In spite of everything that’s been happening over the last several months, many schools and communities are trying to find safe ways to get athletes back out on the field or court. If you’re used to playing sports in the fall but had braces put on recently, you may be wondering if that will leave you sidelined for a while even if a pandemic doesn’t! Fortunately, we have good news on that front—you can still play any sport you normally would, even if you’re wearing braces. It’ll just require a few extra precautions in order to keep your braces and mouth safe!
Here at Vermette Orthodontics, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that sports schedules will be able to resume soon, but this is actually the perfect time to learn more about how you can protect your braces on and off the bench. The number one way to achieve this is by wearing a mouthguard! Keep reading below for information about how they work and why you should always carry one with you in your sports bag!
The difference between regular mouthguards and orthodontic mouthguards
When it comes to protecting your smile as an athlete, mouthguards are incredibly effective. They’re simple, affordable, and work well for both low-impact and high-contact sports. We recommend that you were them not only during games but for practices as well. Since it only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces to cause irritation, keeping a mouthguard in during any type of physical activity is guaranteed to give you the best results!
Mouthguards are available in both regular and orthodontic models. Regular mouthguards do provide some measure of protection, but because they’re made from a thermoplastic material that heats up in your mouth, they can mold to the teeth and brackets. This means the mouthguard doesn’t move with the teeth as they begin shifting towards their new positions, which can actually work against the straightening process over time.
For braces patients who play sports, an orthodontic mouthguard tends to be the preferable option. They are designed specifically for orthodontic patients, and use a high-grade silicone material to help cushion your lips and keep them from bumping against your teeth and brackets. Orthodontic mouthguards are made to fit over your braces, so they can be a bit bulkier than other models, but they’re still comfortable to wear for long stretches of time.
What are the most common mouthguard brands?
There are several mouthguards sold online and in many sporting goods stores. Vermette Orthodontics recommends a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard for our braces patients who also play sports, but the following brands will provide you with ample protection and be able to meet all your basic mouthguard needs.
This is a well-known brand, and it’s no wonder since they’re responsible for some of the best and most affordable orthodontic mouthguards out there! Because they’re designed for braces patients, Shock Doctor models easily adapt to the brackets on the upper teeth, helping to prevent cuts and scratches. The medical-grade silicone they’re made of is lightweight, and the mouthguards easily adjust to the many changes your teeth go through during the treatment process.
These mouthguards are a bit different in that they feature a lip guard. This is actually recommended for all athletes who wear braces, as it will keep you from inadvertently biting yourself. Don’t worry—you’ll still be able to speak clearly and carry on conversations while wearing one! Although they’re a little bigger than some of the other models and aren’t made specifically for braces patients, Vettex mouthguards are still a comfortable and cost-effective option.
Gladiator mouthguards are popular in the MMA and wrestling world thanks to their custom fit! This makes them less likely to fall out of the mouth when the wearer is participating in high-impact sports. They’re also affordable and come with a convenient “self-impression kit” you can use to make a mold of your own teeth from home.
Tapout mouthguards can be remolded to the teeth multiple times, which is helpful for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. They also have a unique feature that promotes improved airflow around the teeth and jaws! These mouthguards are comfortable to wear, won’t restrict your speech while they’re in, and can be used with or without braces.
Protect your smile with the help of Vermette Orthodontics
Mouthguards of any brand are a fantastic investment in your smile! They keep your teeth safe as they move into their new positions and help to protect the treatment process, as well. While a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard is your best option as a braces patient, any of the mouthguards we discussed above are a good choice for keeping your smile safe! And of course, any kind of mouthguard is better than no mouthguard at all when you’re 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 finally able to get back out there!
Even with a mouthguard in place, injuries can occasionally happen. If you do experience any sort of trauma while you’re in braces, we recommend contacting our office as soon as possible so Dr. Vermette can advise you on what to do next. Once he understands more about what’s happened, he’ll let you know whether or not an emergency appointment is necessary.
Vermette Orthodontics is all about supporting our patients in all their endeavors, athletic and otherwise. That’s why we offer the first set of retainers and mouthguards at no charge for our active orthodontic patients! Our team is committed to helping you continue to do things you love while you’re in braces, including sports. If you’ve recently had braces put on or aren’t sure how to keep your smile safe as an athlete, reach out to us at any time. We’ll be happy to discuss any concerns you have and go over all your options. You’ll be back on the scoreboard before you know it!