Ask the Orthodontist: Braces and Playing Sports

Alemen Sternstein feb 2016One of the first questions often asked from patients when beginning orthodontic treatment is about mouthguards and playing sports with braces on. Braces will not inhibit you from playing any sport, however sustaining trauma to the face may occur. The reality is sports related injuries are common among children and some of the children may be wearing braces. A recent study by the American Association of Orthodontics found that 70% of parents said their biggest worry was that their child would be hurt playing sports. Yet surprisingly 67% admitted their children do not wear a mouthguard while participating in sporting activities. Experiencing trauma to the face while wearing braces could actually be a blessing in disguise. Having braces attached to every tooth binds all the teeth together and a blow that could normally knock out a tooth is dissipated over all the teeth preventing the tooth from being lost completely. Trauma to the face may affect the teeth, supporting bones and the soft tissues. When you experience a traumatic injury, all three of these things should be evaluated. A hit to the mouth can cause your tooth damage by being chipping or braking the enamel. Either of these may cause the tooth to be sensitive to either hot or cold. To repair a broken or chipped tooth may require bonding (a building up of the tooth with dental composite), veneers (placing a custom made composite attached to the front side of the tooth), or a crown (a custom made covering to cover the entire tooth). You will need to see your general dentist to have these procedures done. If you notice the position of the teeth have changed, it is likely the bone surrounding the teeth may have been damaged. This could be a good thing as bone is weaker than teeth and will typically give way before the roots fracture. You should seek attention and may be referred to an oral surgeon to have this evaluated. Damage to the soft tissue (lips and cheeks) is probably the most common injury while wearing braces as they are often cut during an accident. Cold packs should be placed for 24-28 to reduce the swelling. Remember the mouth is highly vascular compared to other areas of your body, so there may be more bleeding when the injury occurs, but should allow for rapid healing. A severe cut may require seeing an oral surgeon and receiving stitches. There are many mouthguards available to patients on the market today; it may be a matter of trying more than one and determining which one works best for you. You can check with your orthodontist to see what they use or recommend. If you do experience an injury while in orthodontic treatment you should notify your orthodontist so that he/she can guide you to receive the help you need to get back in the game.   Submitted by Springfield Moms premium sponsor Aleman, Sternstein & McDaniel. For more information on their services and for a coupon for a free consultation (valued at $35), visit our Mom's Choice Directory.              

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