Oak Park and La Grange, IL – You and your child have gone to the orthodontist, and you all agree: it’s time for braces. While this can be a difficult transition for any young adult, it gets more complicated if there are other factors to consider. For example, many tweens and teens participate in sports that are fairly rough, like football, lacrosse, rugby, boxing, and martial arts.
If your child expresses concern about how his braces and athletic life will mesh, fear not: the two are compatible! Tell your child she doesn’t have to give up the sport(s) she loves so much; there are ways to safely finish the orthodontics treatment and enjoy a lifestyle as active as ever.
(And parents: for those of you thinking of getting braces as an adult, you can still enjoy intense sports and activities during your treatment as well! Follow the same advice as below to achieve a successful treatment.)
Talk to Your Orthodontist First
It’s always best to talk with an experienced orthodontist in order to best protect your child’s mouth. He can provide you with all the information and resources you need to help your child continue to participate in the sport(s) she loves best!
Mouth Guards From Your Orthodontist
These offer the best protection for anyone with braces, and are specifically created for wearers of braces or expanders. Orthodontic mouth guards are usually made of high-grade silicone and offer the best protection available for use in contact sports.
Store-Bought Mouth Guard Options
You don’t have to go through your orthodontist to get a mouth guard for your active child. You’ve likely seen, heard of, or used mouth guards for rough sports like hockey or rugby, but you should be aware that there are several different kinds. The three most common types are:
- Pre-made mouth guards: These are available in most sporting goods or department stores, and are relatively inexpensive. They’re made in a one-size-fits-all style, so there’s zero flexibility from mouth to mouth. They’re meant to protect those who don’t wear braces and thus should only be used before or after undergoing that type of treatment.
- Boil-and-bite mouth guards: This variety can also be bought in most sporting good stores and offers more customization than the pre-made kind. Boil-and-bite mouth guards use thermoplastic material that is first softened in hot water, then placed in the mouth. While malleable, this guard is meant to be shaped around the teeth using one’s fingers and tongue. Since it will be fitted to the mouth, it will stay in place better, but will no longer work well once teeth start shifting from orthodontic treatment.
While there’s no substitute for a consultation with a professional, please note that mouth guards should not be worn with retainers or any other removable dental device. Mouth guards are made specifically for those with braces or those without; removable devices can cause massive injury during contact sports, even if mouth guards are used.
Talk to Your Child’s Coach
Additionally, it’s important to talk to each of your child’s coaches, as there are often specific requirements for the type of mouth protection required. Some sports may require custom-made mouth guards for athletes who have braces; some may not. Some coaches may ask that guards be worn on both upper and lower teeth, where others might just need the top teeth covered.
As always, communication is key. As long as you are able to talk with your child, his coaches, and his orthodontist, you’ll be able to ensure that his orthodontic results end up the absolute best they can.
To learn more about how to have a fully active life with braces, schedule a complimentary consultation with the amazing team at Battistoni and Beam Orthodontics. If you prefer, you may also call 708.352.4500 in La Grange or 708.848.5900 in Oak Park to speak with our experienced professionals.
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