So, your child’s orthodontist has planned a clip treatment and you have decided to go ahead with the plan for your child. But, your child is active into playing sports. And you are probably wondering, if your child has to give up playing his favourite game during the braces treatment. The good news is that you don’t have to. While your child will need some extra protection from trauma with his or her braces on, there are effective ways of protecting your child, without giving up on the game.
Talk to your Orthodontist about your concerns. Your orthodontist will recommend some simple steps to protect the mouth from injury while playing sports.
Wear a mouthguard
A mouthguard is an appliance that is fabricated by your dentist to protect your mouth from injury during sports. Ideally, your dentist will strongly recommend wearing a sports mouthguard for rough contact sports like football, hockey or rugby. However, you should wear a sports mouthguard for other sports like baseball, basket ball or cricket. Some of the non contact sports like riding, cycling or skating will also call for the use of a sports mouthguard.
How does an orthodontic mouthguard work?
The regular mouthguard are made of a hard plastic that is moulded around your teeth. This kind of a mouthguard is not suitable with your braces for two reasons. Firstly, this will not allow the movement of teeth that your braces are intended to bring about. So. it’ll work against your smile that you have been working so hard on. Secondly, the mould fits too well around your mouth and braces. If you get hit hard, then the force will break the brackets off your teeth. This will prolong your treatment.
The orthodontic mouthguard on the other hand is made of high grade silicone. This is a little different from the regular mouthguard, in that the orthodontic mouthguard is softer and a little bigger than the normal one. This is designed to accommodate your braces and still fit you comfortably. Additionally, the orthodontic mouthguard can cushion your braces, lips, gums and teeth more effectively and soften any blow they are likely to receive.
Where can you find the orthodontic mouthguard?
You can get an orthodontic mouthguard at any sporting goods store. However, these may not fit well over time because of the tooth movements. Although, the over the counter mouthguard will be available for your need and in your budget, your orthodontist can fabricate one that fits you properly. This is because your dentist/orthodontist will make an impression of your mouth to make the mouthguard.
How should you care for your mouthguard?
Everyday care of your mouthguard is important. Bacterial and fungal growth on your mouthguard is common. Hence, you should make it a habit to clean you mouthguard everyday with a toothpaste and rinse with an antibacterial wash. Clean it well before and after use. You can use a denture cleaning tablet in water to soak your mouthguard overnight. Ensure, you wipe it dry before storing it in it’s case. Just like the dentures your mouthguard should be in your mouth or cleaned in the case.
If for any reason your mouthguard is damaged, talk to your dentist/orthodontist. They will guide you getting a new one.
What should you do in case of an emergency?
Common injuries that can happen with braces includes broken brackets, bleeding gums, broken teeth or dislodged teeth.
If you are bleeding, try to clean the area well first. Examine the extent of damage, stop the bleeding and apply ice packs. Report to your dentist/orthodontist immediately and fix an appointment at the earliest. If you have a dislodged or loose teeth, your dentist will do an X-ray to check the damage. Your teeth will be stabilised and you will have to wait upto a week for the recovery. The advantage of an injury with braces is that your teeth may not fall out because of the wires and the elastics. Further treatment will be planned according to the outcome. Broken brackets, wires can poke your gums and cheek. Check with your orthodontist and fix up an appointment according to the severity of damage.
If you have a serious injury, then don’t wait and go right to the emergency room.