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Keeping Your Braces and Mouth Safe While Playing Contact Sports

One of the biggest concerns about braces, especially among athletic teens, is that they will keep you on the side-lines during sport. The good news is, there’s no reason that wearing braces should limit you from giving it your all on the field. The team at The Orthodontic Hub wants you to enjoy your favourite sports during treatment – just take a couple extra precautions and you can easily protect your mouth and braces.

Mouth and jaw trauma are a reality of contact sports

When it comes to contact sports, mouth and jaw trauma are among the most common injuries. These can include:

• cheek, tongue or lip wounds
• chipped teeth
• knocked out teeth
• dislocated/broken jaws

Why protection is essential when you have braces

While protecting your mouth during sport is always important, add braces to the mix and you have another layer of concern. While they can cut the inside of your mouth, the braces themselves can also get damaged during a collision. Repairing and replacing the damaged wires or brackets of your braces can often come at an inconvenient time and if not done promptly can affect the positions of teeth.

Mouthguards during orthodontic treatment

The good news is, there’s a very effective, simple and affordable way to protect your braces and your mouth at the same time: wear a mouthguard. Most players on the field will be wearing a mouthguard, so you won’t stand out. The difference is you will need a mouthguard that can fit around your braces.

Sometimes a ‘boil and bite’ basic mouthguard can be sufficient (we can always help you adjust these for a better fit). Other times a more orthodontic specific mouthguard will be advised. These mouthguards can provide a closer fit, better cushioning for your lips and provide added protection for your teeth, jaw joints and braces.

High and low contact sports need mouthguards

It’s an obvious choice when you’re playing a high contact sport like rugby or hockey, but what about lower impact games? Orthodontists recommend wearing a mouthguard even when contact is less common – think netball, basketball, volleyball and squash – because even a small bump to the mouth can cause lasting damage and prolong your time in braces.

What to do when injuries happen

Even with the best protection, sports injuries happen. If you wear braces or aligners and sustain trauma to the mouth or jaws it is best to book an appointment with your orthodontist as soon as you can to make sure your teeth and braces have not been damaged. If teeth are loosened, there is bleeding, there have been significant breakages, or you cannot get hold of your orthodontist, book in with a local emergency dentist or go to the hospital emergency department – it’s better to be safe than sorry and prompt management is always best.

Talk to our orthodontists about a mouthguard

Orthodontic mouthguards are safe, comfortable, affordable and effective ways to stay safe during sport. There are a variety available – speak to The Orthodontic Hub in Mt Maunganui, who cater to the wider Tauranga region, or The Orthodontic Hub in Whakatane.

If you are one of our current orthodontic patients, a perk of finishing your braces or aligner treatment with us is a custom-made mouthguard to properly protect your new smile.

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