School just started, and that means school sports are about to become a big part of after-school activities! Many of our newer patients dread getting braces at this time of year for fear that they won’t be able to play sports like their peers. At Shaw Orthodontics, we get plenty of questions from our patients asking if they can still play sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment.
The great news is that you can still play any sport you want while wearing braces so let’s take a look at some of the ways you can take care of your braces while playing sports!
Regular Mouthguard vs. Orthodontic Mouthguard
The best way to protect your teeth while playing a sport is by wearing a mouthguard. They’re a simple and effective way to keep your teeth from receiving too much damage if you get a little roughed up while playing. We recommend wearing a mouthguard for even light contact sports, such as baseball, to do the best you can to protect that smile you’ve worked so hard for.
Regular mouthguards are thermoplastic, which means that they are made to be heated up and molded to your teeth, even around brackets. The issue with these is that while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment, the mold doesn’t move with the shifting of your teeth. That means that the mouthguard will work against the braces that are straightening your teeth. Another problem that comes with these types of mouthguards is that the mold typically fits a little too well against the brackets. If you get hit hard enough, the force of the impact can potentially knock the brackets off your teeth. This can lead to more orthodontic visits which will make treatment take longer than originally estimated. While we love seeing our patients, we want you to get the smile you’ve dreamed of as soon as possible!
The best type of mouthguard for patients with braces is an orthodontic mouthguard. These types of mouthguards are a little different than regular mouthguards. An orthodontic mouthguard is made from high-grade silicone and cushions your lips from bumping against your teeth. This is super beneficial because if your lip were to get caught in the wings of a bracket, it can be very painful! It also works to protect the brackets on your teeth and softens any blow that could damage them. They’re typically a little larger than regular mouthguards to make room for the braces, but they’re just as comfortable as regular mouthguards. Here at Shaw Orthodontics, we typically give out generic orthodontic mouthguards to our patients that play sports, but we offer custom mouthguards free of charge to anyone in the community that needs one.
Now that you know the difference between regular and orthodontic mouthguards, let’s take a look at some of the brands of mouthguards. All of them work well, but we will always recommend a custom-made mouthguard from Dr. Shaw for patients with braces. That being said, there are plenty of over-the-counter mouthguards that are simple and effective.
Shock Doctor is one of the best brands of orthodontic mouthguards. They are made to conform against the upper brackets for comfort and to prevent lacerations. They are made of 100% medical grade silicone and adjust to the movement made during treatment. Not only that, but they’re reasonably priced and come in both strapped and unstrapped styles. They are amongst the slimmest and most lightweight mouthguards made and customers love them.
Having a lip guard as well as a mouthguard is encouraged while playing a sport with braces. It can keep you from accidentally biting yourself and is easy enough to wear while having a conversation with your coach or teammates. Vettex makes some of the best mouthguards that also have lip guards as well. Because they do have a lip guard, they can be a little bulkier, but they are also lightweight. They are also cost-effective, but keep in mind that these are not custom-made mouthguards and are not specifically made for athletes in braces.
Tapout is a new type of mouthguard that can be re-molded to your teeth multiple times. It’s claimed that their mouthguards are able to be used both with and without braces and will adjust as your bite structure changes. It is also designed to let in some air-flow around your teeth and jaws. They are a bit pricier than others, but they are known to be comfortable and easy to talk with.
What if I get injured while wearing braces?
If you wear braces and your mouth takes a hit while playing a sport, your best option is to give us a call at Shaw Orthodontics. From there, we can determine if you need an emergency appointment or not. Wearing your mouthguard is your best defense against injuries to your teeth and mouth. Without it, even a less forceful hit could cause problems like broken brackets, bleeding gums, and even potentially fractured teeth.
We realize that some of these options might be pricey, but it is important to have a mouthguard that will protect your teeth while also allowing teeth to move into their new positions. Trust us when we say that it’s worth it for the quality and protection you’re getting! We will always recommend a custom-made mouthguard from Dr. Shaw first, but these are very effective alternatives.
At Shaw Orthodontics, we want to do everything we can to help you or your child protect their teeth without having to forfeit their favorite sports activities. If your child is worried about not getting to play sports when they get braces – or just worried about getting braces in general – bring them into Shaw Orthodontics! Our friendly staff is more than willing to talk them through the process of getting braces and what to expect with sports. If you’re in the Rockwall area, come visit us for a consultation or give us a call at 972.722.1500.