Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury and your brain from concussion. If you participate in contact sports or any activity that is likely to result in a blow to the teeth or jaw, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.
Types of mouthguards
Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the "boil-and-bite" fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your orthodontist.
Pre-made mouthguards and boil-and-bite mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores. These are often unsuitable for patients with braces but can be formed easily around retainers or aligners. Custom made mouthguards are specially designed by your orthodontist to provide protection. If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear a mouthguard during contact sports. Your doctor can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.
Taking care of your mouthguard
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:
- Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- If you wear braces, your dentist will help design a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes; ask your orthodontist which is best for you.
- Bring your mouthguard to each orthodontic visit so your orthodontist can check to make sure it's still in good shape!
Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are common. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile. Be sure to let Dr. Bruno or a staff member know well ahead of time when you will need a mouthguard. They usually require a week or so to produce.