This time of year, we’d normally be looking at the schedule for summer sports and fall ball. With things still up in the air due to the pandemic, we know coaches and athletes are anxious to get back on the field and court! If you regularly play sports for your school or community, you’re undoubtedly looking forward to picking up where you left off…but what if you’ve had braces put on recently?
Here at Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics, we work with many patients who are also athletes. We’re frequently asked if wearing braces will mean sitting out a season or two, but thankfully, this is an unfounded concern! You can still play any sport you normally would as an orthodontic patient, you’ll just need to take certain precautions to keep your braces and smile safe from any impact-related damage.
While we hope everyone will be able to resume their normal sports schedule soon, it’s always good to learn more about how you can protect your braces while participating in various physical activities. Let’s take a closer look at how you can achieve that with mouthguards!
Regular mouthguards vs. orthodontic mouthguards
Mouthguards are a real team player when it comes to protecting your mouth. They’re simple to use, extremely effective, and can help prevent damage from occurring even if you play high-contact sports like football and hockey. They’re great for low-impact sports and practices, too! Remember, it only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces to irritate your gums or cheeks. Wearing a mouthguard during any physical activity will give you the best results.
You can find mouthguards in both regular and orthodontic models. While the regular mouthguards do provide protection, they’re made from a thermoplastic material which heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth and brackets. Because this molding won’t move with the teeth through treatment, it can actually work against the straightening process. This may result in extra office visits or a longer treatment time.
An orthodontic mouthguard is generally a better option for patients in braces who also play sports. They’re designed specifically for orthodontic patients, using a high-grade silicone material instead of thermoplastic. This cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping up against your teeth and braces. It can also help prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting stuck in your braces. Because orthodontic mouthguards are designed to fit over your braces, they tend to be a little larger than regular mouthguards, but they’re still comfortable to wear.
There are a number of mouthguards sold online and in many sporting goods stores. While we do recommend a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard for our patients who play sports, the following brands will provide plenty of protection and meet all your basic mouthguard needs.
This well-known brand makes some of the best orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Since they’re designed for braces patients, they easily adapt to the brackets on the upper teeth, which helps to prevent cuts and scratches. Thanks to the medical-grade silicone they’re made of, these mouthguards easily adjust to the many changes your teeth will be making throughout the treatment process. They’re also lightweight and affordable.
Mouthguards like Vettex contain lip guards, which are recommended for athletes who wear braces. This feature stops you from inadvertently biting yourself, but you’ll still be able to speak clearly and carry on conversations while wearing it. Although they’re a little larger than some of the other models and aren’t made specifically for braces patients, Vettex mouthguards are still a light, comfortable, and cost-effective option.
Gladiator mouthguards have a custom fit which makes it harder for them to fall out of the mouth when participating in high-impact sports, making them popular with MMA fighters and wrestlers in particular. They also offer a practical price point and a convenient “self-impression kit” you can use to easily make a mold of your own teeth.
Tapout mouthguards can be remolded to the teeth multiple times, which is helpful for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. They boast a unique feature which promotes improved airflow around the teeth and jaws, and can be used with or without braces. They do tend to be a little more expensive than other mouthguards, but they’re comfortable to wear and won’t restrict your speech.
Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics is here to protect your smile
While mouthguards are incredibly effective, you can still experience injuries or damage while wearing one. If you find yourself dealing with any kind of oral injury while you’re in braces, please let us know as soon as possible so our doctors can advise you on the next steps to take. Once we know more about what’s happening, we’ll be able to determine if you need to be seen for an emergency appointment or not.
When it comes to your oral health, mouthguards are an excellent investment! They shield your teeth as they move into their new positions, and help protect the straightening process, too. While we firmly believe that a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard is the best option for braces patients, wearing any type of mouthguard is better than not wearing one at all when playing sports.
Here at Davis & Goldberg Orthodontics, we’re all about supporting you in your athletic endeavors! We want you to continue doing the things you enjoy while you’re in braces, including sports and other physical activity. If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your smile safe as an athlete, we encourage you to get in touch with us any time. We’ll be happy to set your mind at ease, and keep your orthodontic journey as stress-free and rewarding as possible.