Here at Brady Orthodontics, we treat quite a few patients who are active in sports at school or in the community. For this reason, we’re frequently asked how compatible braces are with athletes, or if players should expect to be stuck on the sidelines while they undergo orthodontic treatment. Are you getting braces and nervous about how they might affect you on the court or the field? Fortunately, this is one common concern that you don’t need to worry about!
As a braces patient, you’ll still be able to play any sport you normally do. However, you will have to be careful not to damage them. You’ll also need to take certain measures to protect your teeth and mouth from injury, especially if you play contact sports.
As we head into the heart of football, fall ball, and soccer season, this is the perfect time to talk about how you can keep your braces safe and your smile protected when participating in physical activities. Keep reading below for more information on how mouthguards protect your braces!
When it comes to protecting your braces and your teeth as an athlete, mouthguards are your best option. They’re simple to use, highly effective, and can help prevent damage from occurring even if you participate in high-contact sports like football and hockey. That’s not the only time you should wear them, though. Even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, and may cause small cuts or abrasions to your gums and cheeks, so mouthguards are perfect for light contact or low-impact sports, too!
If you regularly play sports while wearing braces, you may want to consider investing in an orthodontic mouthguard. Regular mouthguards provide some protection, but they tend to be made of thermoplastic, which will heat up in your mouth and mold to your teeth. This kind of mouthguard is unable to evolve with your teeth as they shift during treatment, so they can actually end up working against the straightening process. A regular mouthguard that has molded itself too snugly around the brackets can also cause problems if you’re hit hard during practice or a game. The impact could shift your appliance, and in some cases, knock the brackets off completely. This may result in extra orthodontic visits and a possible increase in the total treatment time.
Orthodontic mouthguards, on the other hand, are made from a high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This not only protects the brackets from any impact-related damage, it can also prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your braces! Orthodontic mouthguards are designed to fit over your braces, so tend to be slightly larger than regular mouthguards. They are just as comfortable to wear, though.
When you know the differences between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard, you’ll be able to make an informed decision based on your specific needs. The over-the-counter options listed below will provide effective protection for you and can meet all your basic mouthguard needs. That said, if you prefer the assurance and safety of a customized orthodontic mouthguard, Dr. Brady will be happy to help you!
Shock Doctor is well-known for producing some of the best orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Their products are generally made of 100% medical grade silicone that’s designed to conform to the upper brackets, and they are a very comfortable way to help reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. They also adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and have affordably priced options in both strapped and unstrapped styles.
For patients in braces who regularly participate in sports, mouthguards with a lip guard can be a huge plus. A lip guard will keep you from accidentally biting yourself, but won’t hinder your ability to speak clearly. The Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, so they may be a little bulkier than other models, but they’re still an inexpensive and lightweight option. These mouthguards do have a more generalized design, and are not made specifically for athletes in braces, something you may wish to take note of before purchasing one.
Tapout mouthguards are a newer style that is more diverse. Their mouthguards come with a distinct design that helps promote airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they will re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. These mouthguards adjust themselves based on your current bite, so they can be used by any athlete, whether they wear braces or not.
Just in case….
A custom-made orthodontic mouthguard is the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports! But even a basic mouthguard can help athletes avoid bleeding gums, broken brackets, or potentially fractured teeth. Please note that even with a mouthguard in, you should contact us as soon as possible if your mouth takes a direct hit while you’re in treatment. We’re always available if you’re experiencing an orthodontic emergency! Once we know what’s going on, Dr. Brady will be able to determine if you need to be seen for an emergency appointment or not.
Brady Orthodontics: helping you keep your smile safe
Mouthguards are an excellent investment in your oral health. Because they shield your teeth as they move into their new permanent positions, they also help protect the straightening process itself. Even though a custom-made mouthguard is ideal, we encourage you to wear any kind of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when participating in sports.
Dr. Brady and the rest of our expert team are here to provide you with a positive and stress-free orthodontic experience. That includes supporting you as an athlete! If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your smile safe on the field or court, get in touch with us any time. With a good mouthguard in place, you can play your favorite sports and keep your orthodontic treatment on track!