How To Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports

08/20/2018

If you are involved in sports and braces are on your horizon, you may be worried that this will keep you stuck on the sidelines when you’d rather be on the field or the court. This is a very common concern, and fortunately, it’s one that is unfounded. Here at Castilla Orthodontics, we treat many sports-playing patients, and we’re happy to report that you’ll be able to continue participating in any athletics you’re involved in at school or in the community while undergoing orthodontic treatment!

From Dwight Howard to Cristiano Ronaldo, Venus Williams to Brett Favre, multiple professional athletes have proven that straightening your smile doesn’t have to interrupt the sports you love to participate in. While braces don’t have to mean hanging up your jersey, you will need to be careful to not damage your orthodontic appliance, or injure your teeth or mouth. This is especially true if you play contact sports. Let’s take a look at the #1 way you can protect your braces – and your smile! – while participating in sports.

Avoiding injury while wearing braces

Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. Protecting your smile while playing sports is especially important when you have braces due to the increased risk of oral injuries, which can occur if your mouth or your braces are hit by a ball or another player. While these injuries are rarely life-threatening, they can be painful, cause serious damage, and be costly to fix. Typical injuries from sports can include lacerations to the cheeks, lips and tongue, chipped or broken teeth, dislocation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and root fractures.

Wearing a fixed orthodontic appliance like braces adds another element to these kinds of injuries. Braces can cut to the inside of your mouth during a collision, causing lacerations, and the braces themselves can be damaged, including bent wires and broken brackets. The single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by wearing a mouthguard, preferably an orthodontic model. But even a basic mouthguard will help prevent hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or potentially fractured teeth, particularly when playing sports that include contact, such as football, wrestling, soccer, basketball, and hockey.

Whether you are wearing a mouthguard or not, get in touch with your general dentist’s office the moment you receive an injury to your teeth. Your dentist will be able to diagnose if you have any root or jaw bone fractures. If you are wearing braces, contact us (your orthodontist!) after your dentist has assessed for, and treated any tooth damage so your orthodontist can check if any of your braces need replacement or repair as well.

Castilla staff looking at teeth

More about mouthguards

Easy to find, simple to use, and highly effective, mouthguards are an excellent option for athletes wishing to prevent damage and injury from occurring. While they are especially useful for high-contact sports, we recommend wearing them for light contact or low-impact sports, too, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, or cause small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

If you intend to regularly play sports while wearing braces, it’s worth looking into and investing in an orthodontic mouthguard. These are made from a high-grade silicone that helps to cushion your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This also protects the brackets from any impact-related damage, and stops your lip getting caught in your braces, which can be as painful as it sounds! Although orthodontic mouthguards may be slightly larger than most regular mouthguards, the silicone makes them just as comfortable to wear.

Some orthodontic mouthguards, such as Shock Doctor and Tapout, can adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment, re-molding to them multiple times as they change. Because they adjust based on your current bite, they are great for any athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances. Most orthodontic mouthguards will be affordable, and will come in strapped or unstrapped styles. We strongly recommend that any of our sports-playing braces patients consider having an orthodontic mouthguard to keep their teeth and mouth protected.

Castilla staff looking at a patients teeth

Keeping your smile safe in Salem with Castilla Orthodontics

Mouthguards are an excellent investment for braces patients who play sports, shielding your teeth while they move into their new permanent positions, and protecting the orthodontic process itself. While an orthodontic mouthguard is optimal, we encourage all of our patients to wear any mouthguard over not wearing one at all when participating in athletics.

Are you currently undergoing orthodontic treatment with us and wondering what braces will mean for your sports schedule? Do you have an appointment scheduled to have braces put on and need some peace of mind that you’ll be able to continue playing the sports you love while we straighten your smile? Our expert team is dedicated to helping you continue to participate in your favorite sports while protecting your teeth and braces! We’re here to answer any questions you have, or talk through any concerns with you, so get in touch with us today and let us set your mind at ease. With the protection of a mouthguard and the support of our skilled staff behind you, you’ve got the best of both worlds: your favorite sports and a way to keep your braces and smile safe and shining brightly!