If your sports equipment includes helmets, kneepads, and shin guards, you may also need to add a mouthguard to that equipment list, especially if you or your child wears orthodontic appliances.
Three million teeth a year are injured and lost during children’s sporting events. Wearing a mouthguard goes a long way in preventing damage to your teeth, lips and gums and may minimize impact on injuries resulting in concussions. In fact, athletes who wear mouthguards while playing sports are 60 times less likely to damage their teeth than those who don’t wear one.
Still not convinced. Here’s some more information that we at Lansdowne Orthodontics think you should know about mouthguards and orthodontics.
When should you wear a mouthguard?
In some high-contact sports such as boxing, martial arts, football, and hockey, mouthguards are mandatory. But it’s a good idea to wear one in any contact sport such as soccer, volleyball, baseball, basketball, and bicyling, as well. Mouthguards should be worn at any activity that has the potential for contact, falls or injury.
If you wear orthodontic appliances, it’s especially important to wear a mouthguard when playing sports. Without a mouthguard, a blow to the face can damage your brackets and wires in addition to possibly damaging your teeth. A mouthguard also protects your tongue, gums, lips, and cheeks from getting pinched from an injury and bleeding.
For those who wear or used to wear orthodontic appliances, there are only two types of mouthguards that Lansdowne Orthodontics recommends. While you’re wearing braces, a basic mouthguard helps protect your teeth and mouth. After your orthodontic appliances are removed, a custom mouthguard is the best way to protect your corrected bite and teeth.
During orthodontic treatment, your teeth are repositioned incrementally and require a basic mouthguard that loosely fits over your braces. A custom mouthguard is not appropriate while your teeth are still transitioning to their correct position.
The basic mouthguard helps to protect your cheeks, lips, and teeth. You may be tempted to wear a store-bought boil-and-bite mouthguard for convenience, but if you wear orthodontic appliances, you should never use one of these.
Custom-made mouthguards for completed ortho treatment
The most comfortable type of mouthguard — and the one that offers the best protection for completed orthodontic work — is a custom-made mouthguard. A custom-made mouthguard is, as the name suggests, made to specifically fit your mouth and teeth and amount of impact related to your sport.
These custom mouthguards are available only through a dentist or orthodontist. If you wear a retainer for maintenance, leave it on the bench. Don’t wear it for contact sports.
For more information on basic and custom-made mouthguards and how they can make playing contact sports safer this spring and summer, contact us at Lansdowne Orthodontics.