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Sports and Braces: How to Keep Your Smile Safe

By March 10, 2020Blog

So you just got braces and you’re well on your way to your brand new smile. You’ve got a lot to look forward to! You also probably have a lot of questions about how to take care of your braces and how your new hardware will fit into your regular life. For many of our more active Greer and Simpsonville orthodontic patients, one of the first questions they have is whether they can still play sports with braces. The short answer is yes, you can absolutely enjoy all your favorite activities throughout your orthodontic treatment. The long answer is that there are a few rules to playing sports with braces. Here, Davis Orthodontics tells you everything you need to know.

How to Protect Your Braces When Playing Sports

Adjusting to life with braces can be a huge learning curve. Between learning what you can and cannot eat, and developing more diligent oral hygiene routines, you may need to adjust your lifestyle in certain ways. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sidelines of your usual physical activities — it just means you need to be smart about keeping your braces safe during sports.

Believe it or not, an estimated five million teeth get knocked out during sporting events each year. That’s a whole lot of lost teeth! Contact sports (like hockey or football) and sports where you’re at risk of getting hit in the face (such as baseball or basketball) could cause damage to your braces, which also puts your pearly whites in harm’s way. At Davis Orthodontics, our number one goal is to give you a strong, healthy smile, so we recommend you always wear an orthodontic mouthguard when playing sports with braces. It’s the only guaranteed way to make sure your teeth stay where they belong: in your mouth! It’ll also protect your teammates and opponents from getting nicked by your braces, and that’s just good sportsmanship.

What is an Orthodontic Mouthguard?

Orthodontic mouthguards are special mouthguards designed specifically for people with braces. Like regular mouthguards, an orthodontic mouthguard softens the blow to your mouth to protect your teeth, gums, lips and cheeks in the event of contact. They’re made from silicone and are generally larger than regular mouthguards to allow space to accommodate your braces.

You can buy an orthodontic mouthguard at any sporting goods store or you can pick one up at our Simpsonville or Greer orthodontic office. But while these over-the-counter mouthguards get the job done, they’re not as effective as a custom orthodontic mouthguard made by an orthodontist. A custom mouthguard is tailor-made for your mouth and braces, meaning it’s built to last. Since your teeth are constantly moving during treatment with braces, having a mouthguard that accounts for those changes is the best way to protect your braces during sports.

What to Do If You Damage Your Braces While Playing Sports

We get it. Even when you know you should wear a mouthguard with braces, sometimes you might find yourself wondering what’s the worst that could happen if you go without. We don’t mean to scare you, but if you don’t wear your orthodontic mouthguard during sports, you could break a tooth or bracket, get a tooth knocked out, or cause bleeding or damage to your gums. You’ll need to make an emergency appointment with your dentist (or a trip to the emergency room) to make sure everything is okay. We also understand that accidents can still happen even when you take all the necessary precautions, but wearing your mouthguard for sports will significantly reduce your risk of injury.

First things first: if you or your child sustain a dental injury while playing sports, don’t panic. Then act fast and seek treatment as soon as possible. If a tooth gets knocked out during a sporting activity, you’ll want to get to a dentist straight away. The sooner you see your dentist, the better your chances of saving the tooth. If your gums won’t stop bleeding or if you think there might be a fracture, go directly to the hospital. Once the issue has been resolved, it’s time to call Dr. Buddy to fix up any damage to your braces or orthodontic mouthguard.

Protecting your teeth and braces during physical activities is super easy. All you have to do is pop in a mouthguard and you’re free to hit the field, court or rink. And as you can see, it’s simply not worth the risk to play sports without a mouthguard when you have braces. Still have questions about how to keep your teeth safe during sports? Your Greer and Simpsonville orthodontist is always here to help.