Mouthguards and braces: what you need to know

Whether you’re involved in friendly games, more professional matches or simply want to try something new, it’s important that you enjoy sports safely. When you have braces, there’s plenty to keep in mind when undertaking sporting activities - not least how to keep your smile protected and safe from potential injury.

Having braces shouldn’t stop you from being active in sports. With a custom mouthguard (sometimes called a gumshield), you’ll be able to keep your smile safe when you’re scoring tries, mountain biking, horse riding and much more. Let’s take a closer look at mouthguards and braces, and answer some of the questions our orthodontist team is frequently asked.

Smiling woman holds transparent plastic mouth guard in her hand

What is a mouthguard?

Mouthguards are simple cushioning devices made from flexible materials which snugly fit over the teeth, protecting them from impactive injuries and accidents. They’re essentially a crash helmet for your teeth, which also stop the jaws from coming together and causing jaw joint injuries, sudden tooth impacts and even concussion.

While regular mouthguards tend to come in ‘one-size-fits-all’ styles, orthodontic mouthguards need to fit well and be reshapable, allowing them to be reformed to fit snugly as your braces straighten your teeth. Due to the wires (and greater surface area) used in braces, off-the-shelf mouthguards with gel fillings aren’t suitable for those undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Are mouthguards worn over braces?

When you have fixed braces, you’ll have to wear a custom-made mouthguard to fit the mould of the brackets on your braces to ensure maximum protection. These will likely be crafted from medical-grade silicone or a similar material that will adapt to changes to your mouth structure, allowing you to remain safe while your teeth are straightened.

Our orthodontics team will be happy to guide you through the process of getting a mouthguard made. They’ll let you know how best to use one while playing sports, and when you’ll need to schedule a future appointment to get a new mouthguard made as your bite pattern straightens.

Once you receive your mouthguard, your orthodontist will be able to mould it to fit your braces perfectly. At future appointments, you’ll be able to get your mouthguard refitted. This will allow it to stay comfortable in your mouth, even when your teeth have started moving into their straighter position.

If you’ve opted for Invisalign treatment at Total Orthodontics, you should remove your clear retainers while partaking in sports - just as you would while eating. However, you should ask your orthodontists about options for suitable mouthguards to keep yourself protected, as you don’t want to injure your teeth regardless! The same applies to those wearing retainers following their fixed braces being removed.

Have any questions about teeth straightening? With so many options to choose from, it’s never been easier to discover the ideal braces for your needs and lifestyle.

Our team would love to hear from you and is ready to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Get in touch today and find out what Total Orthodontics can do for you.