Sport is important for a child’s development. It keeps them physically fit and teaches important social skills, too. So, if your child is getting dental braces, can they still play sport? Absolutely!
Dental braces should NOT prevent your child from playing any sport. However, particularly if participating in a contact sport, like rugby or hockey, they should always wear a mouth guard (incidentally, hockey is second only to rugby for sports injuries).
Will any mouth guard do?
We won’t usually make a custom mouth guard for a patient; when their teeth move their mouth guard will eventually no longer fit — we want something that will fit for the duration of a patient’s treatment. We do have some options available, though. Usually we’ll advise a patient to get an off-the-shelf orthodontic mouth guard.
General mouth guards
Please note your child needs an orthodontic mouth guard, not one for wearing without braces. There is a difference.
A general mouth guard is made from thermoplastic. Before use, it needs to be heated in boiling water and then bitten into to make an imprint of the teeth. When wearing dental braces, this type of mouth guard doesn’t work well. This is because teeth will move during the course of orthodontic treatment. A general mouth guard will try to pull the teeth back into their original position, or the mouth guard will eventually no longer fit. Also, general mouth guards fit a bit too well, so if your child gets hit hard in the teeth, the brackets on their braces can get knocked off.
So, we recommend your child wears an orthodontic mouth guard. Orthodontic mouth guards are made from silicone — you don’t have to boil them before use. They have flanges designed to be bitten down on to keep them in position. They also have large rubber flanges that slip under the lips to prevent them from being pushed onto the brackets.
Playing a wind musical instrument
We have several patients who play instruments you have to blow into, like saxophones and trumpets, etc. — some are quite accomplished. Wearing braces won’t scuttle their musical careers; however, it can take about a week to find the “right notes” again.
If your child plays a wind instrument, they may need to put something over their braces. There are special covers available; however, wax, which we also use to protect the mouth, is usually sufficient.