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Protecting your smile while playing sports is essential when you have braces.


Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums because they absorb the impact of the injury. If you participate in any contact sports, it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that you wear a mouthguard.

Types of mouthguards

Choosing the right mouthguard is essential. There are three basic types of mouthguards:

  • pre-made mouthguards,
  • "boil-and-bite" fitted mouthguards, and
  • custom-made mouthguards

Custom-made mouthguards can be made at our office and provide optimal protection against mouth injuries.

The "boil-an-bite" mothguards are NOT recommended when you have braces as they will prevent teeth movement or not fit well as your teeth shift during treatment.

When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly.

Taking care of your mouthguard

Similar to a retainer, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean, as well as knowing when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one.

Here are a few simple ways to keep your mouthguard clean and working correctly:

  • Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
  • Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
  • Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
  • Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard.
  • If you wear braces, your dentist will help design a mouthguard to protect your teeth and your braces.
  • Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard.

Sports-related injuries to the mouth and jaw are some of the most common injuries incurred by athletes. Our goal is to help minimize your chances of a sports-related injury to your smile. Be sure to ask Dr. Van Westen about mouthguards at your next appointment — GO TEAM!