Playing Sports With Braces

Many Petrunic Orthodontics patients are active in sports. Both student and recreational athletes have questions about playing sports with braces. They want to know they’ll have to miss a season or two during their orthodontic treatment, or if they’re going to have to deal with discomfort in their mouths. 

While this is a widespread concern, it’s also one you can put out of your mind. You can continue playing any sport of the sports you love during orthodontic treatment, but you need to take precautions to keep your braces and mouth safe. We don’t want you to damage your braces, and we especially want to prevent you from injuring your teeth or gums! To learn more about how you can protect your braces and your mouth while playing sports, keep reading below. 

Wearing a mouthguard

Mouthguards are, without a doubt, the best way to protect your teeth and amount during all of your big plays. They’re simple to use and proven to be highly effective, even when participating in high-contact sports like football and hockey. 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.

You may want to consider investing in an orthodontic mouthguard if you know you’ll be playing sports regularly with braces. While regular mouthguards will provide some protection, they are generally made of thermoplastic, which heats up in your mouth and molds to your teeth. This kind of mouthguard can’t evolve with your teeth as they shift, ending up working against your braces. This may interrupt the straightening process. 

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 entirely if your mouth is hit hard enough. This can mean extra orthodontic visits and longer treatment times. 

In contrast, orthodontic mouthguards 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 (it’s exactly as bad as it sounds! Orthodontic mouthguards can be slightly larger than regular mouthguards, but they are just as comfortable.

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

Girl wearing a mouthguard

Over-the-counter mouthguards

Shock Doctor

Shock Doctor is a well-known brand their products are commonly considered some of the best orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Because they are made of 100% medical grade silicone and designed to conform to the upper brackets, they’re very comfortable and help reduce or eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to your teeth’ movement during treatment and are affordably priced in strapped and unstrapped styles.


For patients in braces who regularly participate in sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself, but do not hinder your ability to speak clearly. Vettex mouthguards contain lip guards, and while this makes them a little bulkier, they are still an inexpensive, lightweight option. However, do keep in mind that they have a more generalized design and are not 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 will re-mold to your teeth multiple times as they change. Because they are meant to adjust based on your current bite, they can be used by athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment and those without orthodontic appliances.

Possible injuries when playing sports with braces

Even if you’re wearing a mouthguard, a direct hit to your mouth while you’re in braces deserves attention. If this happens to you, we recommend getting in touch with our office as soon as possible. We’re always available in the event of an orthodontic emergency! 

Once we know what’s going on with you and your braces, Dr. Petrunic will be able to determine if we need to schedule you for an emergency appointment or not. Keep in mind that the single best way to protect your teeth, mouth, and braces while playing sports is by always wearing a mouthguard! An orthodontic model is best, but even a basic mouthguard is better than nothing and can help you avoid bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractures teeth. 

Protect your perfect smile with Petrunic Orthodontics

Mouthguards are an excellent investment in your oral health, shielding your teeth while they move into their new permanent positions. They also protect the straightening process itself! 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.

Whether you’re a current patient or have an appointment to get your braces on soon, we understand being nervous about how they’ll affect your season. We hope we’ve put your mind a little more at ease, but our team is always happy to answer any questions you have or talk through any concerns you have. With mouthguard protection and our skilled staff behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!