It’s a question on many parents’ minds when considering orthodontic treatment: “Can my child get braces if he or she plays physical sports like football, soccer, wrestling, gymnastics, basketball, or cheerleading?”
I want to help parents think through this question since it is a good one!
The short answer is: of course! However, your child needs to take some precautions. There could also be a better option, which I will explain at the end of this post.
Precautions for Kids with Braces Playing Contact Sports
As a mother and healthcare provider, I truly appreciate the benefits of extracurricular sports. Sports provide numerous benefits for our children, including physical and mental health, the development of social skills, confidence, self-esteem, and character development.
I will always remember a call I received on a Friday evening. One of my patients was playing in his varsity basketball game when a defender attempted to block his shot and inadvertently knocked him to the ground, causing him to fall face-first. When he stood up, he realized his lip was stuck to his braces! I met him after his game and was thankfully able to unhook his lip and fix his wire, and he was good to go!
Benefits of Mouthguards for Children with Braces
I spoke with his mom after the game and after reassuring her everything was ok, I explained how this significant lip and braces injury could have been easily avoided if her son was wearing a mouthguard. There are several benefits of wearing a mouthguard, including:
- Protection of braces: The mouthguard acts as a barrier between the braces and any impact, helping to prevent damage to the braces or the teeth.
- Prevention of injury: The mouthguard helps absorb the force of impact and reduces the risk of injury to the lips, tongue, and cheeks.
- Comfort: The mouthguard helps reduce discomfort caused by braces rubbing against the cheeks or lips.
- Preservation of treatment progress: Wearing a mouthguard helps protect the progress made by the braces, reducing the risk of having to start the treatment process over again due to damage.
- Peace of mind: Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re doing everything you can to protect your braces and your teeth.
A Safer Alternative? Invisalign
Another option parents should consider is Invisalign. Invisalign is great for athletes because accidents like the one mentioned above won’t happen because there aren’t any brackets or wires. Invisalign works through a series of aligners where I meticulously program and customize tooth movement for each patient.
In conclusion, with the necessary precautions, both braces and Invisalign are great options for athletes. It is important to understand the benefits of each, and how a mouthguard could be beneficial to keep your teeth protected during physical activity.
Dr. Rachel Feinstein is a specialty-trained, board-certified orthodontist. Her expertise in treating young children and adults allows her to improve your and your children’s health and smile in an esthetic and efficient manner that integrates into your lifestyle. Dr. Feinstein practices in Chesterfield, Virginia treating orthodontic patients from Chesterfield, Mosely, Midlothian, Richmond, Chester, and Henrico County. Get in touch for your complimentary consultation!