Orthodontics and Sports: How to Protect Your Smile

Playing sports with metal braces Carmel IN orthodontists

Playing sports or being active in some respect is essential if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, sports also introduce potential risks to our physical well-being, including our oral health. For individuals undergoing orthodontic treatment, such as metal braces or Invisalign® aligners, our Carmel, IN, orthodontists recommend safeguarding your smile against these risks by using protective wear.

Here are ways you can safely engage in contact sports while wearing braces.

Orthodontic Appliances & Their Vulnerability

Although durable, your braces are inherently vulnerable during sports. The brackets and wires of braces, as well as the delicate aligners, can be negatively affected by impact or trauma. For example, a blow to the face during a game can potentially dislodge brackets, bend wires, or damage the integrity of your aligners.

Such orthodontic emergencies not only interrupt your treatment’s progress but might also cause a fair amount of discomfort. Additionally, injuries to the mouth can lead to more severe consequences for athletes with orthodontic appliances. Your protection of both the investment you made in orthodontic treatment and your overall oral health becomes imperative to avoid undue setbacks.

The Importance of Mouthguards

Sports mouthguards emerge as essential allies in the quest to keep smiles safe during sports. These custom-fitted devices act as a barrier between the teeth and potential impacts, significantly reducing the risk of oral injuries. For athletes with braces or clear aligners, a mouthguard creates a buffer zone that helps cushion the mouth against direct hits.

While over-the-counter options are available, custom-made mouthguards are the preferred choice, as they offer a precise fit over orthodontic appliances, ensuring optimal protection.

Choosing the Right Mouthguard

When it comes to choosing a mouthguard, athletes have several options to consider. Personalized mouthguards, crafted to fit an individual’s specific oral anatomy, provide superior comfort and protection. Their tailored design ensures that they fit snugly over braces, brackets, or aligners, effectively minimizing the risk of dislodgement or damage.

As mentioned above, mouthguards found at the store might not offer the same level of customization and fit, potentially compromising their protective capabilities. If you’re an athlete or you’d like to get into a sport, please consult with Dr. Davila or Dr. Hani so we can help you explore custom mouthguard options that align with your treatment plan.

Other Protective Measures

While mouthguards play a pivotal role in shielding your smile and orthodontic appliances, there are additional ways athletes can increase their safety. Depending on the nature of the sport, wearing helmets, face shields, or goggles can provide an extra layer of defense against potential facial and dental injuries.

Helmets are particularly important in contact sports like football or hockey, where collisions can occur frequently. A well-fitted helmet not only guards your head but also shields your mouth and braces from direct impacts. Having face shields and protective eyewear in place, on the other hand, prove invaluable in sports that involve flying objects or high speeds, such as basketball, baseball, or cycling. These accessories work to defend your eyes, nose, and mouth, further minimizing your risk of getting hurt.

Incorporating these additional protective measures demonstrates a proactive commitment to your oral health and the integrity of your orthodontic treatment. Moreover, open communication with your coaches and teammates about your orthodontic appliances can lead to increased awareness and support, fostering an environment that prioritizes safety.

Prioritize Smile Protection While Playing

By taking proper precautions and understanding the significance of protective gear, our orthodontists in Carmel, IN, believe that athletes can ensure their treatment progresses smoothly while avoiding unnecessary setbacks. Call WestClay Orthodontics today at (317) 593-1400 to request an appointment and discuss your options for staying safe while wearing braces.