385 N. Grant St. Canby, Oregon 97013

385 N. Grant St. Canby, Oregon 97013

Why You Need Sports Mouthguards to Help Save Your Braces

Football, baseball, soccer, hockey, lacrosse — we know sports play a huge part in our patients’ lives. We love encouraging our patients to get out and play their best, but we also want to encourage them to play safely. That includes protecting their mouths and braces during sports with mouthguards. 

Ohana Orthodontics has seen its share of sports injuries to the mouth from our braces and Invisalign patients. Getting hit by a ball while wearing braces can seriously damage your lips, tongue, and teeth. Most of this can be prevented by wearing a mouthguard. What is a mouthguard, and what’s the best choice of one for sports? Let us fill you in.

sports mouthguards ohana orthodontics canby or 2022 1

What Are the Types of Mouthguards?

There are two main types of sports-related mouthguards. There is also a dental mouthguard that serves a different purpose. But we know you want to know about the football mouthguards, hockey mouthguards, and lacrosse mouthguards, so let’s start there. 

The ‘Boil and Bite’ Mouthguard

One of the most popular types of mouthguards is referred to as the “boil and bite” mouthguard. These mouthguards come in a kit you can purchase at major retailers and pharmacies that will tell you how to mold the mouthguard properly. You’re given a generic mouthguard which you boil according to the instructions. Once the mouthguard has softened enough, you place it on your upper teeth and bite down, holding it in place and molding it around your teeth. 

Once you’ve made a good impression of your teeth, you let the mouthguard cool, which allows it to harden. Voila! You have your custom-made mouthguard. It’s now ready to use in sports. However, you must make sure not to leave it somewhere too hot (like inside a hot car), or it could soften again and distort. The good news is, if that happens, you can just boil it again and reshape it. The bad news is that you can only do this so often before it doesn’t work properly anymore. After that, you will need to replace it. Luckily, the boil-and-bite mouthguard is relatively inexpensive, so it won’t cost too much to replace. 

Boil-and-bite mouthguards are great for those with braces or clear aligner treatment because they will mold around your braces and can be adjusted as your teeth move. Because your teeth will shift significantly throughout treatment, you will probably need to adjust your mouthguard often. It’s much less expensive to use a boil-in-bite for these reasons. 

The Custom-Made Mouthguard

Other sports mouthguards are custom-made and usually involve a dentist or orthodontist taking precise measurements and scans of your teeth. The dentist either uses those scans to create a custom mouthguard, or they send the scans off to your chosen company, which uses the scans to create your custom mouthguard. If you’re wondering how a mouthguard should fit, it should follow the exact line and pattern of your teeth so that it cushions them against any impacts. Think of a mouthguard as a glove for your teeth.

These mouthguards are great for those who play sports regularly because they tend to fit better and provide more protection than standard boil-and-bite mouthguards. The downside is they tend to be much more expensive. Those without braces may find it’s worth it to have their mouthguards custom-made because it makes them a bit safer on the playing field. Most of these mouthguards can also be customized, from favorite colors to team logos. It allows for much more. 

For braces patients, the custom-made mouthguards can become very expensive over time. That’s because the mouthguard fits less and less correctly as the teeth move. Eventually, it becomes unusable and needs to be replaced. Because your teeth constantly move during treatment, you may go through several mouthguards in one sports season. It may mean the custom mouthguard just isn’t cost-effective. 

The good news is that once your braces are off and you’re in retainers, a custom mouthguard is great to use. Since your retainers are designed to keep your teeth in place, the mouthguard can do the job while you’re on the field, so you don’t have to worry about losing retainer time. Just make sure your mouthguard fits precisely to your teeth, just as your retainers do. 

The Dental Mouthguard

There is a third type of mouthguard that is also custom-made. A dentist or orthodontist usually creates these dental mouthguards to use at night. It’s for patients who tend to grind their teeth, particularly in their sleep. This condition, called bruxism, can wear down teeth and cause chips and cracks. It can also cause jaw pain, neck pain, and headaches. 

You’re probably wondering how mouthguards prevent clenching of your teeth. These mouthguards are placed in the mouth at night to create a barrier and hold the jaws apart. Eventually, your mouth becomes accustomed to the position, and you stop grinding your teeth. Some people can use these for only a few months, while others may need them for years. You may be wondering if these mouthguards help with snoring. In many cases, they can help because they reposition the jaws and tongue to allow better breathing. 

However you use them, these dental mouthguards are designed for dental purposes and are not made to be used in sports. 

sports mouthguards ohana orthodontics canby or 2022 3

Is a Mouthguard Really Needed for Sports?

Some patients want to know if a mouthguard is essential for sports. Can a mouthguard hurt your teeth? How do mouthguards protect the teeth? First of all, you definitely need a mouthguard with sports, especially if the sport includes flying objects like balls, bats, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, or even a good elbow. It may be smaller, but a lacrosse ball hitting you in the face at full speed will hurt as much as a football or baseball and will likely do as much damage. Having braces makes it even worse because your lips impacting those metal brackets can tear the tissue and cause a lot of cuts and bleeding. 

The mouthguard provides a barrier that absorbs the impact of an object hitting your face. It also keeps your lips and tongue from hitting your brackets and being torn up. The mouthguard itself likely won’t damage your teeth. Instead, it will probably prevent you from losing teeth and damaging your braces. That’s why it’s so important to wear a mouthguard during sports.

sports mouthguards ohana orthodontics canby or 2022 2

More Information About Mouthguards

Mouthguards are important tools for protecting patients’ mouths during sports. We strongly recommend mouthguards for our patients in the Canby, OR, area. We want our patients to protect their teeth and braces, but we also want them to have fun. 

If you want more information about mouthguards, or if you want to get started with braces or Invisalign treatment, contact Ohana Orthodontics. You can schedule a free consultation to see what treatment — and mouthguard — is best for you. 

ohana cta 1 white v1