Here at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, many of our patients are active in sports and other physical activities. Whether they play for their schools or in their communities, one question that comes up quite often is if braces treatment will sideline them for the season. If you’re an athlete, you have similar concerns about playing sports while wearing braces, or if you’ll even be able to play at all!
While this is a very common concern, it’s also one that’s unfounded! You can continue to play any sport you like while undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, it’s necessary to take some extra precautions in order to protect your teeth and your braces. To learn more about how you can keep your mouth safe while playing sports in braces, keep reading below!
Wearing a mouthguard
When it comes to protecting your teeth when you’re on the field or court, mouthguards are the absolute best way to do so. They’re easy to use and have proven to be highly effective, even when participating in high-contact sports like football and hockey. We encourage our patients to wear mouthguards for low-impact sports, too, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, causing small cuts and abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.
If you plan on playing sports during your braces treatment, you should consider investing in an orthodontic mouthguard. While standard mouthguards will provide some protection, they’re usually made of a thermoplastic that heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth. This means your mouthguards can’t evolve with your teeth as they shift, which can end up working against your braces. This can actually interrupt the straightening process.
Not only that, but a regular mouthguard that’s molded too snugly around your brackets could shift them or even knock them off completely if you were to sustain a hard enough hit. This can lead to additional orthodontic visits or an increase in your total treatment time.
Orthodontic mouthguards, however, are made from a high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and prevents them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps to protect the brackets from impact-related damage and prevent painful scenarios, such as your lip getting caught in your braces (it’s exactly as bad as it sounds!) Orthodontic mouthguards tend to be slightly bulkier than standard models, but they’re just as comfortable to wear!
Once you understand the differences between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic model, you’ll be able to make the best choice for your personal lifestyle and what you need it for. These over-the-counter options are perfect for providing protection and meeting all of your basic needs.
Shock Doctor is a well-known brand and commonly considered to produce some of the best orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Since they are made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they are very comfortable, and help reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards effectively adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and are affordably priced and feature both strapped and unstrapped styles.
For patients in braces who regularly participate in sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself, but do not hinder your ability to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they are still an inexpensive, lightweight option. Remember, however, that this brand has a more generalized design, and is not made specifically for athletes in braces.
Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style with a unique design that promotes airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they will re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. Because they are meant to adjust based on your current bite, they can be used by athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.
Injuries that can occur while playing sports in braces
Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, a direct hit to your mouth while you’re wearing braces deserves attention. If you experience this, we encourage you to reach out to our office right away! We’ll be able to assess the situation and Dr. Chiang will determine if we should schedule you for an emergency appointment or not. Keep in mind that wearing a mouthguard is the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while you’re playing sports! An orthodontic model is definitely preferred, but even a basic mouthguard will help protect you from any potential damage that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.
Protect your perfect smile with Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics
If you’re planning on playing sports during your orthodontic treatment, a mouthguard is an excellent investment. They’ll help protect your teeth as they move into their new positions, while also protecting the straightening process itself! We encourage every single one of our patients to wear a mouthguard – even a standard model – over not wearing one at all when participating in sports or other physical activities.
Whether you’re a current patient or are just looking to start your smile transformation, we understand being nervous about the impact braces will have on your ability to play sports. We’re here to give you peace of mind! Our team is happy to answer any questions and talk through any concerns regarding your braces treatment. With Dr. Chiang, mouthguard protection, and the skilled team at Brilliant Smiles Orthodontics, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!