Here at Bluebird Orthodontics, we see many patients who are involved in sports, whether it’s for their school or in their community. One common concern we see with athletes beginning orthodontic treatment is that their braces will leave them sidelined for the season. If you’ve been putting off orthodontic treatment for this very reason, our team is here to put your mind at ease!
While this concern is one we hear quite often, it’s also an unfounded one! You can continue playing any sport you’d like during your orthodontic treatment. However, there are some additional precautions you’ll need to take in order to protect your braces, teeth, and gums. To find out more about how you can continue to play sports while straightening your smile, keep reading below!
Wearing a mouthguard
There’s no doubt that mouthguards are the absolute best way to protect your teeth and braces when you’re on the field or court. They’re easy to use and provide excellent protection for your mouth even during high-contact sports like football and hockey. Dr. Frank encourages all of her braces patients to wear mouthguards, even for low-impact sports, warm-ups, and practice, since even a small amount of pressure can cause irritation and cuts on the inside of your mouth.
One of the best investments you can make if you plan on playing sports during your treatment is an orthodontic mouthguard. While regular mouthguards do provide some protection, they’re made of a rigid material called thermoplastic that will heat up in your mouth and form snugly around your teeth. This can be dangerous for your brackets since they can get stuck in this material, or even knocked off the teeth completely, which can require additional visits to Dr. Frank and extended treatment times.
On the other hand, orthodontic mouthguards are made from a high-grade silicone that gives the lips an added layer of cushion, keeping them from rubbing against your teeth and braces. This helps protect the brackets from impact-related damage, as well as preventing painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your brackets (it’s just as bad as it sounds!) Orthodontic mouthguards are often slightly bulkier than standard models, but they’re just as comfortable to wear and make up for it with the added protection they provide.
Once you know the differences between standard and orthodontic mouthguards, you can make the decision about which type will best fit your needs. These over-the-counter options provide effective protection for braces patients and will be able to meet all of their basic needs.
One of the most common brands, Shock Doctor mouthguards are considered some of the best orthodontics mouthguards available on the market today. Because they’re made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed specifically to conform to the upper brackets, they are very comfortable and reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards are able to adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.
If you’re in braces and play sports on a regular basis, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will prevent you from accidentally biting yourself, but do not hinder your ability to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards also contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they’re an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, keep in mind that these have a more generalized design and aren’t made specifically for athletes in braces.
Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style with a distinct design promoting airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they can re-mold to your teeth multiple times as your treatment progresses. Because they’re meant to adjust based on your current bite, athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment can use them, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.
Injuries from playing sports in braces
Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, Dr. Frank still needs to know if you take a direct hit to your mouth while wearing braces. If this happens, contact our office right away and we’ll determine if you should come in for an emergency appointment or not. We’re always available in the case of an orthodontic emergency! Always remember that the best way to prevent any damage to your braces is by wearing your mouthguard. An orthodontic model is preferred, but even a basic model will provide you with some protection!
Protect your perfect smile with Bluebird Orthodontics
Mouthguards are a great investment in your oral health, especially if you’ll be playing sports while wearing braces. They’ll shield your teeth from damage, protecting them as they move into their new permanent positions! We encourage all of our patients to wear some kind of mouthguard over wearing none at all when playing sports or participating in other physical activities.
Whether you’re a current patient or have an appointment to get your braces on soon, we understand that you may be nervous about the impact they’ll have on your ability to play sports. Our team is happy to answer any questions you may have to help set your mind at ease! With mouthguard protection and our expert staff behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!