Living an active lifestyle is one of the best ways to stay happy and healthy throughout your lifetime. Whether you’re playing basketball, running cross country, or doing gymnastics, you’re getting endorphins and improving your life. If you’re wearing braces, you need to be a little more cautious when it comes to physical activity. It’s important to learn how to practice sports safety with braces and what to do in case you have an orthodontic emergency.
Braces are a big responsibility, but we don’t want you to sacrifice your favorite sport to get a straight smile! Dr. Jared Lee is committed to making your braces experience as low-key as possible so that you feel the smallest effect on your life. Keep reading below to learn how you can take care of yourself and your braces while staying off the sidelines and getting active. Let’s go!
It’s probably not surprising that sports can cause injuries, but mouth injuries can feel especially uncomfortable. Cuts and scrapes along your cheeks, gumline, or tongue can be painful and make eating an unpleasant experience.
The brackets and wires that make up your braces are all made of metal. With all that metal in your mouth, there are more opportunities to cut your lips or cheeks against a bracket or wire. Sports injuries can break the brackets and wires, dig into the sides of your mouth and cause bleeding. Worse injuries can result in shifting teeth that might require treatment from an oral surgeon.
In Case of Emergency
Mouth injuries are unique. Because there are so many blood vessels in the mouth, oral injuries can cause a lot of bleeding. To a parent of an upset child or teen, that can look pretty scary! However, the best way to handle an orthodontic emergency is to stay calm and assess the situation.
Soft Tissue Damage
If your child or teen has soft tissue damage, it’s usually because their brackets got caught up in the soft parts of their mouths, like their lips or cheeks. Although there may be a lot of bleeding that makes this type of injury look worse than it is, soft tissue injuries are the mildest orthodontic injuries — and the most common.
Assess the situation by gently pulling the brackets from the lips or cheek. Most soft tissue injuries heal on their own, but if the cut is big enough that the edges don’t meet, you may need to take your child to the emergency room or an oral surgeon.
Sometimes, sports injuries can cause your child’s teeth to shift along with their braces. While this may seem alarming, don’t panic. Acting quickly and calmly is the best way to save the tooth.
If one or more of your child’s teeth shift or fall out due to a sports-related injury, take them to the emergency room immediately. Then contact Dr. Lee so that he can coordinate a way to fix your child’s orthodontic appliance, as well.
Preventing Sports Injuries
The best-case scenario for you and your child is to do whatever you can to prevent orthodontic sports injuries altogether. There are two major ways to protect their oral health on the field.
Wear a Mouthguard
Mouthguards are oral appliances specifically designed to protect your teeth while engaging in physical activity. By covering the teeth, mouthguards prevent injury to your teeth, lips, gums, and jaw in case of contact. The best mouthguards are molded to fit your unique smile.
General sports or over-the-counter mouthguards are great for athletes who don’t have braces. Loose mouthguards don’t protect the brackets as well as form-fitting mouthguards do. Sports mouthguards aren’t made to mold over your brackets and wires, so they don’t provide that seamless protection you need when engaging in physical activity, especially contact sports.
Similarly, over-the-counter mouthguards don’t fit your braces. What’s more is that these mouthguards are designed to help with grinding your teeth when you sleep, not protecting against orthodontic injuries.
If you’re a patient of Dr. Jared Lee, we recommend an orthodontic mouthguard. Our team can create a customized mold that fits perfectly over your brackets and wires so that you can feel comfortable on the field or in the gym. Orthodontic mouthguards are more durable, reliable, and practical than over-the-counter alternatives. Although wearing any mouthguard is better than not wearing one at all, it’s essential to invest in protecting your smile — after all, it’s the only smile you have!
Choose the Right Treatment Method
If you’re an athlete considering orthodontic treatment, talk with Dr. Lee about your concerns so that together, we can find the right treatment method for you. With several orthodontic options that work for patients of all ages, we can design a treatment plan that works for your individual needs.
Clear or Metal Braces
At Dr. Jared Lee Orthodontics in Santa Paula and Oxnard, we offer traditional clear and metal braces to shift your teeth in line. With a system of brackets and wires, this treatment option is an excellent fit for patients with moderate to severe orthodontic conditions. Just be sure to pair this option with an orthodontic mouthguard!
Our Invisalign clear aligner trays are a removable treatment option that straightens your smile without the brackets and wires of traditional metal braces. You can remove them for two hours per day, so you can practice your favorite sport without worrying about orthodontic emergencies at all! With Invisalign’s SmartTrack material, this treatment option is a comfortable and discreet method for patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues.
Visit Dr. Jared Lee
If you or your child are considering braces but don’t want to sacrifice your active lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a wide range of treatment options and the expertise to help you stay safe with braces. And with two convenient locations in Santa Paula and Oxnard, your new smile is always right around the corner.