Can You Still Play Sports With Braces?

November 5, 2017

In short, absolutely YES, you can still play sports with braces. But not without a few precautions.

At Utah Orthodontic Care, we care for hundreds of athletes in our offices located throughout the Salt Lake City area. Some are adult patients active in various organized sporting leagues or who play an occasional pick up game with the kids or friends. Others are student athletes involved in club or school sports. While each of these patients has his or her own unique treatment plan that may involve braces, clear aligners or other orthodontic treatment, one thing is consistent – our orthodontic professionals’ desire to protect those pearly whites on the court, field or arena. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.

Playing Sports With Braces Requires a Mouthguard

The doctors at Utah Orthodontic Care recommend a proper-fitting mouthguard to all of their patients who plan to participate in any contact sport. It is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. Mouthguards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions. Since many of our patients are young and have jaws that are still growing and developing, you should be fitted for a new mouthguard every season.

Types of Mouthguards To Protect Braces Teeth

You should discuss your sport with your Utah Orthodontic Care specialist when you get your braces on and before your season begins. Our doctors will discuss the best option for you that will provide the right protection for your teeth and mouth and best prevent injury. Sports injuries in children account for 30% of all oral injuries and the vast majority could be avoided with proper protective gear. The sports that already require a mouthguard – like football, hockey wrestling, and lacrosse- have very little mouth injuries. So if you are playing another team sport that may not require one – like basketball, soccer, baseball or volleyball –  it’s important that you still protect your teeth. Here are the basic types of mouthguards.

  • Custom-fitted. The best mouthguard is one that has been custom-made for your mouth by your Utah Orthodontic Care doctor. They are more expensive than the other versions because they are individually created for fit and comfort.
  • Boil & Bite.These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. Always follow the manufacturer’s’ instructions. CustMbite MVP and CustMbite Pro are a boil and bite mouthguards that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Stock. If you can’t afford a custom-made mouthguard, you can purchase a “stock” mouthguard from the store in a size that most closely fits your mouth and bite. These are inexpensive and come preformed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.

Mouthguard Facts

  • Prior to the National Federation of State High Schools implementing mandatory mouthguards for certain sports, an athlete had more than a 50% chance of sustaining a serious oral and facial injury, after mouthguards were mandated, the oral injury rate dropped below 1%.
  • In children 7-12, baseball has the highest incidence of oral injury.
  • In children 13-17, basketball results in the highest incidence of oral injury.  The head and face accounts for 1/3 of high school basketball injuries.  This is a higher injury incidence than either ankles or knee injuries.
  • The highest overall incidence of sport orofacial injury is in boys age 15-18.

Don’t Let Sports Interfere With Your New Smile

Braces are important for many athletes so they can display that  “winning smile.” Call Utah Orthodontic Care and setup your first free visit and our orthodontic experts will discuss the treatment you need and the best ways to protect your braces using a mouthguard when you play sports. You can choose from several convenient locations from West Valley to West Jordan and all along the I-15 Salt Lake City corridor. Call Book A Free Consultation 801.999.4431 or use our convenient online appointment form to see us soon and get started on the smile you’ve always wanted.