Your child's dental braces represent an investment on a number of levels. There's the time it takes for them to do what they're intended to do, and of course, there's the financial cost as well. That investment needs to be protected, and this is particularly relevant if your child plays a contact sport that warrants a mouthguard. But are sports mouthguards actually compatible with dental braces?
Standard Sports Mouthguards
Standard sports mouthguards will offer some protection, but they're not entirely suitable for someone who wears braces. The size of the chosen mouthguard will reflect the approximate size of your child's jaw, but since it's not specifically designed with dental braces in mind (or in mouth), it will not adequately accommodate the different contours of teeth with braces attached to them. This can even result in the unintentional movement of the mouthguard, which can reduce its effectiveness. Not to worry, however, because there are plenty of other options.
Mouldable Sports Mouthguards
Your child would certainly benefit from a moldable mouthguard, which is soaked in hot water to soften the material before being placed in the wearer's mouth in order to get a precise fit. These types of silicone mouthguards will offer protection while your child is playing a sport, but they will need to be discarded each time your child has their braces adjusted, so a new mouthguard will need to be moulded to fit the new contours of your child's braces.
Pliable Sports Mouthguards
You can also obtain a sports mouthguard that is pliable without being flexible. Generally made from medical grade silicone, the mouthguard is rigid enough to offer protection but pliable enough to accommodate teeth with braces, adapting slightly as the configuration of your child's braces is adjusted by your orthodontist.
Custom-Made Sports Mouthguards
If you're unsure that a mouthguard purchased at a sporting shop is going to offer the necessary level of protection, ask your orthodontist for advice. They might be able to make a specific recommendation, and they can certainly make a pliable sports mouthguard especially for your child's mouth. This can be a good option if there is any doubt about the fit of an over-the-counter silicone mouthguard. A non-moulded mouthguard might feel loose in your child's mouth, but having one made just for them will overcome this issue.
If you successfully find suitable sports mouthguards, not only will your child's teeth be protected when they play a sport but also their braces too.