How to Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports
If you’re a student-athlete, you may be worried about braces leaving you stuck on the sidelines. Brodsky Orthodontics treats many patients who are concerned about orthodontic treatment affecting them on the court or the field, but fortunately, this is completely unfounded. Take it from former brace-faces Dwight Howard and Cristiano Ronaldo, you can continue playing any sport you are involved in while wearing braces! However, you will need to be extra careful to not damage your braces or injure your mouth, especially if you play contact sports. To learn more about the easiest way to protect your braces – and your smile! – while playing sports, keep reading below.
Injuries that can occur while wearing braces
If your mouth takes a direct hit at any time while you are a braces patient, please contact our office as soon as possible. Once we know what’s happening, we’ll be able to determine if you need to come in for an emergency appointment or not. For protection, while you play, mouthguards can cushion your teeth, mouth, and braces, reducing the need for emergency appointments and treatment. Even a basic mouthguard can help prevent hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or potentially fractured teeth.
Mouthguards are the single best way to protect your teeth when you are an athlete. They are easy to procure, simple to use, and have proven to be effective in preventing damage from occurring, even if you participate in high-contact sports like football and hockey. It only takes a small amount of force to cause small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks. Therefore, we also recommend wearing one even if you only play light contact or low-impact sports, since the smallest amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth.
For students who play sports while wearing braces, we believe investing in an orthodontic mouthguard is well worth it. While regular mouthguards provide some level of protection, they are generally made of thermoplastic, which heats up in your mouth and can mold to your teeth. Because this kind of mouthguard isn’t able to evolve with your teeth as they shift, they can actually end up working against your braces, which interrupts the straightening process. If a regular mouthguard has molded itself too snugly around the brackets of your braces, and you sustained a hard enough hit at the same time, the impact could shift them, or even knock the brackets off completely. This will result in extra orthodontic visits, may result in extra costs, and can contribute to an increase in your total treatment time.
Orthodontic mouthguards are designed specifically with braces patients in mind. They are made from high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and will keep them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps to protect the brackets themselves from any impact-related damage, and can also prevent your lip getting caught in your braces, which is not a pleasant experience! Although orthodontic mouthguards tend to be slightly larger than regular mouthguards, they are just as comfortable to wear.
Knowing the differences that exist between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard will allow you to make the best decision based on your specific needs and the sports you’re active in. Although we strongly recommend that any of our athletic patients consider having a customized orthodontic mouthguard made by our Brodsky Orthodontics team, let’s take a look at some over-the-counter options that will provide effective protection for you and meet all your basic needs.
Shock Doctor is well-known, and generally considered to be one of the best brands on the market. The mouthguards they produce are made of high-quality 100% medical grade silicone, and designed to conform to the upper brackets. This makes them both comfortable and efficient, and they are very good at reducing or eliminating any braces-related cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards easily adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment, and come in strapped and unstrapped styles, both of which are affordably priced. We sell the strapped version behind our front desk.
Tapout mouthguards are newer and more diverse, boasting a comfortable design and distinct style that promotes airflow. They are unique in their ability to re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change over the course of your braces treatment. Because they adjust their fit based on your current bite, they can be used by athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.
For patients who wear braces and are active in sports on a regular basis, mouthguards with a lip guard can be a big plus. Lip guards keep you from accidentally biting yourself while maintaining your ability to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this does make them a bit bulkier, they are still an inexpensive, lightweight option. It’s worth noting, however, that their design is more generalized, and not made specifically for athletes who wear braces.
At a lean 1.6mm, the ultralight design of the Aero is 50% thinner than conventional sports mouth guards, providing maximum comfort and convenience. Combined with its quick, custom and remoldable fit, you´ll entirely forget it’s there. The Brodsky Team loves this mouthguard due to its retentive fit and it can be purchased from any of our team members.
Score a safe smile with Brodsky Orthodontics
Mouthguards are an excellent investment for you if you frequently participate in sports. They shield your teeth as they move into their new permanent positions, and protect the straightening process itself. Although a custom-made mouthguard from Brodsky Orthodontics is optimal, we encourage all of our patients to wear any kind of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when playing sports.
If you’re concerned about the impact braces will have on your ability to play sports, get in touch and let us help set your mind at ease! Whether you’re currently undergoing orthodontic treatment with us, or have an appointment to get your braces put on, we want to make the journey towards a straighter, healthier smile a rewarding experience. Our team is all about helping you continue to do the things you love while protecting your teeth and braces. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have, or talk through any concerns with you. And if you just need a little encouragement, we’re here for that, too! With the protection of a mouthguard and the support of our skilled staff behind you, you’ve got the best of both worlds: your favorite sports and a way to keep your smile safe while you straighten it!