Mouthguards can help protect you and your braces during sports.
Sports play a big role in many teen’s lives. They are an opportunity to connect with peers and build a healthy work ethic. Braces may cause some life adjustments, but they shouldn’t stop you from scoring on the field. The best way to protect your braces and teeth while playing sports is to wear a mouthguard.
Athletes are 60% more likely to injure their teeth playing sports if they aren’t wearing a mouthguard. Having braces and not wearing a mouthguard poses an even bigger threat because the brackets can cause additional trauma to the lips, cheeks, and even other players. The brackets and wires can also be damaged on impact, leading to additional orthodontic visits for repair.
Which Mouthguard is Best for Braces?
Stock mouthguards are inexpensive and commonly available. They can be instantly used after purchase. The American Dental Association, states that these are the least effective mouthguards due to the limited sizes they come in. Additionally, the athlete’s mouth has to be closed for them to work correctly, which is hard to control while playing labor-intensive sports.
These semi-custom mouthguards can be picked up at any sporting goods store. The athlete will boil the mouthguard and then bite down into it to create an impression of their teeth, allowing a more secure fit.
Boil and bite mouthguards provide standard protection but are not ideal for braces-wearers. Since they are made for individuals without braces, they do not always have enough room to fit the extra hardware comfortably. Furthermore, orthodontic patients’ teeth are constantly shifting, which may cause the mouthguard to not fit shortly after making the impression.
Fortunately, there are mouthguards made specifically for athletes with braces. These mouthguards are wider to accommodate the extra space needed for wires and brackets. They have rubber flanges that fit under the lip to keep the mouthguard in place. These mouthguards are made of silicone, allowing the mouthguard to adapt to alignment changes. No boiling or impressions are required!
These special mouthguards may be available through your orthodontist, online, or in some stores.
After your braces come off, it is a smart idea to invest in a custom mouthguard. These can often be made at dentist and orthodontic practices. An impression of your teeth will be made to create a mouthguard that fits your mouth perfectly. Since your teeth aren’t shifting anymore, this mouthguard should fit securely and provide optimal protection for years. Straightening your smile is a huge investment, a custom mouthguard can help protect your new smile.
Get the Most Out of Your Mouthguard
One mouthguard may not provide enough protection for patients with upper and lower braces. The bottom braces can also cause unwanted injury. Using a mouthguard for your top and bottom teeth, could better protect your teeth and keep your braces in pristine condition.
Follow the instructions provided for how to both wear and care for your specific mouthguard. If your mouthguard isn’t fitting properly or if you are looking for better protection: ask your orthodontist for a suggestion! When it comes to your smile, play it safe and always wear a mouthguard.