One of the most common concerns we hear at Szymanowski Orthodontics regarding braces is if student-athletes can have braces and play their favorites sports uninterrupted. Many parents and kids are worried they will have to sit out sports while in their braces, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Kids and teens can absolutely continue playing any sport they like while wearing braces! However, it’s still very easy to cause harm to your teeth and braces, so you’ll want your child to take some precautions and extra care for their braces while playing sports. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to protect your braces while playing sports!
Regular Mouthguard vs. Orthodontic Mouthguard
Wearing a mouthguard is the best way to protect teeth when playing a sport, hands down. They are an easy and efficient way to prevent teeth from experiencing any damage while playing a sport, even high-contact sports like football and hockey. We recommend that no matter what sport you are playing, even light contact sports, you wear a mouthguard to keep your smile safe.
Regular mouthguards are made of thermoplastic, which is heated up and molded to your teeth. Now, the mouthguard doesn’t evolve with your teeth as they shift. This means that the mouthguard can actually work against the braces and interrupt the straightening process. Sometimes the mold can also fit a little too snug around the brackets. If you were to be hit hard enough while playing your sport, the impact could potentially knock the brackets off your teeth. An incident like this leads to additional orthodontic visits and could result in longer treatment times too.
For those people who wear braces, the best type of mouthguard is an orthodontic mouthguard, which is a bit different from regular mouthguards. Made from high-grade silicone, orthodontic mouthguards cushion your lips from bumping against your teeth and braces. This prevents your lip from getting caught in your braces which can be quite painful. It also protects the brackets on your teeth from any potential damage from sports-related impact. Orthodontic mouthguards are typically a bit bigger than regular mouthguards, but they are equally as comfortable to wear.
Let’s take a look at some popular brands of mouthguards now that you know the difference between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard. While all these mouthguards will meet your basic needs, we can’t stress enough that we’d recommend a custom-made mouthguard from Szymanowski Orthodontics for our patients with braces. That being said, here are a few over-the-counter mouthguards that are simple and effective.
One of the best brands of orthodontic mouthguards, Shock Doctor mouthguards are made to conform to the upper brackets for comfort and to stop cuts and scrapes. They are made of 100% medical grade silicone and adjust to the movement of the teeth during treatment. These mouthguards are quite reasonably priced and come in both strapped and unstrapped styles.
When playing sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a must-have for patients in braces. Vettex mouthguards also contain lip guards which is a definite bonus when playing sports while wearing braces. Lip guards keep athletes from accidentally biting themselves and don’t hinder wearers from naturally having a conversation. Vettex mouthguards are admittedly a little bulkier due to the lip guard but are also considerably lightweight. They are inexpensive, but do keep in mind they are not made for athletes in braces.
Tapout is a new, quite diverse type of mouthguard that can be re-molded to your teeth multiple times as they change. Users of this mouthguard claim they can be used by both people who do and do not wear braces and adjust as your bite changes. They also have a distinctive design that promotes airflow and are comfortable and easy to talk with.
What happens if I am injured while wearing braces?
If your mouth takes a hit while you are wearing braces, your best response is to give us a call at Szymanowski Orthodontics as soon as possible. Once we hear your personal situation, we can determine if you need an emergency appointment or not. We can’t stress enough that the best way to defend your teeth while playing sports is by wearing a mouthguard. Without one, even a minor hit could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, and even potentially fractured teeth.
While some mouthguard options can be expensive, the protection mouthguards provide are surely worth the investment. They protect the teeth while they are moving into their new permanent positions, resulting in a winning smile. Believe us when we say, a custom-made mouthguard from Szymanowski Orthodontics is an investment worth making.
At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we want to empower your children to continue their active lifestyle and protect their teeth while they play their favorite sports. If your child is concerned about wearing braces while playing a sport, or just wearing braces in general, bring them to our offices, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your or their questions clearly and compassionately. We can reassure them that they can have the best of both worlds: straight teeth and play their favorite sports!