How to Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports

woman holding mouthguard

How to Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports

You do not have to get benched from the game just because you have braces. Spring sports are in full swing and summer sports will be here soon. Softball, baseball, soccer, tennis, and track are all here to keep you moving, and if you remember to wear a mouthguard, you will not have to sacrifice your favorite sport for a straighter smile. By wearing the right mouthguard you can cut your chances of any damage in half. Whether you have a child who wears braces and wants to play sports, or you are an athlete yourself, it is important to make sure you are taking care of your smile. Here at Krieger Orthodontics we can help you find the right mouthguard and keep you out there having fun whether it is on the baseball field, the tennis court, or the soccer field!

Why Mouthguards Help

It is still possible to play sports and have a great time, even if you are going through orthodontic treatment and wearing braces. You can stay active and enjoy your favorite sport while your smile is being transformed because the braces will not get in your way while you play. It is essential to learn how to protect your smile when you are out there having a great time because so many sports present a potential risk to your teeth—  especially if you are wearing braces. This is where mouthguards come in. You are much more susceptible to injuries to your teeth and jaw without a mouthguard. These injuries can be expensive to treat. Mouthguards help protect your teeth from being broken or chipped, from fractured tooth roots, and any and all damage to your dental appliances. Obviously there is no need to give up the sport you love just because you are wearing braces, but you must protect your teeth and braces when you do play so you can stay on course with your current treatment plan. An orthodontic mouthguard can be used to protect your smile. There is a chance that objects can hit the teeth and result in damage when you are playing sports, jumping, running, and kicking. You can end up with fractured teeth, bleeding gums, and broken brackets if this occurs while you are not wearing a proper mouthguard. The wires and brackets from your braces can cut your lips and cheeks if you fail to wear the right mouthguard.

girl with braces playing tennis

A Plethora of Mouthguards

Stock Mouthguards— These come ready-to-wear, and can be found at most sporting goods stores. Bare in mind that while convenient, they have the least amount of protection available for patients. A regular mouthguard is not the right choice for you if you have braces. Since your teeth are continuously shifting when you have braces, a regular mouthguard is not going to fit properly for long because they are fitted to your teeth. You also want to avoid wearing a mouthguard that is tight against the teeth. Your brackets could pop off your teeth if your mouthguard shifts due to a hit to the mouth.

Mouth Formed and Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards—  Mouth-formed mouthguards, including boil-and-bite, are the most used type of sports protector. As the name implies, the fit of this type of appliance is customized at home by the athlete. While not as good as a custom made one, this feature does help them to provide a higher level of protection than a stock mouthguard. These types of products typically have a firm plastic outer shell, and a relatively spongy internal layer— it is the internal layer that gets custom formed to fit the athlete’s teeth. The internal layer of a boil-and-bite mouthguard is thermoplastic in nature, meaning it softens up when it is heated. During customization, the thickness of the internal spongy layer of the appliance may get thinned out and compromise the level of protection for your mouth.

These appliances are quite bulky, and due to product-size limitations a guard may fail to cover the wearer’s teeth and jaws adequately. Definitely a no go for those of us with braces.

Orthodontic Mouthguards— You need a special orthodontic mouthguard to protect your teeth while wearing braces and playing sports. These mouth guards protect brackets and help soften impacts if there is any impact to your mouth because they have a special design to keep the lips from hitting the teeth. There is plenty of room for both your teeth and your braces to fit comfortably because they are larger than regular mouthguards. An orthodontic mouthguard is designed to fit comfortably even though they are larger— so you are comfortable and protected while enjoying your favorite sport. If your mouth were to be hit while playing a sport and wearing a normal mouthguard, it could result in serious damage to your teeth and braces because normal guards are made from hard plastic. This will result in the need for more office visits and additional treatment time. Orthodontic guards are made from a softer silicone that prevents damage by cushioning the teeth and braces. An orthodontic mouthguard will continue to fit your mouth, even as your teeth shift with your orthodontic treatment since they are softer and a bit larger.

girl holding mouthwashMouthguard Maintenance

It is important to take care of an orthodontic mouthguard properly. Every time you take your mouthguard out after playing sports, make sure you clean it because bacteria can colonize in used mouthguards. Use an anti-microbial solution to rinse your mouthguard to kill the bacteria, and clean the mouthguard gently with a soft toothbrush and a good toothpaste. Make sure you put the mouthguard in a case when you are not using it, and do not let it sit in the sun if you have it out. Injuries can still happen even when you do wear your orthodontic mouthguard. Give our office a call if you sustain an injury to the facial area. We will deal with any injuries that have occurred and examine your teeth and braces to make sure there are no serious issues. The best way to prevent injuries is to make sure you are wearing your orthodontic mouthguard. If you do not have one, schedule an appointment today to have one fitted to your mouth so you can enjoy your favorite sports safely. Make sure to replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. Do not chew or bite off pieces of your mouthguard, no matter how tempting it may feel. Bring your mouthguard to the office so Dr. Krieger can make sure it is still in good shape!

It is important to be fully protected while playing sports, and that includes your teeth and braces. If you are in the Lewisville area, and ready to start down the path to a straighter, healthier smile, give Krieger Orthodontics a call!

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