School sports are a big part of after-school activities. Many of our newer patients dread getting braces out of fear that they will not be able to play sports like their friends. One of the most common concerns we hear at Sawgrass Orthodontics regarding braces is if student-athletes can have braces and still play their favorites sports uninterrupted. Many parents and kids are worried they will have to sit out sports while in their braces, but that could not be further from the truth. Kids and teens can absolutely continue playing any sport they like while wearing braces. However, it is still very easy to cause harm to your teeth and braces, so you will want your child to take some precautions and extra care for their braces while playing sports.The great news is that you can still play any sport you want while wearing braces, so let us take a look at some of the ways you can take care of your braces while playing sports!

Regular Mouthguard vs. Orthodontic Mouthguard

Wearing a mouthguard is the best way to protect your teeth when playing a sport, hands down. They are a simple and effective way to keep your teeth from receiving too much damage if you get a little roughed up while playing. They are an easy and efficient way to prevent teeth from experiencing any damage while playing a sport, even high-contact sports like football and hockey. We recommend wearing a mouthguard for even light contact sports, such as baseball, to do the best you can to protect that smile you have worked so hard for.

Regular Mouthguards​ are made of thermoplastic, which means that they are made to be heated up and molded to your teeth, even around brackets. The issue with these is that while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, the mold does not move with the shifting of your teeth. This means that the mouthguard can actually work against the braces and interrupt the straightening process. Sometimes the mold can also 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 too. While we love seeing our patients, we want you to get the smile you have dreamed of as soon as possible!

Orthodontic Mouthguards are ​the best type of mouthguards for those people who wear braces. These types of mouthguards are a little different than regular mouthguards. Made from high-grade silicone, orthodontic mouthguards cushion your lips from bumping against your teeth and braces. This prevents your lip from getting caught in your braces which can be quite painful. It also protects the brackets on your teeth from any potential damage from sports-related impact and softens any blow that could damage them. Orthodontic mouthguards are typically a bit bigger than regular mouthguards, but they are equally as comfortable to wear.

Let us take a look at some popular brands of mouthguards now that you know the difference between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard. While all these mouthguards work well and will meet your basic needs, we cannot stress enough that we would recommend a custom-made mouthguard from Sawgrass Orthodontics for our patients with braces. That being said, here are a few of the over-the-counter mouthguards that are simple and effective.

Over-the-Counter Mouthguards

Shock Doctor ​One of the best brands of orthodontic mouthguards. Shock Doctor mouthguards are made to conform to the upper brackets for comfort and to stop cuts and scrapes. They are made of 100% medical grade silicone and adjust to the movement of the teeth during treatment. These mouthguards are quite reasonably priced and come in both strapped and unstrapped styles. They are amongst the slimmest and most lightweight mouthguards made, and customers love them.

Vettex ​

When playing sports, having a lip guard as well as a mouthguard is a must-have for patients in braces. Vettex mouthguards also contain lip guards which is a definite bonus when playing sports while wearing braces. Lip guards keep athletes from accidentally biting themselves and do not hinder wearers from naturally having a conversation. Vettex mouthguards are admittedly a little bulkier due to the lip guard but are also considerably lightweight. They are also cost-effective, but keep in mind that these are not custom-made mouthguards and are not specifically made for athletes in braces.

Tapout ​

Tapout is a new, quite diverse type of mouthguard that can be re-molded to your teeth multiple times as they change. Users of this mouthguard claim they can be used by both people who do and do not wear braces and adjust as your bite changes. They also have a distinctive design that promotes airflow and are comfortable and easy to talk with. They are a bit pricier than others, but they are known to be comfortable and easy to talk with.

While some mouthguard options can be expensive, the protection mouthguards provide are surely worth the investment. They protect the teeth while they are moving into their new permanent positions, resulting in a winning smile. These are very effective alternatives, but believe us when we say, a custom-made mouthguard from Sawgrass Orthodontics is an investment worth making.

What Happens If I Am Injured While Wearing Braces?

If your mouth takes a hit while you are wearing braces, your best response is to give us a call at Sawgrass Orthodontics as soon as possible. Once we hear your personal situation, we can determine if you need an emergency appointment or not. We cannot stress enough that the best way to defend your teeth while playing sports is by wearing a mouthguard. Without one, even a minor hit could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, and even potentially fractured teeth.

At Sawgrass Orthodontics, we want to do everything we can to help you or your child protect their teeth without having to forfeit their favorite sports activities. If your child is concerned about wearing braces while playing a sport, or just wearing braces in general, we will be happy to answer any of your or their questions clearly and compassionately. If you are in the Broward County area, stop by our office in Sunrise or give us a call today. We can reassure your child that they can have the best of both worlds: straight teeth and play their favorite sports!

- Dr. Langford

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