Playing Sports with Braces
Many of our patients are active athletes and are involved in several diverse types of activities. You can still play sports even while undergoing orthodontic treatment!
To protect you and your braces while playing sports, we recommended that you wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury that may be sustained from any accidental contact to the face. If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.
Types of mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the "boil-and-bite" fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist or orthodontist. We recommend the pre-fabricated “orthodontic” mouthguards that allow space for the braces and tooth movement. The custom made and “boil-and-bite” types are fitted and thus may not allow the desired tooth movements required to correct your bite.
Be sure to select a mouthguard that is tear-resistant, comfortable, properly sized, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. Pre-made “Orthodontic” mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores or drug store.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently brush your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case that allows air flow. A completely seal container or ziploc bag will not allow the appliance to dry properly and it will begin to smell.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile.
In case of a sports emergency, be sure to immediately check your mouth and your braces for any damage that may have occurred. If you notice any loose teeth or damaged brackets, please contact our office right away. You can temporarily relieve the discomfort with wax and by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.