BACKGROUND: Orthodontic patients wearing fixed appliances are susceptible to traumatic dental injuries during contact-sport. This laboratory study investigated the protective qualities of orthodontic mouthguards using impact-testing to a typodont fitted with a fixed appliance through peak load transfer and retention of the mouthguard. METHODS: Seven orthodontic mouthguards [three custom-made (Medium-CM, Heavy-CM, Heavy-pro-CM); three commercially-available mouth-formed (Shock-Doctor® Ultra Braces, Opro® Ortho-Gold Braces, Opro® Ortho-Bronze Braces) and a Shock-Doctor® Instant-Fit] were fitted to a maxillary arch typodont bonded with a fixed appliance and impact-tested using 0.5 or 1 Joule (J) energy via hockey-ball, cricket-ball or steel-ball projectile. A load-cell recorded peak load transfer through mouthguard to typodont with retention scored in a binary manner dependent upon any displacement following impact. Differences across mouthguards were calculated with ANOVA or Kruskal-Wallis test for normal and non-normal data, respectively. Post hoc comparisons across mouthguards were conducted via Dunnett's test with Sidak correction. RESULTS: Only the three custom-made and Opro® Ortho-Gold Braces were not displaced by impact-testing. For these, Opro® Ortho-Gold Braces transferred the smallest load for 3/6 impact-tests, followed by Medium-CM. Heavy-pro-CM performed poorly, ranking penultimate or worst for all impact-tests. Significant differences were found between mouthguards for cricket-ball and steel-ball set-ups. The Opro® Ortho-Gold Braces performed better than the Heavy and Heavy-pro-CM for 0.5 J cricket-ball impact-test (P < 0.05), whilst Medium-CM performed better than Heavy-pro-CM. For 1 J cricket-ball, there were significant differences between Medium-CM and Heavy-pro-CM (P < 0.05). For 0.5 J steel-ball, the Medium-CM performed significantly better than both Heavy-pro-CM and Opro® Ortho-Gold Braces (P < 0.05), whilst Heavy-CM performed better than the Heavy-pro-CM (P < 0.05). For the 1 J steel-ball, Medium and Heavy-CM performed better than Opro® Ortho-Gold Braces (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Opro® Ortho-Gold and Medium-CM mouthguards offer the best protection for low-impact sports, whilst Medium or Heavy-CM mouthguards are recommended for high-impact sport.