Playing Sports With Braces

Here at Rhoads Orthodontics, we see quite a few patients who are active in sports, either for their school, in their communities, or just for fun. One common concern we hear from athletes is that playing sports with braces will affect their ability to play or even leave them on the sidelines for the season. If these worries have kept you from seeking orthodontic treatment, we have great news! You can continue playing any sport you’d like during treatment with braces or clear aligners!

In order to keep your teeth and appliances safe when you’re playing sports with braces, you’ll need to take a few extra precautions. Our top priority is protecting your braces from damage and keeping your mouth safe. To find out more about how you can protect your braces and your mouth while playing sports, keep reading below!

Mouthguard Information

The single best way to protect your teeth when you’re in the game is by wearing a mouthguard. These do a great job of protecting your teeth no matter what sport you’re playing, even high-contact sports like football and hockey! The best part is they’re easy to use and comfortable to wear. At Rhoads Orthodontics, we recommend wearing them for low-impact sports, too, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can irritate your mouth, causing small cuts or abrasions to your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

If you intend on playing sports with braces, one of the best investments you can make is an orthodontic mouthguard. While regular mouthguards do provide basic protection, they’re made of a rigid material called thermoplastic, which heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth. This kind of mouthguard can’t adjust well as your teeth move, so it may end up working against your braces, which can interrupt or delay your treatment.

Not only that, but a regular mouthguard that has molded itself too snugly around the brackets could shift them or even knock the brackets off completely if you sustained a hard enough hit. This could result in extra orthodontic visits or an increase in your total treatment time. 

Orthodontic mouthguards, on the other hand, are made from a high-grade silicone that cushions your lips and keeps them from bumping against your teeth and braces. This helps protect the brackets from any impact-related damage, and can also prevent painful scenarios like your lip getting caught in your braces (yes, it’s just as bad as it sounds!) Since they’re made of silicone material, they are more flexible which helps prevent damage to your brackets. Orthodontic mouthguards can be slightly larger than regular mouthguards, but they’re just as comfortable.


Over-the-counter mouthguards

Once you know the differences between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard, you can make the best decision for you based on what you will be using it for. These over-the-counter options provide effective protection for you and will be able to meet all your basic needs.

Shock Doctor

One of the most well-known brands, Shock Doctor mouthguards, are considered some of the best orthodontics mouthguards on the market. Because they are made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they’re more comfortable than other options and help reduce – or even eliminate! – cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to the movement of your teeth during treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.


If you’re in braces and regularly play sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself while allowing you to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they’re still an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, they have a more generalized design and aren’t made specifically for athletes in braces. 


Tapout mouthguards are a newer, more diverse style with a distinct design promoting airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with, and they can re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. Because they’re designed to adjust based on your current bite, athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment can use them, as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.

Injuries from playing sports in braces

Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, a direct hit to your mouth while you’re playing sports with braces still needs attention from your orthodontist. If it happens, get in touch with our office as soon as possible. We’re always available if you have an orthodontic emergency! Once we know what’s going on with you and your braces, Dr. Rhoads will be able to tell if we need to schedule you for an emergency appointment or not. Remember, the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by always wearing a mouthguard! An orthodontic model is the best option, but even a basic mouthguard will help prevent hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth.


Protect your game-changing smile with Rhoads Orthodontics

Mouthguards are an excellent investment in your oral health. They protect your teeth while they move into their new permanent positions. They also protect the straightening process itself! They work hard to protect your smile investment. We encourage all of our patients to wear any kind of mouthguard over not wearing one at all when participating in sports or other physical activity.

If you’re a current patient or are just getting started on the journey to your dream smile, we understand that you may have some nerves about the way braces may impact your ability to play sports. We would be happy to set your mind at ease! The team here at Rhoads Orthodontics is always available to answer any questions you may have. With Dr. Rhoads, the care of our skilled team, and a protective mouthguard, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!