With summer months winding down and Fall around the corner, that means many sports are in full swing. That also means more opportunities for people wearing braces to damage their orthodontics, teeth, and mouths. Wearing braces should not stop you from participating in the activities you enjoy, but there are some precautions you should take to protect the investment in your smile.
Depending on the sport you play, it’s most likely smart to wear a mouth guard so your braces don’t cut your mouth. It also helps protect your teeth, jaw, and braces from damage. Mouth guards may not be necessary for light contact sports, but heavy contact sports definitely warrant them. Examples of these include football, basketball, soccer, and hockey. Individual sports are dangerous to your mouth too, like gymnastics and skateboarding.
Mouth guards are made of durable plastic and fit comfortably over your braces. They protect your teeth and soft tissues inside your mouth, and greatly reduce the severity of a dental injury. A properly fitted mouth guard provides a barrier between your braces and your cheek and lips, as well as a barrier between the external source and your teeth. If you’re uncertain what type of mouth guard is best for you, consult your dental care provider for advice.
If you do suffer a dental or facial injury while playing sports, examine your mouth and appliances right away. See your dentist or orthodontist as soon as possible if your teeth are loose or the appliances are damaged. Also, make sure you’re aware of the office policies on emergency services just in case you need help outside of normal business hours.
Don’t think you’re off the hook for dental injuries if you wear braces as an adult. Many trauma injuries occur in weekend athletes. Whatever your age or sport, remember to protect your smile by wearing the correct protective equipment for your mouth.