Here at Booth Orthodontics, we have many patients who play sports at school or in their communities. We’re often asked if having braces will mean being sidelined for a season or two, but this isn’t anything you need to worry about if you’re an athlete who’s recently begun the journey towards a straighter smile. You can still play any sport you normally would, you’ll just need to take certain precautions to protect your mouth and braces.
We know everything is still up in the air at the moment where summer sports and fall ball are concerned, and we hope you’re able to get back out on the field or court soon! In the meantime, it’s always good to know how to keep your braces safe while participating in various physical activities. Since the best defense is a good offense, keep reading below to learn more about keeping your mouth safe from sports-related injuries.
Regular vs. orthodontic mouthguards
When it comes to playing sports as an orthodontic patient, you definitely want a mouthguard on your team! They’re easy 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 one, though. They’re a good idea for low-impact sports and practices, too, since it only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces to irritate your gums or cheeks.
Mouthguards come in two basic varieties: regular and orthodontic. The regular models are made from a thermoplastic material which heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth, as well as the brackets of your braces. This can sometimes be a bit of an issue, since your teeth will be moving throughout treatment, but the mold won’t move with them. That can actually make the mouthguard work against the straightening process, resulting in extra office visits and a longer treatment time. Although we love to see our patients, we don’t want you to have to come in unless it’s necessary!
For athletes in braces, an orthodontic mouthguard is generally a better option. These are specifically designed for orthodontic patients, and made of high-grade silicone instead of thermoplastic. This cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping up against your teeth and braces. It also helps to prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting stuck in your braces (which is exactly as painful as it sounds!) Orthodontic mouthguards are designed to fit over your braces, so they tend to be slightly larger than regular mouthguards. They’re just as comfortable to wear, however.
There are several different mouthguards sold over the counter in sporting goods stores or online. While we recommend a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard for the best results, these brands will meet all your basic mouthguard needs.
This well-known brand produces some of the best orthodontic mouthguards on the market. They’re designed specifically for braces patients, so they adapt to the brackets on the upper teeth, which helps to prevent cuts and scratches. They’re made of medical-grade silicone, so they’re able to adjust to the changes your teeth make during treatment. They’re also lightweight, affordable, and one of the most popular options for keeping your smile safe!
Mouthguards like Vettex contain lip guards, which are recommended for athletes who wear braces. This feature stops you from inadvertently biting yourself, but won’t hamper your ability to have conversations while wearing the mouthguard. Even though they’re a little larger than some other models, Vettex mouthguards are still a lightweight and cost-effective option. It’s worth noting that they’re not made specifically for patients in braces.
Gladiator mouthguards have a practical price tag and a custom fit which makes it harder for them to fall out of the mouth when participating in high-impact sports. This makes them a favorite with MMA fighters and wrestlers! They also offer a convenient “self-impression kit” so you can easily make a mold of your own teeth.
Tapout mouthguards can be remolded to the teeth multiple times, which is helpful for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. They boast a unique feature which promotes improved airflow around the teeth and jaws, and can be used with or without braces. They tend to run a little more than other mouthguards, but they’re comfortable to wear and won’t restrict your speech.
Let Booth Orthodontics help you care for your smile
As effective as mouthguards are at protecting your mouth and braces, you can still experience bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth if you take a hard enough hit directly to your face. If you experience any kind of oral injury while you’re in braces, let us know as soon as possible so we can advise you on the next steps to take. Once we know more about what’s happening, our doctors will be able to determine if you need to be seen for an emergency appointment or not.
Mouthguards are a great investment in your oral health! They shield your teeth as they move into their new positions, and also help protect the straightening process itself. While a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard is the best option for braces patients, we recommend wearing any type of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when playing sports.
Booth Orthodontics is dedicated to providing you with a rewarding and stress-free experience! We want you to continue doing the things you enjoy even if you’re in braces, including playing all the sports you love. If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your smile safe as an athlete, get in touch with us any time. We’ll be happy to set your mind at ease and get you back on the field or the court in no time at all!