Properly Protecting Braces for Hockey & Other Sports

This time of year, kids and young adults all across Canada are getting ready to hit the ice again for another awesome season of exciting hockey action with their teams. However, for teens who have recently started orthodontic treatment, protecting their mouths requires a little extra care and attention.

For anyone who plays physical sports, having the proper protective equipment is important to keep things safe, and most importantly, fun. After all, nothing ruins the fun of a good hockey game faster than an accident or injury that pulls someone from the ice. That’s why it’s so essential to take the necessary precautions to gear up with the right safety equipment, and that includes a properly-fitted dental mouthguard.

The risks associated with an accidental impact to the mouth can be quite serious. Even a low-speed impact to the teeth can cause pain, looseness, a cut to the lips, or a bitten tongue. With higher-force impacts, significant injury can occur in the form of lost teeth, broken or chipped teeth, deeper cuts or lacerations, or even broken bones in the face and jaw. None of these are good news, so it’s absolutely necessary to wear a secure-fitting impact-absorbing mouthguard when participating in contact sports.

Possible Effects of Accidental Impacts on Braces

For people wearing braces, these risks are elevated due to the shape and orientation of the components that make up the orthodontic appliances that are affixed to the teeth. Traditional metal braces consist of brackets and wires attached to the outside of the teeth, and in the event of a sudden impact these pieces can become broken or damaged, leading to injuries, cuts, or other damage to the inside of the mouth or teeth.

In some cases, broken arch wires can poke into the soft tissues of the mouth, causing pain and bleeding. Damaged brackets can result in sharp edges which may cut into lips or the tongue, or perhaps even scratch the surfaces of other teeth when biting down. In general, broken braces are bad news, and you should take every precaution available to you in order to prevent these types of situations from occurring.

When braces become damaged or broken due to an accidental impact, it can also set back the progress of your treatment or at the very least temporarily stall it as your braces are repaired and you recover from the injury. When you’re looking forward to the final outcome of your orthodontic treatment, any kind of delay can be very frustrating. Especially if it’s due to an accident that could have been prevented with the right protective equipment.

Why Not Just Use a Regular Mouthguard?

For most people, getting a good quality dental mouthguard is fairly straightforward. A simple visit to your dentist for a sports mouthguard fitting will have you ready for action in no time. Of course, things aren’t quite as simple for people who are wearing braces on their teeth, because the shape of the orthodontics themselves must be accounted for in the process of molding the mouthguard.

Standard dental sportsguards are molded to fit snugly against the surfaces of the teeth, supporting them in front and behind for maximum protection and impact absorption. When it comes to braces, however, there are far too many fine details in the brackets and wires to have the mouthguard precisely shaped and molded around them. It’s just not feasible.

So how are orthodontic mouthguards created? Easy! They simply have a shallow groove molded into the mouthguard which fits around the braces, almost as if they were one single, solid piece. By supporting the teeth around the braces, orthodontic sports mouthguards provide the protection needed to absorb impacts and minimize the stress on the teeth, while simultaneously preventing the force of the impact from being exerted on any part of the braces themselves. In short, orthodontic mouthguards are precisely shaped to fit around the appliances to protect both the braces and the teeth from sudden impacts.

Hockey players with braces in particular benefit from the specialized protection that mouthguards for orthodontics offer, as the fast-paced and rough nature of the sport means that sudden physical contact is frequent and unpredictable, sometimes even coming from multiple directions at once. For hockey players who are undergoing orthodontic treatment, getting a properly-fitted braces mouthguard should be priority number one before they strap their skates on this season.

What About Invisalign Invisible Braces?

For orthodontic patients who are using the Invisalign system for their treatment, things are a little easier in some regards, but a little trickier in others. For example, Invisalign invisible aligners can easily be removed at any time when cleaning the teeth or eating, which means they can also be taken out to accommodate a normal dental sportsguard. This added convenience is one of the reasons why Invisalign is such an appealing option for people who need braces.

However, as the orientation of your teeth change throughout the duration of your orthodontic treatment, the fit of your mouthguard will also change. This means that you may need to go in to see your dentist for regular refitting of your sportsguard to ensure it still offers the optimum level of protection as your teeth shift positions. This is something that you’ll definitely want to discuss with your orthodontist in detail at the beginning of your treatment.

General Care Tips and Advice for Maximizing Orthodontic Treatment

In addition to having a custom-fitted sports mouthguard, there are many other ways that people who have braces can care for their teeth and boost the effectiveness and efficiency of their treatment. The most important of these is maintaining the recommended oral care regimen as set forth by your dentist and orthodontist. Keeping your braces clean, along with your mouth in general, is important to having a great looking smile & fresh breath, and for preventing dental problems from developing such as cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, and many others.

Furthermore, maintaining your braces properly and cleaning your teeth thoroughly increases the overall health and resiliency of your mouth. This aids in reducing the potential for discomfort during your regular monthly adjustments, and encourages easier and more efficient movement of the teeth throughout your treatment.

Lastly, make every effort to stick to the appointment schedule your dentist or orthodontist provided you in order to achieve the best possible results in the shortest time frame. While life certainly happens and some appointments just need to be rescheduled, minimizing these occurrences will help to keep your progress steady and on-track.

How to Get Your Sports Mouthguard for Braces Today

If you’ve got braces and are in need of a properly-fitted custom sports mouthguard, the process of getting one is quite easy. All you need to do is contact the team here at Georgian Dental today. Our professionals will arrange for you to come in and speak with a sports mouthguard expert who will answer all your questions and get things moving.

After a thorough exam, and with all the necessary measurements taken, we can get started on crafting your personalized mouthguard. Once it’s ready, we’ll perform one last customization and fitting session to make sure that everything is perfect. After that, you’ll be ready to hit the ice, the field, the hill, or wherever you may be headed for some fun sporting action. Just be sure to always keep your mouthguard clean, dry, and in its special protective carrying case when not in use, that way it’s always ready when you need it.

Protect Your Braces and Enjoy Your Favourite Sports Activities

When making the commitment to undergo orthodontic treatment, it’s an investment that you certainly will want to make the most of. Taking extra precautions to protect your mouth properly against accidental impacts just makes good sense. If you’ve been considering getting braces, but are apprehensive about it because you weren’t sure how it would affect your ability to participate in certain types of sporting activities like hockey, let us assure you that with the right protective gear you can hit the ice and keep your smile in style at the same time.

To get started with orthodontics, or to obtain a custom sports mouthguard to protect your braces, book your appointment with Georgian Dental today. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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