Sports are a big part of many teenagers’ lives. However, orthodontic braces are also a part of life for many teenagers. Unless you are a competitive corn-on-the-cob eater, braces will not affect your athletic performance, but they could increase the risk and severity of a mouth injury. For example, if an athlete is hit in the mouth with a ball, traditional braces (which consist of metal brackets and wires attached to the teeth) can cut the inside of the mouth. Here are four things to keep in mind when playing sports with braces.
Mouth guards are common to many sports, especially ones where contact is common. Did you know you could get a mouth guard specifically designed to accommodate an athlete with braces? These mouth guards function just like a regular mouth guard does, but are also designed to fit over your braces, protecting the inside of your mouth from the sharp brackets in addition to protecting your teeth. Mouthguards designed for athletes with braces are readily available online or at your local sporting goods store for about the same cost as a normal mouth guard. Some sports, like football, will require participants to wear a mouthguard regardless of if they have braces. If you do wear braces, you might consider wearing a mouthguard while participating in sports where mouth guards are not typically worn. Impact to the mouth is possible or even common in sports like Ultimate Frisbee, Baseball, Soccer, and even some events in Track and Field. Wearing a mouthguard in virtually any sport where impact to the mouth is possible is an easy way to help prevent painful mouth injuries while you have braces. The American Dental Association actually recommends participants of 29 sports ranging from weightlifting to racquetball wear a mouthguard, regardless of whether a participant wears braces.
A mouthguard is designed to protect your teeth and your mouth, not necessarily your braces. It is not uncommon for an impact on the mouth to separate a bracket from a tooth, and this does not mean the mouthguard was not doing its’ job. Broken brackets are not uncommon, but if you do have a bracket break contact Edge Orthodontics in Provo and get it repaired as soon as possible. You can use orthodontic wax to prevent any discomfort caused by the broken bracket while you wait for it to be repaired.
Depending on your treatments needs, Invisalign may be an appropriate alternative to traditional braces. Patients with Invisalign wear a removable clear plastic aligner that does not create the same risk of mouth injury that traditional braces do. Talk to Provo Orthodontist Dr. Christiansen at Edge Orthodontics to learn more about Invisalign and how they compare to traditional braces.
Change in Sports
Some sports like Mixed-Martial Arts, Boxing, or Wrestling are best left alone until after your braces are off. These sports involve almost certain and frequent blows to the mouth, and even with a great mouth guard these sports are going to be really hard on your mouth and on your braces. Even if you can float like a butterfly, it is unlikely that you be able to avoid every possible bracket-breaking blow. Breaking brackets daily is likely to stall your treatment, and who wants to have braces forever? If boxing or something similar is your thing, strongly consider taking a break from those sports and focus on other athletic pursuits while you are getting your perfect smile.
Enjoy your Life!
Participating in sports is a great way to have fun, make friends, and get exercise. Don’t let your braces slow you down!