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Playing Sports with Dental Braces? What Parents Need to Know!

According to statistics from a recent publication in the journal Sports Health, titled Common Dental Injury Management in Athletes”, each year over 5 million children and adolescents suffer dental injuries while playing sports in the United States[1].  The most common of these dental injuries include tooth fractures, tooth avulsion (a tooth that has been knocked out),  tooth subluxation (where tooth becomes misaligned), and chipped teeth.

While statistics for dental injuries are difficult to gather, studies indicate that the majority of these dental injuries occur in basketball, football, hockey, boxing, and martial arts. Rugby and water sports also have a relatively high risk of dental injuries.

Studies show that children ages 7 to 10 have the highest risk of sustaining dental or orofacial injuries related to sports.[2]  For this age group, children suffered the most dental and orofacial injuries from baseball, biking, hockey, and basketball. The most oral injuries in adolescents age 13-17 occur while playing basketball.  And not surprisingly, children with braces are the most susceptible to these  types of oral injuries from sports.

SmilingYangs helps prevent and treat sports-related dental injuries.  If your son or daughter is active in sports, it’s critical to protect their mouth and jaw.  Mouth guards are mandatory for contact sports including football and boxing, but we recommend the use of mouth guards for all athletes to protect teeth and gums from injury.  Wearing a properly fitting mouth guard can significantly reduce the risk of suffering fractured tooth roots or broken teeth.  Choosing the right mouth guard is important, especially if your child wears braces.  Not only should the mouth guard be comfortable and durable, but it should also allow your child to breathe normally.

The basic “boil and bite” mouth guards are not good for use by children wearing braces because these appliances are molded to the teeth after boiling.  Since braces gently move teeth over time, this type of mouth guard would not fit over the braces properly after a few weeks.

There are some mouth guards designed to be used with braces.  While these are not the best option, they are a less expensive option.

The best option is a mouth guard custom made to fit your child’s mouth.  Using a mold, we can create a copy of your child’s teeth, allowing proper space for braces and teeth alignment. The fit will be comfortable and the custom mouth guard will be durable so your child can enjoy being a kid!

Once your child is fitted for his or her braces mouth guard, it’s important that your child understands how to care for the mouth guard.

  • Gently brush the mouth guard after each use.
  • Always keep the mouth guard in a protective case when not using it.
  • Avoid leaving the mouth guard in or near hot sun or hot water.
  • Bring your mouth guard with you to each orthodontic visit, and be sure to check with us to ensure the mouth guard fits properly before each sports season.
  • Refrain from chewing on the mouth guard.

If your believe your child may require braces, please contact a qualified dental health professional such as SmilingYangs Orthodontics to obtain a comprehensive evaluation.   Your orthodontist will discuss your diagnosis and find the best treatment options available for you.

SmilingYangs Orthodontics

Since 1998, USC and Harvard – trained Orthodontist Dr. James T. Yang, B.D.S., D.D.S., D.M.Sc. has provided state-of-the-art orthodontic care and service to the South Florida community.  SmilingYangs Orthodontics, opened in 1998, is dedicated to providing excellent orthodontic care, treating each patient with respect and professionalism.  Dr. Yang and his talented team at SmilingYangs Orthodontics take pride in their office atmosphere:  a friendly, comfortable environment with courteous, attentive, and punctual staff members.  Learn more about SmilingYangs Orthodontics and their excellent patient reviews at www.smilingyangs.com or call (954) 623-8446 to schedule an appointment today.

[1] Common Dental Injury Management in Athletes
Eliot J. Young, MD, FAAFP, CAQSM,*† C. Roger Macias, DDS, FACD, and Lindsay Stephens, DO§
Sports Health. 2015 May; 7(3): 250–255.doi:  10.1177/1941738113486077
[2] Sports-Related Dental Injuries and Sports Dentistry
Rick Knowlton, DMD, MAGD and Connie M. Kracher, PhD, MSD.  Dentalcare.com


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