About 80% of teens wear braces or Invisalign aligner trays to straighten their teeth, most when they are 10-14, usually for between one and three years, depending on how complex the case is. This is also the age when kids get serious about playing sports at school and everyone is required to wear a sports mouthguard (aka sports guard) for protection.
But how can a sports mouthguard fit over braces and will it really provide enough cushioning to avoid having the braces and teeth damaged? The answer is that a special “braces mouthguard” can provide protection and be comfortable, but only if it is custom-made for each patient. Dr. Song is a specialist in creating these orthodontic mouthguards for young athletes wearing braces (and for those who decide to be treated with braces when they are older and lead an active lifestyle.).
A braces mouthguard is made from high-grade silicone and cushions teeth and gums from impact by the braces if there is an accident. The American Dental Association says that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer damage to their teeth without one. This is especially important in high-contact sports like football and boxing, but also rough-and-tumble games, such as basketball, soccer, and hockey. The ADA advises that they should also be worn when playing volleyball, bicycling, skateboarding, and or performing gymnastics.
And it doesn’t really matter whether the players are pros, on a school team, or just having fun with friends. The ADA reports that 15 million Americans suffer from dental injuries each year, resulting in the loss of five million teeth, the chipping or cracking of millions more, as well as harm to lips, tongue, and other oral tissues. A blow to the face can result in the dislocation of the jaw and mouthguards absorb the shock to prevent trauma to the head.
Unfortunately, too many families don’t know about the big differences between sports mouthguards. Over-the-counter ones, whether ready-to-wear or designed to put into boiling water and placed in the mouth to form around the teeth, are not adequate, certainly not for those wearing braces. They also do not give the individual the ability to breathe and speak as clearly as personalized ones.
Another reason to have Dr. Song create the braces mouthguard so that she can be sure that it is not so tightly fitting that it hinders the orthodontic process, slowing down the time when it is completed.
If you or someone in your family needs orthodontic treatment, set an appointment for a full examination by Dr. Song to discuss the best options. We welcome patients from Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany, and surrounding areas.
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