Protecting Your Braces for Sports

Sports are important to most teenagers, and many are very active in some themselves! Getting braces is something that athletes often dread because they assume that will be the end of their school sporting career. That could not be further from the truth! At Smile Orthodontics, we get questions all the time about how patients can still play sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

The great new is that you can still play any sport with braces!

That being said, you probably shouldn’t go play tackle football with reckless abandon. There are still some precautions you should take in order to make sure that your mouth and teeth stay safe while participating in your sport. Your teeth are of utmost importance to us and we hope you feel as strongly about them as we do, especially if you’re playing sports with braces. Now let’s take a look at how you can protect your mouth from injury while playing sports!

Regular mouthguard vs. Orthodontic mouthguard

Obviously, mouthguards are going to be your best friend when it comes to sports. They’re simple ways to keep your teeth from receiving too much damage if your mouth gets banged up a little bit while playing a sport. The best way to protect at-risk mouths is by wearing an orthodontic mouthguard.

Now, orthodontic mouthguards are different than regular mouthguards. Regular mouthguards are thermoplastic, which means they are heated up and molded to your teeth, even around brackets. This can pose a problem, though, when undergoing orthodontic treatment: since they are molded to your teeth, the mold doesn’t also shift whenever the teeth move positions. The mouthguard will actually work against the braces to keep them from straightening your teeth. Another problem with these types of mouthguards is that the mold fits a little bit too well to the brackets on the teeth. If you get a hit to the mouth hard enough, the force of it could potentially knock the brackets off of your teeth. This can lead to more orthodontic visits and prolonged treatment, and all because you weren’t wearing a more particular type of mouthguard. While we love when our patients stop by, we also know how inconvenient that can be!

This is why an orthodontic mouthguard is considered a much better option for someone with braces or other orthodontic treatment. These mouthguards were made especially for someone with braces: it is made of high-grade silicone and has large, rubber flanges that go under the lip to keep them from being pushed into brackets. This is very beneficial because if your lip or the inside of your cheek gets stuck on the wings of a bracket, it can be very painful! If your lip begins to swell, it gets pinched tighter and tighter, and the only way it might be able to be dislodged is by seeing an orthodontist!

Now that you know the difference between the two types of mouthguards, let’s have a look at the different brands of orthodontic mouthguards. All of them work well, but the best one you can get is one that is made custom for you by either your orthodontist or dentist. That being said, there are also plenty of other over-the-counter mouthguards that can work and are easy to use.

Orthodontic mouthguards

Shock Doctor

Some of the best sports orthodontic mouthguards come from Shock Doctor. These are specifically designed for athletes with braces in mind. They conform to the upper teeth brackets for comfort and to prevent lacerations. They are made with 100% medical grade silicone, and they adjust to the changes in structure that your teeth are making during treatment. They’re reasonably priced, and they come in both strapped and unstrapped designs. These mouthguards are some of the slimmest and most lightweight mouthguards in their field, and they have the reviews and solid reputation to back up the claim.


Having a lip guard is something that is encouraged when playing a sport with braces. It can keep you from biting yourself accidentally and it’s also easy enough to wear while having a conversation. If you’re looking for one of these, Vettex makes some of the best mouthguards that also contains lip guards as well. They’re simple and lightweight, but they can be a little bulkier than most. They are cost effective, but keep in mind that these are not custom models and they are also not specifically made for athletes with braces.


This brand of mouthguards is preferred by many wrestlers and mixed martial artists, since it’s super easy to lose your mouthguard in sports like these. They are fairly reasonably priced and are custom fit. A plus to this company is that they offer a “self-impression kit” so that you can make a mold of your teeth from the convenience of your own home!


Tapout is a new mouthguard that can be re-molded to your teeth multiple times. They claim that their mouthguards can be used with and without braces and will adjust as your bite adjusts. It is also designed to let in some air-flow around your teeth and jaws. They can be a little bit more expensive than other mouthguards, but Amazon claims that is comfortable and that you are able to talk almost completely normally.


We realize that some of these options for mouthguards can be a little pricey, but you’ll want the ones that will do the best job at protecting your mouth while also allowing room for your teeth to adjust to their new positions. We promise they’re worth it for the protection and quality you’re getting! We will always recommend a custom-made mouthguard from your orthodontist first, but these brands that we’ve mentioned are very good alternatives.

At Smile Orthodontics, we want to help your protect your child’s mouth from any harm from sports, and we hope you feel the same! If your child is worried about not being able to play sports when they get braces – or just worried about braces in general – bring them into Smile Orthodontics! We are more than willing to talk to your child to make sure they know exactly what to expect with braces while playing sports. Visit either of our locations in Santa Rosa or Windsor or click here for a free consultation. We hope to see you soon!

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