February 7, 2020
Many of our Dudley Smiles patients play sports, either for their school, in their community, or just for fun. They’re often concerned that beginning their braces treatment will keep them on the sidelines for the season. If you’re an athlete, you may be worried about playing sports with braces and how they will affect your performance, or even keep you from playing.
This is a common concern but the good news is that it’s unfounded! You can continue playing any sport you enjoy during your orthodontic treatment, but you’ll need to take precautions to keep your braces and mouth safe. We’re focused on protecting your braces from damage and making sure you don’t injure your teeth or gums. To learn more about how you can protect your braces and your mouth while playing sports, keep reading!
Mouthguards are the single best way to protect your teeth when you’re in the game.
They do a great job of protecting your teeth no matter what sport you’re playing, even high-contact sports like football and hockey. Best of all, they’re simple to use. We recommend wearing them for low-impact sports, too, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, causing small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.
When you know the differences between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard, you can make the best decision for you based on what you need it for. These over-the-counter options provide effective protection for you and will be able to meet all your basic needs.
If you play sports while wearing braces, one of the best investments you can make is an orthodontic mouthguard. Regular mouthguards do provide some protection, but they’re made of a rigid material called thermoplastic, which heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth. This kind of mouthguard can’t adjust well as your teeth move, so it may end up working against your braces. This can interrupt or delay your treatment.
Not only that, but a regular mouthguard that has molded itself too snugly around the brackets could shift them or even knock the brackets off completely if you sustained a hard enough hit. This could mean extra orthodontic visits or increase your total treatment time.
Orthodontic mouthguards are made from a high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps protect the brackets from any impact-related damage, and can also prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your braces (yes, it’s exactly as bad as it sounds!) Since they’re made of silicone, they are more flexible which helps prevent damage to your brackets. Orthodontic mouthguards can be slightly larger than regular mouthguards, but they’re just as comfortable.
One of the most well-known brands, Shock Doctor mouthguards are considered some of the best orthodontics mouthguards on the market. Because they are made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they’re more comfortable than options and help reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards 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 regularly play sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself, but still allow you to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they’re still an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, they 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 they change. 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.
SISU mouthguards are also a newer type of mouthguard. They are very thin, thus can be a little more comfortable to some people if they do not like the bulk of the other types of mouthguards. They are made of a harder material, so sometimes does not provide as much cushion. They can be re-boiled to fit the teeth, so they are great for orthodontic patients as their teeth move.
Injuries from playing sports in braces
Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, a direct hit to your mouth while you’re in wearing braces and playing a sport still needs attention. If it happens, get in touch with our office as soon as possible. We’re always available if you have an orthodontic emergency! Once we know what’s going on with you and your braces, Dr. Dudley will be able to tell if we need to schedule you for an emergency appointment or not. Remember, the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by always wearing a mouthguard! An orthodontic model is the best option, but even a basic mouthguard will help prevent hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.
Protect your game-changing smile with Dudley Smiles Orthodontics
Mouthguards are a crucial investment in your oral health. They protect your teeth while they move into their new permanent positions. They also protect the straightening process itself! They work hard to protect your smile investment. We encourage all of our patients to wear any kind of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when participating in sports or other physical activity.
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. We’d be happy to set your mind at ease! Our team is always here to answer any questions you may have or to talk through any concerns you have. With mouthguard protection and our skilled staff behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!