It would be an understatement to say there’s been a lot going on over the last few months. If you normally play sports during the summer or fall, you’re undoubtedly looking forward to getting back out on the field or court. But what if you’ve had braces put on recently? You may be wondering if being an orthodontic patient will leave you sidelined for the next season or two, but we’re here to set your mind at ease about that! You can still play any sport you normally would, even if you’re in braces. You’ll just need to take some extra precautions to keep your braces and smile safe.
Everyone here at Texas Family Orthodontics is hoping normal sports schedules will resume soon, but in the meantime, it’s always a good idea to learn more about how you can protect your braces while participating in various physical activities. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is with mouthguards, so keep reading to learn more about how they work and why you should always have one in your sports bag!
Regular mouthguards and orthodontic mouthguards
You can’t go wrong with a mouthguard when it comes to protecting your smile from impact-related damage. They’re simple, effective, and work just as well for high-contact sports as they do for low-impact ones. They’re great to have around during practices, too! Remember, it only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces for them to irritate your gums or cheeks. Keeping a mouthguard in during any physical activity will give you the best results.
Mouthguards are available in both regular and orthodontic models. While regular mouthguards do provide protection, they’re made from a thermoplastic material that heats up in your mouth, molding to the teeth and brackets. This molding doesn’t move with the teeth as they shift towards their new positions, which can eventually end up working against the straightening process. This could result in extra visits to the office or a longer treatment time, and nobody wants that to happen!
An orthodontic mouthguard is likely to be a better option for you if you’re in braces and play sports. These are designed specifically for orthodontic patients, and use a high-grade silicone material instead of thermoplastic. This helps to cushion your lips and keeps them from bumping up against your teeth and braces. Because orthodontic mouthguards are designed to fit over your braces, they do tend to be a little bulkier than regular mouthguards, but they’re still comfortable to wear. At Texas Family Orthodontics, we offer a complimentary basic orthodontic mouthguard for any athlete who needs one.
Common brands of mouthguards
You can find several types of mouthguards sold in online shops and in many sporting goods stores. We do recommend a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard for our patients who are athletes, but the following brands will give you ample protection and meet all your basic mouthguard needs.
This well-known brand makes some of the best affordable orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Since they’re designed for braces patients, they easily adapt to the brackets on the upper teeth, which helps to prevent cuts and scratches. The medical-grade silicone is lightweight and allows the mouthguards to easily adjust to the many changes your teeth will be making throughout the treatment process.
These mouthguards feature a lip guard, which is recommended for athletes who wear braces. This keeps you from inadvertently biting yourself, but you’ll still be able to speak clearly and carry on conversations while wearing it. They’re a little bigger than some of the other models and aren’t made specifically for braces patients, but Vettex mouthguards are still a light, comfortable, and cost-effective option.
Gladiator mouthguards have a custom fit which makes it harder for them to fall out of the mouth when participating in high-impact sports, making them popular with MMA fighters and wrestlers in particular. They also offer a practical price point and a convenient “self-impression kit” you can use to easily make a mold of your own teeth.
Tapout mouthguards can be remolded to the teeth multiple times, so they’re useful for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. They also boast a unique feature which promotes improved airflow around the teeth and jaws. They’re comfortable to wear, won’t restrict your speech, and can be used with or without braces.
Texas Family Orthodontics is here to help protect your smile
Even if you have a good mouthguard in place, injuries can still happen. If you experience any sort of trauma or oral injury while you’re in braces, please let us know as soon as possible so we can advise you on the next steps to take. Once Dr. Vo understands more about what’s happening, she’ll be able to let you know if you need to come in for an emergency appointment or not.
As you can see, mouthguards are an excellent investment in your smile! They shield your teeth as they shift throughout treatment, and help protect the straightening process, too. A custom-made orthodontic mouthguard is your best option as a braces patient, but any of the brands we mentioned above are also a good choice. And of course it goes without saying that any type of mouthguard is better than not wearing one at all when you’re participating in any kind of physical activity.
Here at Texas Family Orthodontics, we’re proud to support our patients in all their athletic endeavors. Part of that is helping you continue to do things you love while you’re in braces, like keeping up with your favorite sports throughout the orthodontic process! If you have any questions about keeping your smile safe while you’re out there on the field or court, we encourage you to get in touch with us any time. Our team will be happy to talk you through your concerns and get you back out there where you belong in no time!