Many of our Sawgrass Orthodontics patients are active in sports and other physical activities. Whether they play for their school, in the community, or just for fun, one common question we hear is if braces treatment will leave them on the sidelines for the season. If you’re an athlete, you may also be concerned about playing sports while wearing braces, or if you’ll even be able to play at all. 

The great news is that you can continue playing any sport you’d like during your orthodontic treatment! However, there are a few precautions you’ll need to take in order to protect your mouth and braces from any impact-related damage. Our goal is to protect your braces from damage and make sure you don’t injure your teeth or gums. To learn more about how you can protect your teeth and braces while playing sports, keep reading below!

Understanding Mouthguards

Mouthguards are the single best way to protect your teeth when you’re in the game. 

They do a great job of protecting your teeth no matter what sport you’re playing, even high-contact sports like football and hockey. The best part is, they’re simple to use. We recommend wearing them for low-impact sports, too, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, causing small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

Once you know the differences between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you based on what you need it for. If you plan on playing sports while wearing braces, one of the best investments you can make is an orthodontic mouthguard. While standard mouthguards do provide some protection, they’re made of a rigid material called thermoplastic. This material heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth, which doesn’t allow the mouthguard to adjust to your teeth as they move. This can actually end up working against your braces, interrupting or delaying your treatment.

In addition to that, a regular mouthguard that has molded itself too snugly around the brackets could cause them to shift or even knock the brackets off completely if you sustained a hard enough hit. This could result in extra orthodontic visits and increase your overall treatment time. 

Orthodontic mouthguards, on the other hand, are made from a high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps protect the brackets from any impact-related damage and can also prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your braces (yes, it’s exactly as bad as it sounds!) Because they’re made of silicone, orthodontic mouthguards are more flexible which helps prevent damage to your brackets. While these mouthguards can be slightly larger than regular mouthguards, they’re just as comfortable.

Over-the-counter mouthguards

These over-the-counter orthodontic mouthguards will provide excellent protection for your teeth and braces. Once you know the pros and cons of each brand, you can decide which model would best suit your needs. 

Shock Doctor

One of the most well-known brands, Shock Doctor mouthguards are considered some of the best orthodontics mouthguards on the market. Because they are made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they’re more comfortable than options and help reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.

Vettex

If you’re in braces and regularly play sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself while allowing you to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they’re still an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, they have a more generalized design and aren’t made specifically for athletes in braces. 

Tapout

Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style with a distinct design promoting airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they can re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. Because they’re meant to adjust based on your current bite, athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment can use them, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.

SISU

SISU mouthguards are also a newer type of mouthguard.  They are very thin, which can be a little more comfortable to some people if they do not like the bulk of the other types of mouthguards. They are made of a harder material, so sometimes they do not provide as much cushion. They can be reboiled to fit the teeth, so they are great for orthodontic patients as their teeth move.

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Injuries from playing sports in braces

Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, a direct hit to your mouth while you’re wearing braces and playing a sport still needs attention. If this happens, contact our office as soon as possible. Our team is always available if you have an orthodontic emergency! Once we know what’s going on with you and your braces, Dr. Kristen or Dr. Penny will be able to tell if you need to come in for an emergency appointment or not. 

Remember, the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by always wearing a mouthguard! An orthodontic model is the best option, but even a basic mouthguard will help prevent hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.

Protect your game-changing smile with Sawgrass Orthodontics

Mouthguards are an excellent investment in your oral health. They provide protection for your teeth as they move into their new permanent positions while also protecting the straightening process itself! They work hard to protect your smile investment. We encourage all of our Sawgrass Orthodontics patients to wear any kind of mouthguard when playing sports over not wearing one at all.


Whether you’re a current patient or just scheduled your first appointment, we understand that you may be nervous about the impact braces will have on your ability to play sports. Our team would be happy to give you peace of mind! We’re always here to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have regarding your orthodontic treatment. With mouthguard protection and our talented team behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!

- Dr. Langford

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