Posted on September 5, 2018
It is back to school season, which means a lot of kids are getting back into their favorite fall sports. Before we get too deep into the crazy schedule of practices, games, and competitions, don’t forget to make sure your child has all the proper safety equipment they need! Many athletic activities require participants to wear mouth guards as part of their protective equipment during some or all of the activity. If you have braces, these regulations are often more specific. We’ve put together the answers to some frequently asked questions about mouthguards for athletes with braces for your convenience.
The Right Mouthguard For My Sport
Different sports with different levels of contact have different requirements for safety equipment. For example, wrestling leagues often require that participants wear double mouth guards, especially when they have braces, while soccer leagues typically do not require players to wear mouthguards. You’ll want to find out what your child’s league requires before purchasing anything. It is also important to note that even when a mouthguard is not required, it may still be a good idea if your child is currently undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Single vs. Double Mouthguards
Some sports leagues only require players to wear single mouthguards, while some require double mouth guards. Single mouthguards protect the teeth on the player’s upper jaw, while double mouthguards protect both the upper and lower jaws. Double mouthguards are often required in high contact sports if the player has braces on their bottom teeth.
Off-the-Shelf vs. Custom Made
When purchasing a mouth guard for your child, you have two basic options: an off-the-shelf mouthguard or a mouthguard that is custom made by their pediatric dentist or orthodontist. In order to decide which option is best for your child, you’ll want to consult both their doctor and the league’s policy. Some sports leagues actually require players with braces to wear mouth guards made by their orthodontists.
While these mouthguards will often be more precise, they will also be more expensive. On top of that, they may not always be the most effective option due to the fact that braces are supposed to adjust your teeth, and when your teeth move they will no longer fit the same mouthguard mold. In some cases, it is much cheaper and more effective to purchase the “boil and bite” mouthguards available in stores that allow customization at home. Before you make this decision, be sure to ask for your orthodontist’s opinion on your child’s individual needs.
Standard Mouthguard vs. Mouthguard For Braces
Most brands that manufacture sports mouthguards also offer products for players with braces, or state on the packaging that their standard mouthguard product is safe to use with braces. In general, mouthguards made for athletes with braces are a little wider and more bulky to accommodate their orthodontic equipment. Single and double moldable mouthguards that are safe for braces should be available at your local sporting goods store. If this is not the case, there are plenty of options available online.
We hope this information has demystified the mouthguard question and will help you make choices for your child that you can feel good about! Life with braces is hard, but we’re here to help you through it. Dr. Dan, our friend and orthodontist from McKinney, has provided a guide about how to adjust to your new braces and we encourage our patients to check it out.
Don’t forget to consult with your child’s orthodontist once you know the regulations of the sport or activity in question, as every situation is a little different. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our office today!