Many of us young and old love playing sports! Whether it is the exercise, the excitement, or a number of other reasons, there is something about a game that we cannot resist. If you are an adult athlete who has braces, or if you have a student-athlete who wears them, it is important to make sure that smile is protected while out there having great fun.
Here at Bret Johnson Orthodontics, we often hear questions and concerns from parents regarding their student-athlete playing sports in braces. They understand that many sports present potential risk to the teeth, particularly for someone wearing braces. In order to address these important concerns we have put together this guide so that you can learn some of the best ways to protect your braces while playing sports.
Regular Mouthguard vs Orthodontic Mouthguard
It is essential to protect your smile when you are out there having a great time, and wearing a mouthguard is the best way to do it! When you are wearing braces, you need an orthodontic mouthguard specifically designed to protect your braces.
Regular mouthguards are not the right choice for you if you are wearing braces. They are made of thermoplastic, which is made to be heated up and molded to your teeth. Once molded, this kind of mouthguard will not evolve with your teeth as they shift, so it can actually work against the braces and interrupt the straightening process. Oftentimes, the mold can fit a little too snug around the brackets. If you were to be hit hard enough while playing your sport, the impact could potentially knock the brackets off your teeth. An incident like this leads to additional orthodontic visits and could result in longer treatment times.
The best type of mouthguard for patients wearing braces is an orthodontic mouthguard. These types of mouthguards are slightly differently than regular mouthguards. An orthodontic mouthguard is made from high-grade silicone, and it cushions your lips from bumping against your teeth. This is extremely beneficial because if your lip were to get caught in the wings of the bracket, it can be very painful. Additionally, an orthodontic mouthguard works to protect the brackets on your teeth and soften any blow that could damage them.
Orthodontic mouthguards are slightly larger than regular mouthguards to make room for braces, but most patients attest that orthodontic mouthguards are actually more comfortable than regular mouthguards.
We have provided a little information below of each type of mouthguard.
While we recommend a custom-made mouthguard from Bret Johnson Orthodontics for our patients with braces, there are some over-the-counter orthodontic mouthguards that can meet your basic needs better than a regular mouthguard. Let’s take a look at some popular brands that are simple and effective.
Vettex mouthguards were not originally designed for athletes in braces, but you can try them out because these are mouthguards with a lip guard.
Lip guards keep athletes from accidentally biting themselves, yet they don’t hinder wearers from having a natural conversation with teammates. Vettex mouthguards are made of thermo-rubber and are admittedly a little bulkier due to the lip guard, but they are also considerably lightweight to make up for it. They are inexpensive when compared to other similar brands.
Tapout mouthguards were designed by orthodontists, dentists, and professional athletes with today’s most aggressive competitors in mind. Tapout is a new, quite diverse type of mouthguard that can be re-molded to your teeth multiple times as the teeth move into place. This type of mouthguard boasts of having a distinctive design that promotes airflow, is comfortable, and is easy to have a natural conversation while wearing it.
Shock Doctor mouthguards are one of the most popular brands of orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Shock Doctor mouthguards are made to conform to the upper brackets for comfort and to prevent cuts and scrapes. They are made of 100% medical-grade silicone and adjust to the movement of the teeth during treatment. These mouthguards claim to be reasonably priced and come in both strapped and unstrapped styles.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Once you have an orthodontic mouthguard, it is important to clean it as bacteria can colonize in a used mouth guard. Every time you take your mouthguard out after use, be sure you clean it. Use a soft toothbrush and either a good toothpaste or an anti-microbial solution. Additionally, be sure to keep your mouthguard in a case when you are not using it.
What to do for a mouth-injury while wearing braces
Remember, 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 that you can enjoy playing all of your favorite sports safely.
Even if you are wearing an orthodontic mouthguard, injuries can still happen. If your mouth takes a hit, give our office a call. Once we hear about your personal situation, we can determine if you need an emergency appointment or not.
Protect your smile with Bret Johnson Orthodontics
At Bret Johnson Orthodontics, we want to empower your student-athlete to continue his or her active lifestyle. The best way to prevent mouth-related injuries while playing sports is to make sure he or she is wearing an orthodontic mouthguard.
Believe us when we say, a custom-made mouthguard from Bret Johnson Orthodontics is an investment worth making. We are enthusiastic about the life-changing smiles that we are creating and protecting for our patients in the Spokane area! If you do not have an orthodontic mouthguard, be sure to schedule an appointment with us today so that we can fit your mouth with one. We hope to see you soon!