Can someone who wears braces still play sports?
Getting braces can seem like the end of the world to a young athlete. Many kids worry that having braces will disqualify them from certain sports, or even that their performance might be affected. However, braces are not necessarily the end to a burgeoning sports career. Luckily, there are a few options to allow young people with braces to play sports comfortably.
Braces Can be Sharp
Once your young one is fitted with that new set of shiny braces, he or she may be anxious to see how they hold up under sporting conditions. One of the annoyances of playing sports with braces is that the inner mouth is susceptible to small nicks and scratches. These minor wounds are caused by physical contact with the face, which pushes the inner mouth against the sharp edges of the braces. In most cases, such minor cuts will cause a small amount of bleeding. At worst, they may result in something akin to a bloody lip.
The solution to playing sports with braces is to use mouth-guards. Mouthguards are made of a moldable, plastic material that will form to the shape of the teeth and braces. In many contact sports, mouthguards are a required piece of equipment regardless if the player has braces. Orthodontists recommend keeping the mouthguard clean with regular washings. It is also recommended that young people fitted with braces brush their teeth after wearing a mouthguard to clean out the buildup of bacteria.
Braces Aren’t the Only Game in Town
Some lucky athletes may be able to avoid braces and mouth cuts altogether. The orthodontists advise that young people using Invisalign aligners (instead of braces) may be able to keep them in for some types of sports. The smooth surface of the Invisalign devices will prevent cuts in the interior of the mouth. Non-contact sports such as tennis or track are perfect for Invisalign use. If the sport is a rough contact sport, such as football, the athlete may remove the aligners altogether and participate using only a mouthguard. However, no Invisalign tips would be complete without reminding that the athlete needs to put the aligners back in after the game!
Most kids won’t notice the difference from being active without braces before and after with them actually on. Yet one thing that could affect a young athlete after getting braces is the discomfort experienced after adjustments. When the orthodontist adjusts braces (to tighten them) it is common to feel mouth pain which can be accompanied by a headache. This may affect your child’s ability or desire to perform at their best. One suggestion provided by the orthodontists, is to give your child or teen a small dosage of Tylenol to manage the soreness or pain. Cold treats, such as popsicles, can also help to numb the pain; just be sure to remind your young athlete to brush afterwards!
For further queries regarding the various types of orthodontic treatments available or if you still harbor any confusion in your mind with reference to this topic, feel free to contact us at King Orthodontics.
King Orthodontics, 400 East Dayton, Yellow Springs Rd. Fairborn, OH 45324
Phone: (937) 878-1561 Fax: (937) 433-9530
Braces and Sports
Samuel B. King, D.D.S., M.S. – King Orthodontics – Specialist in Orthodontics for kids, teens and adults in Centerville and Fairborn.