Millions of Americans use braces to correct orthodontic issues like teeth gaps and misalignments. That includes adults and kids of all ages! When orthodontic treatment begins early in life, it means that the teeth can be gently eased into a healthy alignment that will support long-term health.
The bite force of the human jaw is surprisingly strong, and all that force has to go somewhere. Teeth that are straight have the potential to last longer and wear down less. They are also less prone to incidents like chipping and cracking, which can gradually undermine the structure of teeth.
Braces have been around for a long time. They are extremely effective. Compared to newer clear plastic aligners, braces are also best for the most serious orthodontic problems. All in all, braces provided by a trusted Port Orange orthodontist are a great way to support overall health and wellness.
But that doesn’t mean kids need to completely change their lifestyle!
Yes, there are some foods that are off limits when you have braces. But you don’t need to make a lot of big changes, such as avoiding competitive sports. Kids of any age, playing at any level of competition (or just for fun!) can get out there on the field and bring their all while they wear braces.
Naturally, it’s important to wear the right protective equipment for any sport.
And when you have braces, that equipment should include a mouthguard.
An Athletic Mouthguard Is a Good Move With or Without Braces
What is a mouthguard? An athletic mouthguard, sports guard, or mouth protector is a device worn over the teeth to protect them while playing sports. They are usually worn on top of the upper teeth and can protect the athlete from injury to the mouth, lips, teeth, and soft tissue.
Most mouthguards are made out of a soft plastic material. They can come pre-packaged in some stock sizes, or they can be partially customized. Customized mouthguards are called boil and bite because you boil the plastic mouthguard, then have the user bite into it so it’ll form around the teeth.
Much more rarely, mouthguards are made specifically for an individual by a dentist or orthodontist. This kind of mouthguard offers the most protection but requires a little bit more investment. It’s necessary to keep this mouthguard clean and avoid damaging it between games.
Even though some mouthguards are more protective than others, any mouthguard is better than none!
Among high school athletes, the most harmful facial injuries take place when no mouthguard is being worn. A mouthguard absorbs the shock of a fall or impact, so accidents are less likely to have lasting repercussions. Teeth are much less likely to be chipped, cracked, or fall out.
The Role of Mouthguards for Kids and Teens Who Wear Braces
Mouthguards are especially helpful for anyone who wears braces. An accidental fall or collision with another player can cause serious damage to braces. Wires may be bent out of place and ties may snap.
Once in place, any kind of damage to braces can be repaired by your local Port Orange orthodontist. But damage that happens as the result of a sports accident tends to be more severe. Broken wires could be left with sharp, protruding ends that are more likely to cause cuts inside the mouth.
This constitutes an emergency, and you should call your orthodontist right away.
A mouthguard makes the difference. What could have been a game-ending situation with a rush to your orthodontist becomes something you can easily walk away from. The mouthguard absorbs most of the impact to the mouth – of course, the coach or another qualified adult should check on any injuries.
Clear Plastic Aligners Offer an Alternative, But Mouthguards Are Still Best
Some older teens have the opportunity to use clear plastic aligners instead of braces.
Fashion-conscious teens love these aligners because they are so discreet. It might be impossible for anyone to tell that you wear them. But they are much less resilient to impact than metal braces. If cracked or shattered, a whole new set will need to be fabricated in their place.
Because of the time and expense involved in replacing clear aligners, parents usually instruct their teens to remove them when they’re on the court or field. Aligners are not meant to provide any protection, so it’s best for them to be out of the way.
Teens can remove their clear aligners for games as long as they remember to clean them and put them back in afterward. Most patients of any age will need to wear their plastic aligners for at least 20 hours every day in order to see the desired results.
Generally, teens shouldn’t wear mouthguards over their plastic aligners. They should remove the aligners and leave them somewhere safe (typically at home the morning of the game). During play, young athletes should opt for a sports mouthguard sized to fit their mouth.
Parents and Coaches Alike Approve of Athletic Mouthguards for Safety
Mouthguards are now being used by high school athletics programs all over the country. Most of these programs allow parents to purchase a custom mouthguard or use a “boil and bite” mouthguard as long as it has been preapproved. In competitive play, there may be additional steps to approval.
Some teens might balk at the idea of using a mouthguard, but it is ultimately for the best! After a fall or impact, a teen without a mouthguard will often need to sit out from the rest of the game, while someone who uses a mouthguard could be cleared to continue. It’s a valuable part of being on a team.
If your child is especially active, discuss with the coach or athletic program director to understand the safety protocols that apply. When you connect with other responsible adults who care about your child’s well-being, you never know what kind of good may come of it in the future.
Beauchamp Orthodontics Offers Braces the Whole Family Can Rely On
Whether you’re young or young at heart, kids and adults alike can benefit from braces. It’s never too late to get a straight, healthy smile that will look and feel great. And there’s no need to worry that the braces will get in the way of sports or other hobbies.
Beauchamp Orthodontics is the Port Orange orthodontist that welcomes the whole family. Our team goes the extra mile to create a comfortable and welcoming experience for everyone. We use special metal braces with a smaller form factor so they are more subtle, winning kudos from kids and teens.
No matter whether you want conventional metal braces with fun, kid-friendly colored ties, clear braces, or clear aligners, we have the right option for every member of your family. Dr. Beauchamp will always be glad to see you and discuss the right course of treatment to help you reach your goals.
Set a consultation today to find out more. We look forward to meeting you!