Parents of children who play sports know all too well that injuries to the teeth and mouth are common among athletes. Moms and dads also understand that it is important to protect their child’s smile for cosmetic and health reasons, something the team at Coppe + Sears can help with! We are committed to creating healthier smiles for kids in our community, and part of that involves teaching our young patients how to keep their teeth safe when participating in physical activities. With that in mind, here are some common dental injuries we see in sporty students and a few tips on preventing them!
Preventing sports injuries with regular mouthguard use
Mouthguards are one of the easiest ways to keep a child’s smile safe when they participate in sports. Young athletes who wear braces should always wear a mouthguard!
Parents of children who wear braces and play sports would benefit from knowing which mouthguard model best suits their child’s needs. While regular mouthguards provide a good amount of protection, they are made from a thermoplastic material that heats up as it sits in the mouth. This molds the mouthguard to the teeth and brackets, which means it cannot move with the teeth as they begin shifting towards their new positions. This can interfere with the straightening process and may lead to extra appointments or longer treatment times.
Dr. Sears recommends an orthodontic mouthguard for athletic patients who wear braces. These are designed specifically for orthodontic patients and made to fit comfortably over traditional brackets. Instead of the thermoplastic material regular mouthguards use, orthodontic models are made of high-grade silicone that cushions the lips. This prevents them from bumping against the teeth and braces, further reducing the risk of injury.
Are there different types of mouthguards?
There are three basic types of mouthguards that vary in cost, comfort, and protection levels. Stock mouthguards are ready-made and do not require a visit to the dentist or orthodontist. They can be found in most sporting goods stores, but they do come in a more limited range of sizes. Mouth-formed models soften when placed in hot water, then set in a child’s mouth where the pressure of their bite further shapes it. This gives braces patients a more personalized option, but one that can still be purchased over-the-counter at many sports stores. Custom-made mouthguards are available in most dental and orthodontic offices. They are created using impressions of the child’s mouth, resulting in the most accurate and comfortable fit. Any mouthguard should fit a child’s mouth comfortably and securely, have high-impact energy absorption, and never restrict their breathing in any way.
A note on orthodontic emergencies
Mouthguards offer active children a great deal of protection, but accidents can still happen. While true emergencies are rare, they do occur from time to time. These include:
- any serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, or gums
- swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
- severe pain or discomfort in the teeth, mouth, face, or neck
We are happy to advise you, should an injury occur.
Safer smiles with Coppe + Sears
As tough as some kids may be, even a minor dental or orthodontic injury can be upsetting. Wearing a mouthguard regularly when playing sports will help reduce the risk of these injuries, keeping smiles safe! Coppe + Sears are proud to support athletics in our community, helping children continue playing the sports they love while maintaining healthy teeth and gums. To learn more about protecting a child’s smile on the field or court, get in touch any time and we will be happy to outline all the options!