Taking care of orthodontic health doesn’t just mean taking measures to correct your bite and straighten your teeth. It means protecting the teeth and jaw when you do activities that may bring injuries to those areas.
Whether you or your children participate in organized sports, play sports for fun, or mess around on the monkey bars, accidents can happen. We want you to be prepared for those accidents and prevent as much injury as possible.
April is National Facial Protection month, and as orthodontic healthcare specialists, we’re reminding everyone to protect their orthodontic health by using proper protection when playing sports and other activities. Sixty-seven percent of parents surveyed by the American Association of Orthodontists said their child does not wear a mouth guard, which could put children at risk for severe oral injuries. A single traumatic injury to the teeth may never heal completely, and can cause a lifetime of long-term problems.
Some of the oral injuries that can occur when being active are:
- Chipped or broken teeth
- Knocked out Teeth
- Fractured crowns and bridgework
- Lip, tongue, and cheek injuries
- Root damage to teeth
- Fractured jaws
These are just the oral-related injuries, and don’t include the injuries that could occur elsewhere if not using proper facial protection.
TAO orthodontists recommend to always play it safe when it comes to sports or activities that could potentially be dangerous; even the ones that don’t seem like they would cause a need for protection like softball, dodgeball, biking, gymnastics, etc.
Damaged or knocked out teeth will not grow back. Protect your smile and your overall health by wearing a mouth guard and other appropriate protection when being active. That means wearing protective gear during practice as well as in the game, and making sure that proper precautions are being taken during any activity.
A properly fitted mouth guard is especially important for people who wear braces or have other orthodontic appliances. A blow to the face could damage these appliances and mean even more work needs to be done in order to repair the appliances and the teeth themselves, as well as delay treatment timelines.
A braces mouth guard is typically a bit wider and allows room for the brackets as well as the teeth, while still fitting comfortably. It protects braces as well as the teeth, gums and jaw, and options are available to suit most needs and budgets. With advice from your coach and your TAO Orthodontist, you can find the best solution for you or your child.
Once you have a mouth guard, it is also important to take care of it. You want to make sure that you keep the mouth guard clean and dry, keep it out of the water, and if your mouth guard is looking worn and is growing weak in some areas, make sure to replace it.
The best mouth guard is one that fits right for your mouth or the mouth of your child. Visit your local orthodontic specialist in order to identify the mouth guard that will provide the right protection for you. This is especially important if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, as you may require a different type of mouth guard than you would need otherwise.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer damage to the teeth if they are not wearing a mouth guard. So, take the proper precautions in your sports activities, and protect your smile!