Regardless if you are a child, teen, or adult who wears braces and plays sports, it’s important that you protect that investment you’ve made in your quest for the perfect smile. The reason is simple: mouth injuries are common in many sports.
For starters, any sports-playing, braces wearer should first and foremost wear a mouthguard if playing a sport where the possibility of a hit to the mouth exists. But don’t choose just any mouthguard. Your Forest & Ray orthodontic experts recommend an orthodontic mouthguard as this is particularly suitable for braces-wearing athletes.
What Is an Orthodontic Mouth Guard?
Unlike sports mouthguards which are made of hard plastic which could still cause damage to your teeth during impact, an orthodontic mouthguard is made from silicone which is more comfortable to wear. Not only does the orthodontic mouth guard prevent your lips from bumping up against your teeth, it also protects the brackets of your braces.
These mouthguards are designed to be larger than the traditional sports mouth guard in order to have more space for the braces and protect not only your braces, but your teeth, gums and jaw. Don’t try to use your old mouth guard in place of this orthodontic one. Most likely it won’t fit, but even if it does, it can cause serious damage if you get hit in your mouth while wearing it. Why risk delaying your treatment or worse irreversible damage to your teeth and mouth?
You can get an orthodontic mouthguard at any sporting goods store or order it directly from your orthodontist. Needless to say, you may begin your search on the Internet as well. There are a variety of types to choose from so you will have no problem finding one that meets your budget and needs. But when it comes to braces protection, don’t skimp. While you can get an over the counter version of a boil and bite mouthguard, as your teeth shift during treatment, it won’t fit as well which means it won’t be as effective in protecting your teeth. The benefit of choosing to get it from your orthodontist is that she will make an impression of your mouth that will be used to make the mouthguard. This way it will fit your mouth perfectly.
How to Care For Your Mouth Guard
Cleaning your mouthguard is similar to if you have a retainer or Invisalign aligners. It is important that you clean it every day because bacteria and fungi can grow on it if not cared for properly.
Most orthodontic mouthguards can be cleaned with toothpaste or rinsed with an anti-microbial solution. Get in the habit of cleaning them before and after you wear them to keep them the freshest and always keep them in their case while you are not wearing them.
If your mouthguard starts to get cracks from overuse or gets damaged by impact, you will need to replace it right away. Always keep your orthodontist abreast of what is going on.
Injured While Wearing Braces? What To Do
If you hurt your mouth while playing sports and are wearing braces at the time, don’t hesitate to call our orthodontist right away and describe what happened. We will let you know if an emergency appointment is necessary. Common injuries include broken brackets, bleeding gums and fractured or dislodged teeth. Remember that any trauma to the mouth that is left untreated can lead to complications in your treatment and overall dental health.
Besides correcting the damage done to your mouth and braces, our orthodontist will also inspect the mouth guard to make sure it is still in good shape after the impact. If it is a really serious injury, go right to the emergency room. They will have an on-call dentist who can help triage the situation and then you can see your orthodontist later for follow-up care.