Can I play sports when I’m wearing braces?

We’re avid sports fans here at North Durham Orthodontics. Dr Gina Lee is such a fan she sponsors local sports teams as well as school sport programs in the community. We are often asked “Can my child safely play sports while wearing braces?” With Fall sports and school just around the corner, we can confidently say YES.

Have you signed up for football, soccer, wrestling, cheer or dance? There are many off campus sport options too. These sports can be done during orthodontic treatment and braces. Throughout the year youth, teens and adult sports are a great way to get moving, have fun and stay healthy. Activities like mountain biking, climbing, skating, yoga, jiu jitsu, even golf present potential risks to your teeth. Having braces or orthodontic treatment simply requires you protect your mouth just like you would any other part of your body.

So, the key question for active youth, teens and adults is HOW do you protect your smile during sports or activities?
Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential to staying on course with your braces treatment plan. For braces patients playing sports, we recommend that they use an orthodontic mouthguard to protect their mouth from any potential injury. With the use of a proper orthodontic mouthguard, any contact sport can be played with braces. Even in light contact sports such as baseball, a mouthguard is a good idea to protect the smile you’re working so hard to have.

An orthodontic mouthguard is made from silicone and cushions your lips from bumping against your teeth. It also protects your brackets and softens the impact from any contact that could damage how the braces adhere to your teeth. Orthodontic mouthguards are typically larger than more common, non-orthodontic mouthguards in order to have extra space for the braces to fit. But, don’t worry. Just because an orthodontic mouthguard is larger, doesn’t mean that it is any less comfortable. We have had several patients report that their orthodontic mouthguard was actually more comfortable than their old, traditional mouthguard.

In contrast to an orthodontic mouthguard, a normal mouthguard is made of hard plastic, and should your mouth get hit, it can cause serious damage that requires extra office visits, extra time added to your treatment, and even irreversible damage. Most non-orthodontic mouthguards also won’t fit as well as orthodontic mouthguards, or might not fit at all.

So what about the popular boil-and-bite mouthguards? I must admit. Boil-and-bite mouthguards are pretty cool. It’s a quick and cost-effective way to get a “custom” mouthguard. However, while a boil-and-bite mouthguard might fit initially, once the teeth begin to move, this type of mouthguard will no longer fit. This is why an orthodontic mouthguard is still the best choice. You can purchase an orthodontic mouthguard at every major sporting goods store as well as online stores.

So, the final issue is “What happens if you get injured while wearing braces?
If you are wearing braces and get hurt call our office (919)797-2300. From there, we can discern if an emergency appointment is necessary. At your next visit, we will check for any broken appliances (including your mouthguard) and fix anything that requires attention. We want to help you get back in the game as soon as possible.
Your Smile…. Our Passion,
North Durham Orthodontics