Having your child compete in a competitive sport offers a number of advantages. Competitive sport participation can keep your child active and healthy, teach discipline and help your child learn the importance of hard work, teamwork and dedication. Don't let braces keep your child from engaging in sports. Contrary to what many parents believe, braces don't prevent your child from playing sports; however, they do require some extra precautions. Familiarize yourself with these precautions to keep your child protected.
One of the most common protection methods are mouth guards. Mouth guards are basically shock absorbers. Should your child collide with another object, the mouth guard will absorb much of the impact and prevent it from damaging your child's braces and their teeth. Typically, you can purchase a mouth guard over the counter. Most of these products require you to dip the plastic guard in hot water and place it in your mouth to help mold the guard to the shape of your child's mouth.
While this option is generally sufficient, you can also purchase a mouth guard from your child's dental provider. These mouth guards are custom made and generally offer a better fit, making them more secure. Additionally, custom mouth guards tend to last longer than over-the-counter options because they are made from a heavier plastic.
Full-Face Guard with Dental Silicone
If your child is playing a full-contact sport where their mouth could easily make contact with the ball or another player, consider a full-face guard with dental silicone. This combination offers the greatest amount of protection. Full–face guards are made of a heavy plastic and they fit over the face with an elastic strip in the back to keep it secure. They are generally worn under a helmet.
Dental silicone comes in strips that you can easily cut to fit your child's braces. Once cut, you simply press them over the top of the braces. These strips serve as a buffer between the metal of the braces and the sensitive areas of the mouth, such as the gums. Should your child make forceful contact, the face mask and dental strips will prevent your child from being cut by the metal on their braces.
If your child seems to be having issues participating in sports while wearing braces, it might be a good idea to speak with the family orthodontist. An orthodontist can pinpoint the problem and offer the best resolution so that your child can remain active.