Many children and teenagers participate in sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, athletes who wear braces are at a higher risk for oral injuries when they compete without proper dental protection. A properly-fitted, custom mouth guard is a must for children and teens who play sports with braces. The Phoenix orthodontist at Budd Orthodontics recommends custom mouth guards for patients who play contact sports such as football, baseball, wrestling, volleyball, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey, as well as other minimal-contact athletic activities.
We do not recommend regular, store-bought sports mouth guards for a child or teen with braces if it is a “boil and bite” mouth guard. These store-bought appliances require you to boil them in order to make the plastic malleable to mold to the teeth. However, your child’s teeth will be moving with treatment. In a matter of days or weeks, the store-bought mouth guard will no longer fit. Store-bought mouth guards also sit too close to brackets and can even damage the hardware if your child is hit in the mouth.
There are some store-bought mouth guards that are designed for use with braces, and this type of mouth guard would be an acceptable option as an alternative to in-office custom mouth guards specifically designed for use with braces. Feel free to ask our orthodontic staff for recommended store-bought options.
The process of making a sports mouth guard in our office is fairly straight forward. You will have a mold taken of your teeth during a 20 minute appointment and then come back one to two days later to try on your mouth guard, so we can verify that it is fitting well.
We use the mold of your teeth to create a stone model as an exact duplicate of your teeth. The stone model is used in our laboratory to fabricate a custom mouth guard fit to the size and shape of your teeth and mouth. We make space for the area that the braces occupy to prevent problems with fitting around the braces.
Phoenix and Scottsdale orthodontists recommend patients use their custom-fitted mouth guards during all contact sports, including hockey, football, basketball, rugby, soccer, wrestling, etc.
To care for your mouth guard, follow these tips:
1. Before and after every use, make sure to brush your mouth guard with a toothbrush and toothpaste to deter natural bacteria from staining your mouth guard or making it smell.
2. Make sure to return your custom-fitted mouth guard to its protective case after every use.
3. Do not leave your mouth guard in hot water or in the sun, as doing so can warp the appliance.
4. Refrain from chewing on the mouth guard or wearing it while wearing a retainer. Bring your mouth guard with you every time you visit Budd Orthodontics in so we can make sure that your mouth guard is still in good shape.
5. Typically, mouth guards need to be replaced at the start of every sports season.
For more information about custom-fitted mouth guards and how they work to protect your child’s mouth during high-impact sports, contact Budd Orthodontics today for a free consultation.