For sports fans, fall is one of the best times of the year. We’ve got Friday night lights, fall ball, soccer, the start of the NBA season, and so much more! If you’re on a school or community team and are gearing up for some autumn game time, you may be worried that getting braces put on will keep you stuck on the sidelines. For patients who participate in sports regularly, this is a common concern. Here at Craig & Streight Orthodontics, we treat a number of athletes are afraid that undergoing orthodontic treatments will mean missing the action on the track, field, or court. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth! 

With braces treatment from Craig & Streight, you’ll still be able to participate in athletics as normal throughout the orthodontic process. Don’t believe us? Take it from the pros! From Dwight Howard to Venus Williams to Cristiano Ronaldo, there are a number of professional athletes who have straightened their smile without giving up a single game. While you may not need to hang up your jersey just yet, you will need to be careful with your braces to avoid damaging them, or injuring your teeth or mouth. That goes double for anyone who regularly plays contact sports! To learn about the #1 way to protect your braces and your smile while playing the sports you love, keep reading below.

Sports-related injuries in braces patients

It’s not uncommon for an athlete to experience injuries to the mouth and jaw area. In fact, this is one of the most common areas for injury among people who participate in sports regularly. That’s why it becomes extra important to protect your smile if you’re a sports-player in braces. A fixed orthodontic appliance like braces increases your risk of oral injuries, especially those that are incurred from your mouth or your braces being hit by a ball or another player. These injuries are may not be life-threatening, but they can be very painful, cause serious damage, and may be costly to fix. In our braces patients who play sports, we have seen injuries like:

  • lacerations to the cheeks, lips, and tongue
  • chipped or broken teeth
  • dislocation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • root fractures.

The brackets and wires braces are constructed to add another element to these kinds of injuries. Bent wires and broken brackets are not unusual, and these can cut or otherwise injure the inside of your mouth during a collision. When it comes to protecting your teeth, mouth, and braces while participating in physical activity, the absolute best option is a mouthguard. Although we strongly encourage our braces patients to invest in an orthodontic model, even a basic mouthguard will provide some level of protection.

mouthguard

More about orthodontic mouthguards

Mouthguards are easily accessible, simple to use, and highly effective at preventing damage and injury to your braces and mouth. While they are especially useful for high-contact sports like football or hockey, we recommend you wear one even if you only participate in light contact or low-impact sports, too. It only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces to irritate your mouth, or to cause small cuts and abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

If you plan to regularly play sports throughout your orthodontic journey, an orthodontic mouthguard is an excellent investment in your oral health. These are designed specifically to be used with braces, and are made from a high-grade silicone that will help cushion your lips. This keeps them from being bumped against your teeth and braces, protects the brackets from any impact-related damage, and can stop your lips getting caught in your braces (which is exactly as painful as it sounds!) Orthodontic mouthguards can sometimes be a little bit larger than non-orthodontic models, but the silicone makes them just as comfortable to wear.

Some orthodontic mouthguards, including brands like Shock Doctor and Tapout, are designed to adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment. Essentially, these models will re-mold to them multiple times as they begin to shift into their new positions, adjusting themselves based on your current bite. These are a particularly helpful option for athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment! Most orthodontic mouthguards come in affordable strapped or unstrapped styles, and can often be found in major sporting goods stores. However, our doctors are happy to recommend and order one for you based on your specific needs, if you’d prefer going through our practice.

Football player using a mouthguard

Play on the safe side with Craig & Streight Orthodontics

If you’re a sports-playing braces patient here at Craig & Streight, we strongly recommend investing in an orthodontic mouthguard to keep your teeth and mouth protected throughout the fall season – and beyond! These will not only shield your teeth as they move into their new permanent positions, but they will also protect the orthodontic process itself. Although an orthodontic mouthguard is optimal, we encourage you to wear any mouthguard over no mouthguard at all.

Should you happen to receive an injury to your teeth or mouth, get in touch with your general dentist’s office ASAP. He or she will be able to diagnose if you have any tooth damage, including root or jaw bone fractures. Once you’ve been assessed by your dentist, get in touch with our office so Dr. Craig or Dr. Streight can determine if any part of your braces needs to be replaced or repaired as well.

Getting braces doesn’t have to mean giving up the sports you love! We’re committed to providing you with the best orthodontic experience possible, from your first visit to your last. That includes helping you continue to participate in any athletics you normally would as we straighten your smile. If you have any questions or concerns about how best to protect your braces and your smile as an athlete, we’re happy to talk them through with you. Get in touch with us anytime you need further information or even just a bit of encouragement!