Millions of teenagers wear braces during their high school years. There is a list of foods you need to stay away from while wearing braces so that you do not break a band or wire. What about participating in school sports? Obviously, some sports will not be a risk to braces, but what about sports such as:
Ask your orthodontist about making a custom mouthguard. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends you wear a mouthguard when participating in most sports. It is important to wear the correct type of mouthguard to make sure you are properly protected. Ask your orthodontist about the type of mouthguard you need for your particular sport.
Different Types of Mouthguards
Pre-Made Mouthguards — are pre-formed and ready to put in your mouth. They do not cost much and you can buy these at most sports retail stores or online. The fit can’t be adjusted, and they can be bulky, making it difficult to speak or breath. They really do not provide much protection and dentists and orthodontists do not recommend them.
Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards — You can also buy these online or at retail stores as well and provide a little more protection than the pre-made mouthguards. These are made from thermoplastic material. To use, put the mouthguard in hot water until it is soft, then place in your mouth, shaping it around your teeth by using your finger and pressure from your tongue.
Custom Mouthguards — If you are wearing a retainer or braces, your doctor can make a custom mouthguard that best protects you from getting mouth injuries. Your orthodontist can show you the correct way to wear the mouthguard and which mouthguard will work best to protect your teeth. Custom mouthguards are made by taking an impression of your teeth and then the mouthguard is molded over the impression. Because it is custom made for your teeth, it does cost more than the standard mouthguards; however, it offers the best protection and your orthodontist highly recommends using this type of mouthguard.
Usually, mouthguards are just used on your upper teeth. If you have braces or any other orthodontic appliance on your lower teeth, your doctor will also want you to wear a mouthguard on the lower teeth as well.
How to Take Care of Your Mouthguard
It is important to keep your mouthguard clean and properly stored. Here are some tips to keep your mouthguard like new:
- Clean with your toothbrush and toothpaste
- Keep your mouthguard in its case when not in use
- Don’t leave your mouthguard out in the elements – heat can melt or deform your mouthguard
- Get a new mouthguard every year or sooner if it doesn’t fit right
- Don’t wear your retainer with a mouthguard.
- Bring your mouthguard to all your orthodontic appointments so the orthodontist can check to make sure it still fits correctly