If you’re looking to improve your smile with braces in 2021, you probably have quite a few questions about the process. For many of our athletic patients here at Selden Orthodontics, one of the biggest concerns is whether braces will prevent them from playing their favorite sports. Fortunately, this is nothing you need to worry about! You’ll still be able to participate in school or community sports, but there are some precautions you’ll need to take in order to keep your teeth and your appliance safe. Keep reading below to learn how to safely play sports while wearing braces!
Oral injuries are pretty common in the world of sports. In fact, millions of teeth are knocked out during sports events every year! While contact sports like football and hockey put you at the biggest risk, lower-impact sports like basketball and baseball can also cause damage to your braces or mouth if you take a hit to the face.
The brackets and wires that come with braces add an additional element to oral injuries. They can be damaged, with wires bending and brackets breaking. This can increase the risk of lacerations to the inside of your mouth, chipped or broken teeth, and even root fractures. Although none of these mouth injuries are life-threatening, they can be painful and may also be costly to treat.
Protecting your smile with an orthodontic mouthguard
Our goal is to give you a straighter smile that’s strong and healthy! That’s one reason why we recommend that braces patients always wear a mouthguard when participating in any kind of sporting activity. This is one of the simplest ways to protect your mouth and braces from sports-related injuries, with the American Dental Association (ADA) stating that wearing the right mouthguard can lower your chances of injury by almost twofold. But what’s the “right mouthguard”?
If you plan to play sports regularly while you’re in braces, we encourage you to look into getting an orthodontic mouthguard. Orthodontic mouthguards are designed specifically for people with braces. The high-grade silicone cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and brackets in case of a blow to your mouth. This cushioning also protects the brackets from any impact-related damage. While they’re slightly larger than regular mouthguards to accommodate your braces, they’re still very comfortable to wear.
Some models are also designed to adjust to the movements your teeth make during treatment. They re-mold themselves as your new smile starts to take shape by adjusting their fit based on your current bite. This makes them an excellent choice for athletes who are straightening their teeth with braces.
You can find orthodontic mouthguards online and inside most major sporting goods stores. The strapped and unstrapped styles provide protection for your teeth and braces, but there is another option that we consider ideal—custom orthodontic mouthguards. These are tailored to your treatment plan, and custom-made to fit your teeth and braces. Because your teeth are constantly moving during the treatment process, these mouthguards offer the ultimate in protection. Ask Dr. Selden about creating one for your unique smile!
What happens if you injure your mouth while wearing braces?
Even with a mouthguard, oral injuries can still happen. If this occurs, don’t panic, but act fast and seek treatment as soon as possible. If your gums won’t stop bleeding or if you think there might be a fracture, go directly to urgent care or the ER. Otherwise, get in touch with your general dentist so that they can assess the injury and correct any damage. Once you’ve been seen and treated, let our office know so that Dr. Selden can determine if any part of your braces will need to be replaced or repaired. While accidents are possible even when you wear a mouthguard properly, remember that doing so will significantly reduce your risk of injury!
Trust Selden Orthodontics to keep your smile safe
Protecting your teeth and braces during physical activities couldn’t be easier with a mouthguard! While our doctors strongly recommend an orthodontic mouthguard for braces patients, even a basic mouthguard will give you some form of protection from bleeding gums, broken brackets, and fractured teeth. This is especially important if you take part in high-contact sports like football, wrestling, and basketball. You should also consider wearing a mouthguard for low-impact sports or practices, since it only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces to cause irritation or abrasions inside your mouth.
Here at Selden Orthodontics, it’s important to us that you can continue doing the things you love throughout the treatment process, including sports. Oral injuries of any kind can delay or negatively impact your orthodontic treatment and your overall health as well. Give your teeth and braces the best chance for success by finding the right mouthguard for you before the next sports season begins!
If you have any questions or concerns about how to safely play sports as a braces patient, reach out to our expert team anytime and we’ll be happy to walk you through all your mouthguard options. With our help, you’ll be sure to hit the field or court with a smile on your face, knowing your teeth and braces are safe throughout the season.