Are you looking forward to a Spring and Summer full of sports and outdoor activities? There are endless ways for adults, teens, and children to get moving during the warmer weather. Whether you’re involved in professional or recreational activities, you may be wondering how your braces will fit into your seasonal plans.

As an orthodontic practice, one question parents ask us all the time is, “Can my child play sports safely while wearing braces?” While this is important for children and teens, adults who wear braces may want to consider the activities they are involved in as well. Yes, you can wear braces during athletics, but how do you protect your smile?

Protecting Your Braces and Your Teeth

To maintain your current orthodontic treatment plan, it is essential to protect your smile while playing sports. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to limit your activity choices because you have braces. Proper orthodontic mouth guards designed by our experts at Top Nova Orthodontics have helped children and adults alike continue participating in the athletics they love.

The Benefits of a Quality Mouthguard

The AAO, or American Association of Orthodontics, reveals that 84 percent of children and teens do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports because they are not required.

Mouth guards are one of the most affordable protective equipment investments available for any and all sports. Mouth guards don’t just preserve your teeth; they also protect your jaw during heavy contact. Athletes who wear braces have a higher risk of mouth injuries due to broken braces and lacerations. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontics estimates that wearing mouth guard could prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.

Anyone who participates in contact sports (both children and adults), including lacrosse, boxing, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, volleyball, baseball, football, or wrestling, should wear a mouth guard. Those participating in specific recreational activities and non-contact sports including skateboarding, gymnastics, and mountain biking, could also benefit from wearing a mouth guard.

Choosing the Right Mouth Guard

Mouth guards are available at most sporting goods stores. They are commonly referred to as “boil-n-bites.” To form the mouth guard to your teeth, simply soften the mouth guard in boiling water. While the material is still warm place the mouth guard in your mouth and bite down gently. As the material cools, it will form a mold around your teeth.

Mouth guards vary significantly in cost and comfort, but all types of oral protection should be easy to use and clean, durable, tear resistant, resilient, and not restrictive of your breathing or speech.

The American Dental Association recommends that orthodontic patients wear a top mouth guard throughout all athletic activity. Talk with your orthodontist at Top Nova Orthodontics to find out if you need a mouth guard to cover your lower teeth as well.

What if I get injured while wearing braces?

Injury to your mouth, while you are wearing braces, can be scary if you don’t know what to do. The most common mouth injuries are to the gums, teeth, lips, jaw, tongue and inner cheeks. If you see a lot of blood, it’s important not to panic. Mouth injuries tend to look a lot worse than they really are. The first thing you will want to do is clean up the area, stop the bleeding, and assess the damage.

Teeth Injury

Teeth injuries don’t just mean getting your tooth knocked out, but could also describe a loose, chipped, or cracked tooth. If a tooth does get knocked out, it’s important to contact our experts at Top Nova Orthodontics right away. If the tooth is still in good condition our orthodontist may be able to replant the tooth into its sockets. When you have braces, this could be a bit more complicated, but it’s essential to save the tooth. Work with your orthodontist on what you should do to get the tooth back where it needs to be, as well as the brackets and wires fixed.

Soft Tissue Damage

Some mouth injuries can lead to soft tissue damage, rather than a damaged tooth. If you receive an impact to the face while wearing braces, your cheeks and lips could suffer tearing.  Ice should be applied immediately to the area to reduce swelling. Don’t worry if there’s a lot of blood as long as it slows down; this is a part of the healing process.

Unless there is a large gash, most soft tissue damage will heal on its own. However, if the edges of your skin do not come together, you may need to visit an oral surgeon for stitches. If you do get an injury to your mouth or braces while playing a sport, it’s important to give our office a call as soon as possible. From there, we can recommend whether or not your injury requires an emergency appointment.

How Top Nova Orthodontics Can Help

If you wear braces and are also involved in athletics, the very best thing you can do is to protect your braces and teeth before an incident occurs. Remember, even if your sport doesn’t involve substantial contact, injuries can and do happen.

A professional mouth guard can make the difference between staying on track with your orthodontic goals and obtaining a potentially dangerous injury that could extend the time you are required to wear braces. For the very best protection, Top Nova Orthodontics provides mouth guards that are specifically designed to fit over your braces and teeth. Contact our office in either Sterling or Ashburn Virginia today to learn more!