Braces & Sports: Why Mouthguards are Important

Lots of teenagers — and even adults — have braces fitted to straighten out teeth and address jaw problems. It can be a pretty tough time for anyone with braces, as they adjust to life with a mouth that’s full of metal or plastic.

Despite this, braces are very effective at what they do, and it’s really important to look after them. At Smashing Smiles Orthodontics, we encourage you and your child to enjoy sports even if you wear braces, but take the precaution of wearing a mouthguard.

You can play sports with braces

Young people are generally physically active. One of the biggest issues they face when they first get braces is feeling like they can’t do the things they used to. Certain foods are off-limits, and contact sports present risks.

The biggest problem is the increased risk of facial injuries. In fact, some studies even suggest that around 80% of the participants in sports sustain some sort of dental injury at some point.

If you or your child wears braces, here’s what can happen if either of you sustains a dental injury during sports:

At Smashing Smiles Orthodontics, Allena Willis Kennerly, DMD, deals with braces for a living. She wants you to know that you don’t have to give up sports if you wear braces.

Protecting your teeth and your braces

If you wear braces and you play sports, protect your braces and your mouth by wearing a mouthguard. It can’t be just any mouthguard though. See Dr. Willis to be fitted for custom-made orthodontic mouthguard. Call us or request an appointment using our online booking portal.

Regular mouthguards are made of a thermoplastic material. You heat the guard, then bite into it to create an impression that snugly fits your teeth. But if you wear braces, this type of mouthguard won’t work.

Because of your braces, the position of your teeth move over time. So as your teeth move, the mouthguard will fail to fit. Also, the hard plastic of regular mouthguards generally fits too tightly and places too much pressure on the brackets, potentially damaging them.

An orthodontic mouthguard is different. It is made of a high-grade silicone material that is tough and durable. The silicone provides a nice soft cushion for the teeth and the brackets, helping to absorb the kinetic energy from an impact to the mouth and, thereby, protecting the braces and your teeth.

An orthodontic mouthguard also features large flanges that push your lips outward, keeping them away from the braces and minimizing the chances of them being injured during impact.

Protect your investment

The fact is, braces are a significant investment for most families. The last thing you want is to have them damaged in some way because of a sports injury. Contact sports, such as football and martial arts, are riskier when it comes to dental injuries, but just about any sporting activity can result in a facial impact that causes a dental injury.

 

Even though braces take some getting used to, there’s no reason for you to give up your sports. If you want to continue your physically active life, make an appointment with us at Smashing Smiles Orthodontics so we can discuss orthodontic mouthguards and how they can help you.

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