Play Sports? How to Keep Your Braces Safe
Orthodontic dentistry corrects misaligned teeth using traditional wires or brackets, or with the use of Invisalign, which offers correction without the use of wires Correction occurs through the use of plastic, custom fitted aligners. Once teeth are straightened, there is a time period when patients wear retainers for a time recommended by the orthodontist as it ensures that straightened teeth are not moving out of position. Diligent use of retainers will ensure that the smile you worked hard to get will stay beautiful.
Many orthodontic patients are students who regularly participate in sports activities. Parents and students may have concerns about the possibility of mouth or tongue injuries or even damaging the braces themselves. With the proper precautions, you or your athlete can remain as active as always.
Sports and Orthodontics
For sports such as baseball, football and hockey, helmets are already part of the standard equipment. Besides the protection they offer against head injuries, helmet construction also naturally protects the mouth region. Always wearing a helmet when playing these types of sports is recommended.
Athletes who play basketball, volleyball, wrestling and other contact sports where head or mouth injury is possible do not use helmets as they would be too restrictive for performance. The use of a mouthguard is recommended when playing these types of sports. There are several types of guards available, varying in cost and the amount of coverage. Check with your dental or orthodontic professional for their recommendation. Let them know the type of activity you will be engaged in to help select the proper mouthwear for you.
Mouthguards can be custom made by your dentist or orthodontist, assuring a perfect fit especially with the latest technology. These may be a bit more expensive than purchasing a standard guard. Take into consideration the level of sports activity and the expected span. If the athlete is extremely active, the investment will pay off even more. For those who expect to play long-term, beyond the entire high school career, for example, this would certainly be worth the investment.
Standard mouthguards can also be purchased that offer mouth protection. Be sure to choose one that is especially designed to accommodate braces, as typical ones do not offer enough protection and would not be as comfortable. Ask your dental professional for recommendations as to which types would work best for you.
More About I Song Orthodontics
Dr. Immi Song has been practicing orthodontics for over 25 years. She graduated with her Bachelor’s in Molecular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley, received her degree as Doctor of Dental Surgery from Columbia University SDOS, finished her General Practice Residency program at New York’s Booth Memorial Medical Center, and attended Northwestern University to complete her advanced orthodontic residency and Master’s of Science in Oral Biology. Dr. Song also served as adjunct assistant professor of Orthodontics from 1998 through 2010 at the University of Pacific, San Francisco. She has also served in the role of President for the Berkeley Dental Society.
Opening her own practice in 2000 in the Berkeley, Albany, and El Cerrito area, Dr. Song and her staff serve patients of all ages – utilizing the latest technology to provide the best quality orthodontic care available.