Teens will often have questions about braces and sports. Before undergoing any orthodontic treatment, it’s important to consider how this will impact your whole life. Giving up sports for the duration of an orthodontic journey simply isn’t an option for some young people. Thankfully, there is a solution that will help young athletes to continue with their training without derailing their orthodontics.
Most people are familiar with sports mouth guards. These rubber little shields fit over your mouth and help to protect your teeth and gums in the event of an impact. Not only do they protect the teeth in the event you are hit in the face, but they also help to prevent damage to the tooth root if you are hit in the chin. In many sports, a mouth guard is a requirement, particularly for young people.
How does a mouth guard protect your teeth?
They absorb and distribute the force of impact so that you minimise the risk of cracking a tooth. The most common type of mouth guard fits over the top teeth. They are made of shock-absorbing material like polyethylene vinyl acetate (pEVA). This is a tasteless, odourless, non-toxic material that absorbs impact very well.
Which sports require a mouth guard?
Any contact sport calls for a mouth guard, even if the position you play comes with minimal risk. This includes:
- Basketball and netball
- Martial arts
- Baseball and softball
- Acrobatics and gymnastics
- Equestrian sports
- Skating and skateboarding
All young athletes should be encouraged to wear a mouth guard when playing sports. This is because contact sports carry a high risk of dental injury. According to the British Orthodontic Society, between 13% and 39% of all dental injuries are sports-related. If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment and suffer a dental injury this could complicate your treatment plan or bring it to an end. To avoid this, we recommend investing in a quality custom mouth guard for braces.
Should you wear a mouth guard if you have braces?
Specialist mouth guards for braces are available to help protect your teeth during orthodontic treatment. If you have fixed braces that cannot be removed, you can wear a custom mouth guard that will slip over your braces and feature a groove within the material. This gives plenty of space for the braces while ensuring adequate protection for your teeth.
Those wearing Invisalign or other removable aligners should consider a boil and bite mouth guard which can be adjusted as your teeth move. This is better than removing your aligners every time you play sports. Invisalign aligners and other removable orthodontics need to be worn for 22 hours per day to be effective.
A boil and bite mouth guard for braces like Invisalign will allow you to ensure a continued close fit as your teeth move into the correct position. You’ll only need to reshape the mouth guard every time you change your aligners.
What are the benefits of a custom sports mouth guard?
There are over-the-counter mouth guards available, but these aren’t designed to fit over braces. A custom sports mouth guard is made unique to your teeth and braces so you can feel confident that you’re always protected. If your mouth guard is too loose, you could find it falls out on impact and you won’t know about this design flaw until it’s too late.
How often should you replace a mouth guard for braces?
No mouth guard will last forever, particularly if you bite down on it regularly. You should replace your mouth guard when you have completed your orthodontic treatment as you will need a new mouth guard that fits your newly aligned teeth.
If you are using a boil and bite mouth guard over Invisalign or other removable aligners, you should replace it once it stops being as pliable after boiling. You should also look for signs of wear. If the material is thinning and you can see holes appearing, it’s time to replace your mouth guard.
If you are looking for custom sports mouth guards for braces, get in touch with Sloan Dental today!