It is officially back to school season, which means that a lot of kids in Alpharetta are getting ready to get back into their favorite fall sports. Before the fun can begin, it is very important to ensure that your child has all the proper safety equipment they need! Many athletic leagues require participants to wear mouth guards as part of their protective equipment during some or all of the activity time. If the participant has braces, these regulations are often more specific and strict. We’ve put together the answers to some frequently asked questions about mouthguards for athletes with braces for your convenience.
Which mouthguard is the right choice for my sport?
Different sports with different intensities and levels of contact have different requirements for safety equipment. For example, wrestling leagues often require that participants wear double mouth guards, especially when they have braces, while tennis leagues typically do not require players to wear mouthguards at all. Be sure to find out what your child’s league requires before purchasing anything. It is also important to note that even if a mouthguard is not required, it may still be a good idea to get one if your child has braces. When in doubt, refer to the coach or administrative staff for your child’s team.
Should I get a single or double mouthguard?
Some sports leagues only require players to wear single mouthguards, which protect the teeth on the player’s upper jaw, while some require double mouth guards, which protect both the upper and lower jaws. Double mouthguards are often required in high contact sports, like wrestling, if the player has braces on their bottom teeth.
Should I buy an off-the-shelf or custom made mouthguard?
When purchasing a mouth guard for your child, you have two options: an off-the-shelf mouthguard or a mouthguard that is custom made by their pediatric dentist or orthodontist. In order to decide which option is best, you’ll want to consult both their doctor and their sports league’s policy. Some leagues actually require players with braces to wear mouth guards made by their orthodontists, while others allow either one.
While custom mouthguards may be more precise, they will also be more expensive. They may not always be the most effective option either, due to the fact that braces are supposed to adjust your teeth. The more your teeth move, the less they will fit properly into the same mouthguard mold. In some cases, it is much cheaper and more effective to purchase the “boil and bite” mouthguards available in stores that allow customization at home.
Can I use a regular mouthguard if I have braces?
Most brands that make athletic mouthguards also offer products specifically designed for players with braces, or state on the packaging that their standard mouthguard product is safe to use if you have braces. In general, mouthguards that are made specifically for athletes with braces are a little wider and more bulky to accommodate their orthodontic equipment. Single and double moldable mouthguards that are safe for braces should be available at your local sporting goods store. If for some reason you can’t find them in store, there are plenty of options available online.
We hope we were able to answer your questions and will help you make an educated choice for your child that you can feel good about! Don’t forget to consult with your child’s orthodontist once you know the regulations of the sport or activity, as every situation is a little different. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our office today!