With little information, some people may immediately assume that it will be hard to participate in sports activities when you’ve got braces on. But getting braces should not limit you from doing what you love, or pursuing your interests.
In the previous decades, it’s probably a bad idea to mix braces and sports. But with modern technology ever evolving and making most things convenient and possible, it should be easier to manage this today.
New Braces Dilemma
In the initial phase of the brace treatment, the orthodontist may advise you against any sports activity, only because the first few weeks after the braces are set will leave your teeth and gums sore. You will need time to adjust to this, as a simple activity like eating can bring pain and discomfort. Unless the sport in question is a game of chess, you can’t risk adding more pain, and possibly even injury, with your newly fitted braces.
Your orthodontist is the best person to give you the go signal for when you can already engage in sports. Since braces are required to be tightened and adjusted in between treatments, there may be times you would need to slow down with playing and participating again, and then wait for the soreness to go away.
Mouth Guards or Lip Protectors
With any physically demanding sports activity — such as basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer — wearing a mouth guard or a lip protector is necessary, so as to protect the teeth, braces and the mouth. Those who are actively into fitness sports and bodybuilding at the gym may also need to wear mouth guards when they are doing their routines, just to be on the safe side.
There are different types of mouth guards you can wear. But if you don’t know the appropriate ones to get, you can always ask your orthodontist about it. Some of them can even custom fit this, which can be really advantageous to you.
Why Use Mouth Guards and Lip Protectors?
Obviously, protectors are necessary so that you don’t bring any damage to your teeth and braces when you are playing a game. With mouth guards especially, the braces are extra secure. This is because it’s covered with a layer that acts like a cushion and takes all the pressure and impact of anything that may come towards your jaw and mouth, as is usually the case with contact sports. Having them on while you play keeps your mind at ease, that even when your mouth gets hit by a ball, or bumped by an elbow, there won’t be any damage.
Types of Mouth Guards and Lip Protectors
- Stock. These are readily available and may be bought at any sporting goods store. You just have to find the right fit.
- Custom Made. This is especially fitted for your mouth. The orthodontist may do the fitting herself, by taking your dental impressions, and then molding this using a special tool. She will then have a professional make the guard at a laboratory with her instructions. Custom-made pieces are usually a lot more expensive than stock types, especially if there are special materials needed to make this.
- Thermoplastic. This type is clear and looks like jelly. Others who have tried this say that thermoplastic mouth protectors are more comfortable to wear. Since it is malleable, it can really follow the shape of your teeth set and mouth.
Do remember that any damage to the braces can set back the treatment to a few weeks or months. On top of additional expenses you have to pay because of the damages that will require re-adjustment and repair, you will also incur injury and pain from accidentally breaking your braces while playing. Thus, it would be more prudent to spend for a mouth guard than to deal with these types of consequences later on.