7 Questions on Orthodontics & Contact Sports – Answered!
22 February 2022
A question you or your child might have when deciding to undergo orthodontic treatment is, “Can I (or my child) continue playing sports?”.
This is a common concern and most definitely a valid one, especially when it comes to playing contact sports as there is a higher risk of tooth damage. The British Orthodontic Society pointed that up to 39 percent of dental injuries are sports related.
The concern is most likely amplified when a person plays contact sports while wearing braces or clear aligners such as Invisalign due to the fear of metal wires or a foreign object in the mouth. The good news is, there are effective ways to keep your mouth safe and with that, we share the answers to seven common questions about orthodontics and contact sports.
Question #1 - Can I play contact sports while wearing braces or Invisalign?
Yes, you may continue playing contact sports while wearing braces or Invisalign as long as you receive consent from your dentist. In general, orthodontic treatment does not stop you or your child from playing contact sports but there are precautions to take. Depending on the type of contact sport – a low intensity (such as basketball) or high intensity (like wrestling or martial arts) sport, a mouthguard may be considered especially for high intensity contact sports. It’s best to check with your dentist about the need for a mouthguard as it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Question #2 - What are the types of possible mouth injuries that could happen?
Mouth and jaw trauma are among the most common mouth injuries when playing contact sports. To dive deeper, some of the injuries include:
– Chipped teeth
– Wounds to your cheek, tongue or lip
– Broken teeth
– Broken or dislocated jaw
On top of that, when wearing braces or Invisalign, there is also a risk of it breaking due to the impact of the sport and possibly injuring your mouth. This is why it is important to take safety precautions.
Question #3 - What can I do to protect my mouth when wearing braces or Invisalign?
Depending on the type of orthodontic treatment, here is how you can protect your mouth:
For individuals wearing braces, there is a risk of the metal brackets and wires that could snap and possibly injure your mouth. Therefore, a mouthguard is recommended when playing any type of contact sport.
As for individuals wearing Invisalign, you may keep your clear aligners on for low intensity contact sports. Invisalign is made out of a durable type of plastic that is relatively safe to be worn for low intensity contact sports. However, for high intensity contact sports, a mouthguard is highly recommended. You will use a mouthguard just like every other player whereby you will need to remove your Invisalign clear aligners and replace it with a mouthguard when engaging in contact sports.
Question #4 - Can I use any type of mouthguard?
If you’re wearing braces, you’ll need to wear a mouthguard that fits around your braces. This is known as an orthodontic mouthguard. You may speak to your dentist with regards to this. He or she will help you customise an orthodontic mouthguard specifically for you.
If you’re wearing Invsalign, as mentioned, you’ll need to remove your clear aligners and replace it with a mouthguard when playing contact sports. A customised mouthguard may not be necessary but more importantly, do make sure that the chosen mouthguard fits well to protect your teeth and mouth.
Also, don’t forget to take note of the time when your Invisalign aligners are removed to ensure that you meet your Invisalign treatment’s required daily period. To help you out, you can keep track of the time via the My Invisalign mobile app.
Question #5 - Can Invisalign work as a mouthguard?
Both Invisalign and a mouthguard are designed to snugly fit around your teeth. They may look familiar but they serve very different purposes. Invisalign clear aligners are created to shift your teeth to its ideal position whereas a mouthguard is a protective gear to guard your mouth. Therefore, no, Invisalign clear aligners do not replace the role of a mouthguard.
Question #6 - What should I do if a mouth injury happens?
As much as a mouthguard reduces the risk of mouth injuries tremendously, there is still a slight possibility that an injury can occur. It’s always important to know what to do if your child finds himself or herself in this situation.
If a mouth injury is sustained from sports while wearing braces or Invisalign, you should make an appointment with the dentist immediately.
The dentist will examine your child’s mouth and teeth to make sure that there’s no damage and if there is any, you will be advised on the next steps to take. If your braces or Invisalign have sustained a crack or snapped due to the impact, the dentist will be able to fix or replace the braces or clear aligners. This step helps to prevent any delays in the treatment.
Question #7 - How can I prepare my child for playing sports with braces?
It’s important to prepare your child well as this helps to prevent untoward mouth injuries and to also reduce anxiety in the event an injury does happen. This will be helpful because any delay in your child’s braces journey can impact the progress of your child’s orthodontic treatment.
You can get started by preparing your child from the beginning of his or her braces journey. The first step to take is to speak to the dentist to discuss about the steps to take that will protect your child’s mouth while pursuing the sport they love.
Keeping orthodontic wax on hand can also help to make your child’s braces journey more comfortable. If their brackets are causing discomfort while playing sports, they can apply the wax as a protective layer quickly and independently.
A simple tool such as an orthodontic mouthguard can do wonders at keeping your child’s mouth safe while playing contact sports with a peace of mind. Schedule a consultation with our dentist to learn effective ways to keep your child’s mouth safe while wearing braces or Invisalign clear aligners.