As an athlete, a mouthguard might be a regular part of your uniform. But you just got braces and you are worried these may keep you sitting on the sideline this season. The good news is, that’s not the case. However, you will need to make some adjustments for your braces when it comes to your mouthguard. You have made the investment in your teeth with braces, so you need to protect that investment and your teeth with an orthodontic mouthguard.
How a Mouthguard Protects Your Teeth
Mouthguards are a soft, flexible dental appliance that fits over your teeth and gums. They are designed to provide a cushion for your teeth and jawbones when you sustain a hit or sudden impact to your mouth and head.
Mouthguards come in three main varieties: stock, boil and bite, and custom fit. Stock mouthguards are a one-size-fits-all option and you can find them at your local sporting goods store. Unfortunately, these don’t usually fit well and do not provide a good level of protection. Boil and bite are similar except you can custom fit these slightly by placing them in boiling water to soften the material before biting down with your teeth. Custom-fit mouthguards are made from a mold of your teeth and provide the best protection.
Unfortunately, when it comes to braces, not all of these options work well, or at all.
Braces Make Your Mouthguard Needs a Little Different
Mouthguards are made to fit against your teeth to provide protection. When you have braces, you have brackets and wires on the surface of your teeth, blocking the normal fit of your mouthguard. In addition to that, the idea of braces is to move your teeth, so custom-fit mouthguards will not continue to fit as the braces change your alignment.
When you have braces, stock mouthguards are an option as, in most cases, they allow enough room for the brackets. Unfortunately, they do not provide great protection. In addition, because they do not fit around the teeth correctly, they can increase the risk of damage to the teeth and braces when hit.
Boil and bite guards work well with braces because you can customize the guard during your orthodontic treatment. However, you will need to make a new mouthguard on a regular basis as your alignment changes.
Custom guards are usually best, but again, because your dental alignment is changing on a regular basis with braces, custom-fit mouthguards also pose a problem. A custom-fit mouthguard can produce pressure against the braces, extending your treatment time. And regular replacement mouthguards during treatment can get expensive.
So, you may be confused at this point. We said at the beginning that braces wouldn’t sideline you, but we just said none of the main mouthguard types is a great fit for braces. So, what do you do now?
The answer is an orthodontic custom-fit mouthguard.
Custom-fit orthodontic mouthguards are made by your orthodontist, similar to how regular custom-fit mouthguards are. However, in this case, the mouthguards are made to allow room for the braces, as well as the regular movement of the teeth. They still fit snug and keep your teeth and braces protected. But, because they allow the room for alignment changes, you do not need to replace them due to changes.
If you are an athlete required to wear a mouthguard, talk to your orthodontist about a custom-fit orthodontic mouthguard. This is your best protective option.
SportingSmiles Offers Custom-Fit Mouthguards for after Braces
While SportingSmiles does not offer orthodontic mouthguards at this time, we are your home for custom-fit mouthguards after the orthodontist removes your braces. Keeping your teeth protected after braces is important and we offer custom-fit mouthguards at a fraction of the cost. In addition, we also offer custom-fit retainers, perfect for keeping your teeth in place after braces. For more information, visit our Athletic Mouth Guards and Orthodontic Retainers pages.