Can I Still Play Sports With Braces?

Are you considering braces for you or your child, but one or more of you play a contact sport and aren’t sure if orthodontics and athletics mix? It’s a common concern that many of our patients at Heinrichs Orthodontics share. The question, “Can I still play sports with braces?” is frequently asked by athletes and parents alike, who worry that orthodontic treatment might sideline them from the sports they love. The good news is that with the proper precautions and protective measures, participating in sports while undergoing orthodontic treatment is not just possible—it’s encouraged! 

What Are Braces?

Braces are not just for teenagers who want straight teeth for their senior formal. They’re for patients of all ages who want to improve their smile’s health, function, and aesthetics. Our traditional-style metal and clear braces consist of brackets and wires that put gentle, continuous pressure on the teeth to move them into their new locations.

Concerns With Braces In Sports

It’s normal to have a few butterflies about mixing braces with sports. “What if I get hit in the mouth?” or “Can my braces withstand an accidental elbow during a basketball game?” are valid questions. It’s natural to worry about the “what ifs,” especially when it comes to the potential for broken braces. So, what happens if your braces do take a hit?

A strong impact can lead to a broken bracket or wire, which, though not an emergency, does require attention. A bracket dislodged from the teeth or a severed wire can make eating, talking, and performing oral hygiene uncomfortable. It can give you mouth sores, pinch the cheeks, cause gum bleeding, and, in a worst-case scenario, hinder your orthodontic progress. 

While these concerns are understandable, they’re also manageable. The world of orthodontics has evolved, ensuring that athletes can continue their sports endeavors without skipping a beat. And we can tell you how!

Can I Still Play Sports With Braces?
Boy is ready to wear braces.

Playing Sports With Braces

The key to success here is protection. A well-fitted mouthguard for braces becomes your best friend on the field or court, acting as a protective barrier between your braces and the potential impacts of sports. Mouthguards are essential to safeguarding your orthodontic investment by ensuring your mouth and gums stay safe from cuts, bruises, and more that could sideline you from the action.

You can get mouthguards from your local drugstore, sports store, or online. In our opinion, though, the best place to get a mouthguard is from Heinrichs Orthodontics. We sell custom orthodontic mouthguards. What makes our mouthguards better than the standard options? That’s easy—it’s in the name! Orthodontic mouthguards are designed with braces in mind, giving the wearer a snug fit for maximum comfort and protection.

And before you or your child starts to think, “I’m too cool for a mouthguard,” you should know that 90% of NHL players wear a mouthguard. If the pros aren’t too cool for safety, neither are you! 

So, lace up those sneakers or strap on that helmet, and don’t forget your mouthguard. 

What If You Forget Your Mouthguard?

We never judge our patients at Heinrichs Orthodontics, especially if you accidentally forget your mouthguard once or twice and come to us with broken braces. Accidents can happen even with the best precautions and wearing your mouthguard every time—though uncommon. Here’s what to do if you face an injury while wearing braces:

  • Rinse and Assess: Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the area. Carefully assess for any visible damage to your braces or injuries inside your mouth.
  • Pain Relief: If there’s minor discomfort, applying a cold compress to the outside of your mouth can help reduce swelling and relieve pain. You could also take over-the-counter medications or use Orajel to numb the area.
  • Cover Sharp Edges: If a wire or bracket is broken and causing irritation, use orthodontic wax to cover any sharp edges until you can see your orthodontist. Orthodontic wax can also hold dislodged brackets and bent wires in place until we can repair them.
  • Avoid DIY Fixes: Resist the urge to fix any broken parts yourself. Temporary solutions can lead to further damage or delay proper repair.
  • Contact Your Orthodontist: Schedule an appointment with Dr. Heinrichs as soon as possible to get your braces fixed. Quick action and professional guidance are crucial to handling injuries effectively without compromising your orthodontic treatment, oral health, cosmetics, or safety.

Note: Orthodontic emergencies do not require visiting an emergency room or medical doctor. However, if you feel your injury might surpass our orthodontics expertise, we suggest you seek medical attention immediately.

Can I Still Play Sports With Braces?

Your Journey To A New Smile Doesn’t Have To Bench Your Athletic Career.

At Heinrichs Orthodontics, we’re committed to ensuring that your path to a perfect smile is smooth and uninterrupted, even as you pursue your passion for sports. Remember, whether you’re on the field, the court, or the track, your braces are there to support you, not hold you back. With our expert care and your dedication, there’s no limit to what you can achieve—both in your orthodontic journey and your athletic goals.

Ready to score a winning smile? Contact us today to schedule a smile assessment and learn more about how we can support your whole family’s active lifestyles while perfecting your or your child’s alignment!