Here at the orthodontic office of Dr. Jared T. Lee, we see a number of patients who are active in sports. Whether they play for their school teams or in their community, a common concern they have is if starting braces treatment will leave them sidelined for the season. If you’re an athlete, you’ve probably found yourself wondering if you can continue playing sports while wearing braces and how they may affect your performance on the field or court.
While this is a very common concern, it is also an unfounded one. You can keep playing whatever sport you’d like during the course of your orthodontic treatment! However, there are a few extra precautions you’ll need to take in order to protect your mouth and braces. Dr. Lee and the team at 805 Orthodontics are focused on keeping your braces safe from any damage and making sure you don’t injure your teeth or gums. To find out more about playing sports with braces and how you can protect your smile, keep reading below!
Wearing a mouthguard
When it comes to protecting your teeth and orthodontic appliance when you’re in the game, a mouthguard is the best tool available! They’re incredibly easy to use and are great for protecting your teeth, even when participating in high-contact sports such as hockey or football. Dr. Lee encourages patients to wear mouthguards for low-impact sports, too, since even the smallest amount of pressure to your braces can cause irritation in your mouth, leading to small cuts or abrasions to your gums and cheeks.
If you’re planning to play sports during the course of your treatment, an orthodontic mouthguard is the best investment you can make. While standard models do provide some protection, they’re made of a rigid material called thermoplastic that softens as it warms up and molds to fit your teeth. This can be very dangerous for your brackets since they can get stuck in the mouthguard, which can require additional visits with Dr. Lee to repair any damages to your appliance. This rigid type of mouthguard also isn’t able to adjust as your teeth move, so it can actually work against the straightening process overall, lengthening the amount of time you have to wear your braces.
Orthodontic mouthguards, on the other hand, are made from a high-grade silicone that provides extra cushion for your lips, keeping them from rubbing against your braces. This helps to protect your brackets from any impact-related damage and can also prevent painful situations like your lip getting stuck in your brackets (it’s just as bad as it sounds!) Orthodontic mouthguards are slightly bulkier than standard models, but they’re just as comfortable to wear and important for your safety!
Once you know the difference between a standard mouthguard and an orthodontic model, you can better determine which type will suit your lifestyle and orthodontic needs. Below are some excellent over-the-counter options for orthodontic mouthguards that will meet all of your basic needs!
One of the most popular brands, Shock Doctor mouthguards are considered to be some of the best orthodontic mouthguards available. Because they’re made from 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they’re very comfortable and work to eliminate cuts and scrapes on your gums and cheeks. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to the gradual shifting of your teeth during your treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.
If you plan to regularly participate in sports or other physical activities, mouthguards that feature a lip guard are a must! Lip guards protect you from accidentally biting yourself while still allowing you to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards feature lip guards and, while this adds a little extra bulk, it makes up for it in added protection! These are an inexpensive, lightweight option, but keep in mind that they aren’t designed specifically for athletes in braces.
Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style that features an innovative design that promotes air-flow. The comfortable fit makes it easy to talk while wearing them and they’re able to re-mold to your teeth multiple times throughout your treatment. Because they’re made to adjust to your current bite, they’re perfect for athletes who are wearing braces and those without any orthodontic appliances.
Injuries from playing sports in braces
A direct hit to your mouth, while you’re in braces, needs to be addressed by Dr. Lee, even if you’re wearing a mouthguard. If this happens to you, contact our office right away. Our team is always available in the case of an orthodontic emergency. Once we know what’s happened, Dr. Lee will be able to determine if you should come in for an emergency appointment or if there’s an at-home solution for your problem. Remember, the best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while you’re playing sports is to always wear your mouthguard! An orthodontic model is preferred, but even a standard mouthguard will protect your mouth from hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.
Protect your smile investment with Dr. Jared Lee at 805 Orthodontics
Orthodontic treatment is a great investment in you or your child’s oral health, and we believe that investment should be protected! A mouthguard will shield your teeth and braces from any potential damage while protecting the straightening process itself.
Whether you’re wearing braces or using Invisalign, we encourage all of our patients to wear a protective mouthguard when playing sports! We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about playing sports while wearing braces, and any other concerns!
With mouthguard protection, Dr. Lee, and our expert staff on your team, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!