Getting braces from Dr. Cauble doesn’t mean you have to give up your athletic activities, but it does mean you need to be a little more careful about them. A hard hit in a football game can lead to a popped-off bracket, a cut wire, and damage to your teeth or the inside of your mouth. And a really hard hit can dislodge a tooth or two. Even an impact in a less intense sport than football—say baseball, softball or even tennis—can harm your braces and your mouth.
If you play sports, you should look into these three ways to protect your braces and your mouth:
A full-facial guard is the hard plastic piece that juts out in front of the mouth on football, hockey, and lacrosse helmets. If you wear braces, be sure to wear a helmet when you play rough contact sports (and even if you don’t wear braces, wearing a helmet provides general head safety). While a full-facial guard will protect your mouth from external impact, collisions and tackles can still cut the inside of your mouth or damage braces.
Mouth guards are made to absorb and disperse the shocks that come from collisions with other players, balls hitting your face, and falls to the ground. They are worn inside your mouth to fit directly over your upper teeth, and you can find some dual-arch models that are designed to fit over your lower teeth as well. There are many different types of mouth guards available at just about any sporting goods store. They should be used for sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, and volleyball. They are also a good idea for non-contact sports like gymnastics, biking, and skateboarding where a fall can still harm your mouth.
Make sure your mouth guard fits well, is comfortable and allows you to breathe. We don’t recommend the “boil-and-bite” type for our patients that wear braces, because these mouth guards can stick to brackets and pull them off when removed. Ask us during your next visit for specific advice about what mouth guard we recommend for your particular sport or to judge how well a recent purchase fits.
Dental Silicone or Wax
Dental silicone comes in long strips that you cut to size and press into your braces. A good brand is OrthoSil Silicone Dental “Wax” (which is not really made of wax). Dental silicone is a great way to supplement protection when you’re wearing a helmet with a full-facial guard. You can use the strips to protect the inside of your mouth during other athletic activities where an impact can cut your mouth or damage your braces. Depending on your preferences, you might favor actual dental wax or a product called Gishy Goo.