If you play sports, whether in their communities or at school, you may be wondering how your active life may change after getting fitted for braces.
There may be a concern that you could be sidelined for the whole of the season during your orthodontic treatment. And as an athlete, you may be worried that having braces can affect your performance or even prevent you from playing.
This is a common concern—orthodontics aren’t necessarily often associated with a pleasant experience! However, thankfully, you can still play and train—no matter what sport it is—while you have braces on.
But you do need to be very careful to keep your mouth and braces safe so that your teeth and gums are not injured or the braces damaged.
Wearing Mouthguards: Regular vs. Orthodontic
Mouthguards are the best way to protect your teeth from damage during playing. Knowing and understanding the difference between regular and orthodontic mouthguards, you will be able to decide on the best one for you.
No matter which sport you are playing, mouthguards do a great job for teeth protection—even in high contact sports such as hockey and football.
It is easy to use mouthguards and recommended for the low impact sports as well since a small pressure on the braces can cause abrasions or small cuts on the gums and cheeks as well as irritation in the mouth.
Orthodontic mouthguards, specifically molded and designed for sports, are the best investments when you have braces and play sports at the same time—even if it isn’t at a high level.
Regular mouthguards still provide some protection—but are generally made of thermoplastic, which is a rigid material. It molds to your teeth as it heats up to your mouth and may not adjust well as your teeth move. They can end up working against your braces—and possibly delaying or interrupting the treatment.
When you sustain a hard hit in a contact sport, regular mouthguards can shift or knock off the brackets completely as they are generally molded too snugly around the brackets. This can increase the treatment time—as well as the visits to the orthodontist.
Orthodontic mouthguards are made of high-quality silicone that protects your lips from bumping and getting stuck in the braces, which is a painful thing to happen. Since they are made of silicone, they are flexible and protect the brackets from any damage related to impact.
Orthodontic mouthguards are comfortable even if they are slightly bigger than regular mouthguards.
Over-the-counter mouthguards are generally able to meet all your basic needs and offer effective protection. Some of the common mouthguards include Shock Doctor mouthguards, Vettex mouthguards, and Tapout mouthguards.
Injuries Due to Playing Sports with Braces
If you are wearing braces and get a direct hit while playing sports even though you are wearing a mouthguard, you need to be checked out by your doctor.
You can always schedule an emergency appointment if need be. Dr. Angelina Loo is my orthodontist based in Vancouver and can give advice on what to do in case of an injury.
The best way to protect your braces, mouth, and teeth from injury while playing sports is to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard can prevent broken brackets, bleeding gums or fractured teeth that can be caused by a hit.
Mouthguards protect the straightening process as well as protecting your teeth when they adjust to their new position.
In case you have any issues with participating in physical activity and have braces on, contact your orthodontist for medical advice and assistance.