Orthodontic work is often undertaken during the early to late teen years, which also often coincides with the time when many teens are involved in sports and other activities. If your teen has recently been fitted for braces, you may be a little bit worried about them when they hit the field or court. The following tips can help avoid accidents that could damage the braces or lead to injury.
Tip #1: Get a mouth guard
The single best investment you can make for your athletic teen is in a mouth guard. Your dentist will fit your teen with an orthodontic mouth guard, which is specifically designed to fit your teen's mouth and protect against trauma from a wayward ball or elbow. These mouth guards are relatively comfortable, since they are made of silicone and formed to fit around both the teeth and the brackets on the braces. They are suitable for use in both high contact and low impact sports. In fact, your teen should wear one even in sports that don't traditionally require a mouth guard, like baseball, while the orthodontic work is in progress.
Tip #2: Keep an emergency number on hand
Even with proper protection, a direct strike to the mouth can still result in injured teeth or broken braces. In this case, it is best to contact your orthodontist immediately so they can determine whether an emergency appointment is necessary. If your orthodontist doesn't provide after-hour service, then ask them for a referral to a 24-hour emergency dentist. Keep this number on hand at all times, and also make sure it is recorded on your teen's health and medical forms that are kept by the coach or team adviser.
Tip #3: Don't wear a retainer during sports
Once your teen makes the move from braces to a retainer, the rules change a little bit. Retainers should not be worn during the sport activity; retainers are not affixed to the teeth so they are more likely to cause injury. Instead, your teen should remove the retainer and keep it in its case until after the game. Your teen should wear a mouth guard, though. This can be a standard mouth guard for the sport, or your orthodontist can have a custom fit mouth guard made to better fit your teen's teeth.
For more help or any further questions on braces and sports, contact an orthodontist like Crest Hill Family Dental.