Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in basketball, boxing, hockey, football, gymnastics, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, rugby, track and field, skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding, skydiving, soccer, surfing, volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, or wrestling, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.

Types of mouthguards

Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards: the pre-made mouthguard, the “boil-and-bite” fitted mouthguard, and a custom-made mouthguard from your orthodontist. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.

Pre-made mouthguards and boil-and-bite mouthguards can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, while custom-made mouthguards are specially designed by an orthodontist to provide optimal protection against mouth injuries. If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear an orthodontic mouthguard during contact sports. Dr. Okun can show you how to wear a mouthguard properly and how to choose the right mouthguard to protect your smile.

Taking care of your mouthguard

Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:

  • Wash your mouthguard after each use with dishwashing liquid or liquid hand soap and warm water.
  • Store it in a protective case.
  • Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
  • Replace it at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly. 
  • Dr. Okun will provide an appropriate orthodontic mouthguard to wear over your braces or retainers. The first mouthguard is included in your orthodontic fee.
  • Dr. Okun can make a custom athletic mouthguard for you once all of your permanent teeth have erupted and orthodontic treatment is complete.
  • Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard. Mouthguards come in different shapes and sizes; ask us which is best for you.
  • Bring your mouthguard to a dental checkup each sports season, so Dr. Okun can check to make sure it”s still in good shape!

Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are among the most common injuries suffered by athletes. Our goal is to minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask us about mouthguards at your next appointment — GO TEAM!


Emmitt Smith promotes sportsguards

“Mouthguards are one of the least expensive pieces of sports protective equipment available. Over-the-counter versions may cost as little as five dollars, although custom-fit mouth guards offer greater protection. Not only do mouth guards save teeth, they may protect jaws."

This statement was all over the media in 2010 as part of a campaign by Emmitt Smith, the American Association of Orthodontists, and the National Alliance of Youth Sports to raise awareness and increase the use of facial protection in youth sports. Now some states are mandating the use of sportsguards for all school teams.

Dr. Judith Okun can fabricate custom mouthguards on-site. She also can supply you with the less expensive over-the-counter version to wear over your braces. Don“t wait until your child has a dental or mouth injury from a ball or on-field collision; prevent the damage by providing your son or daughter with a mouthguard today!