It is officially back to school season, which means a lot of kids in Wichita are getting back into their favorite fall sports. While you’re preparing for the crazy schedule of practices, games, and competitions, make sure 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. If the participant has braces, these regulations are often more specific. We’ve put together the answers to some frequently asked questions about mouthguards for athletes with braces for your convenience.
Which mouthguard is right for me?
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 if your child has braces.
Should I buy off-the-shelf or custom made?
When purchasing a mouth guard for your child, you have two basic 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 for your child, you’ll want to consult both their doctor and the sports league’s policy. Some leagues actually require players with braces to wear mouth guards made by their orthodontists, while others allow either option.
While custom mouthguards will often 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, and once your teeth move even a little they will no longer fit 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.
Do I need a single or double mouthguard?
Some sports leagues only require players to wear single mouthguards, while some require double mouth guards. Single mouthguards protect the teeth on the player’s upper jaw, while double mouthguards protect both the upper and lower jaws. Double mouthguards are often required in high contact sports if the player has braces on their bottom teeth.
Can I use a standard mouthguard if I have braces?
Most brands that make athletic mouthguards also make products specifically designed for players with braces, or state on the packaging that their standard mouthguard product is safe to use with braces. In general, mouthguards 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 you can’t find them in store, there are plenty of options available online.
We hope this information has answered your questions and will help you make a 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 in question, as every situation is a little different. If you have any more questions or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our office today!