitting process.
The Shock Doctor Gel Max mouthguard has been a lifesaver for me on more occasions that I can keep count over the years. Accidental elbows, kicks, headbutts, knees…in fact it would probably be easier for me to list parts of the body which have not smashed into my face at one point or another during my BJJ training and competing. Coming with a $35000 dental warranty cover, Shock Doctor have put their money where their mouth is and stand by their product which is commendable, although I have not come close to testing this claim as the mouthguard has given me enough protection to not require their aftersales support.
The only disappointing element which stands out for me is that the clear plastic protection case is rather flimsy. One of the two clips which are used to keep the case closed has snapped off, and both of the hinges of the case have also broken apart, which means that the case can’t be kept closed any more. I have had to use a small tupperware box in place of the case to prevent my mouthguard bouncing around my gym bag so bear this in mind if you will be carrying the mouthgard too and from the gym. Shock Doctor do offer a more robust solution as a standalone product which actually looks pretty cool, but it would have been nice for the requirement for an upgraded protective case to not exist in the first place.
Where to buy?
You can purchase the Shock Doctor Gel Max using the link below.
Alternatives to the Shock Doctor Gel Max Mouthguard
There are alternatives on the market – for example the Sisu Aero Mouth Guard which several of my team are very happy with and has a slimmer design which makes communication easier and would benefit the more sociable grapplers out there. There is also an option to have a custom built protective mouthguard through your dentist although this will be the most expensive option.
To conclude this review, I am very happy with the Shock Doctor Gel Max and have recommended it to my teammates and in the r/bjj – the BJJ channel of Reddit. This mouthguard will be an effective solution for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners of all levels and experience who are looking for a robust, dependable and comfortable mouthguard which exceeds expectations at such an attractive price point.
Note that this review is my personal experience of this product, my site receives compensation from the companies of the products I review. This site is independently owned by myself and all opinions are my own.
What do you think of the Shock Doctor Mouthguard review? Please feel free to comment with your feedback and alternate recommendations!