Many of our patients love to play sports, whether it’s football, baseball, hockey, or lacrosse. We know how important these sports are to our patients, and we encourage them to get out there and play their best. We also encourage them to do it safely, which means wearing a mouthguard for braces to protect their mouths from severe injury while playing sports.
The team at Smiles by the Bay knows the importance of sports, but we also know the importance of playing sports games safely. That’s why we encourage our patients to wear a mouthguard with braces to protect their mouths during sports. What are we talking about when we say “mouthguards?” We’ll be happy to explain!
What Kinds of Mouthguards Are Available?
There are two main kinds of mouthguards for sports players, including those with braces. The “boil and bite” is available online and through major retailers, including sports retailers. These can be boiled in water and custom-molded around the braces and teeth. The other type is the professionally made mouthguard, which a dentist or orthodontist provides.
The ‘Boil and Bite’ Mouthguard
The boil and bite mouthguard are easy to use. You simply boil the mouthguard until it’s soft, then “bite” to mold it around your teeth and braces. You’ll want the mouthguard to mold well around your teeth and braces, so there is little to no space between the mouthguard and your teeth. Some of the newer ones don’t have to be boiled — you can just pop them into the microwave for a bit to soften them up, then mold them.
Once you have the mouthguard molded well to your teeth and braces, you remove it carefully and allow it to cool and harden. Then, you’re good to go!
Some less-expensive mouthguards have a plain design with a few colors available. Others, such as from brands like Shock Doctor Mouthguards or Game On Mouthguards, allow you to purchase specific designs or customize your mouthguard to bring out your personality.
You can get a hockey mouthguard for braces if you’re a hockey player. If you’re a lacrosse player, you can choose a lacrosse mouthguard for braces. You can even get mouthguards for braces customized for football, baseball, softball, soccer — whatever you love to play! So if you think you have to be stuck with a boring mouthguard, you don’t! There are lots of options available.
The big advantage to these mouthguards is that they can be molded and remolded 2-3 times before they need to be replaced. This is great for braces patients whose teeth move during treatment. It means you don’t have to buy a new mouthguard as often as with a professionally made mouthguard. The downside is that it may not fit as precisely as the professional ones. The problem is that the more space between your mouthguard and your teeth, the better the chances that mouthguard can slam against your teeth and braces and cause damage.
Professionally Made Mouthguards
The other type of mouthguard is custom-made by a dentist or an orthodontist. These are made to fit precisely with your braces and teeth, unlike boil-and-bite mouthguards. They provide top-quality protection for your teeth and braces. Initially, they fit perfectly, and they may be covered by insurance or an HSA or FSA account.
The dentist or orthodontist produces a digital scan of your teeth and braces to create these mouthguards. The mouthguard is made based on those digital scans, so the fit is exact.
The downside is that it won’t take long before the fit isn’t as perfect because braces cause your teeth to move. The more your teeth move, the less the mouthguard will fit properly. Some professionals can adjust the mouthguard to fit again. However, as your treatment progresses, you likely will need a new mouthguard. Over time, these can become costly. While these mouthguards are great for those not undergoing treatment, they may not be the best option for patients still in the midst of braces treatment.
Is a Mouthguard Needed for Sports?
So do you really need a mouthguard for sports? Sure, you might need a mouthguard for braces if you’re playing hockey or football, but do you need a lacrosse mouthguard for braces? The answer is “yes.” Any sports with any kind of projectile can be dangerous for your mouth. If a lacrosse ball hits you in the face at high speed, it’s not going to be any less painful than a football or a hockey puck. It also can do just as much damage because your soft tissue won’t just hit your teeth. Your lips, tongue, and cheeks will hit metal wires and brackets. This can cause cuts and tears you may not get otherwise. That’s why having a mouthguard is so important.
It’s not just the ball or puck that can do damage. Another player’s elbow or head can do just as much damage. The best recommendation is to wear a mouthguard if you play any sport.
If you have more questions about mouthguards with braces, please contact us at Smiles By the Bay at our Annapolis, Kent Island, or Denton, MD, office. We’ll be happy to help!