Playing Sports While Wearing Braces

Here at Windy City Orthodontics, many of our patients are active in sports. Whether they play for their school or in their community, they often worry that starting their braces treatment will leave them stuck on the sideline for the season. If you’re an athlete who plans on playing sports while wearing braces, you may be worried about playing sports with braces and how your treatment will affect your performance or if they could even keep you from playing.

While this is a very common concern, thankfully it’s also an unfounded one. You can continue playing any sport you want while undergoing orthodontic treatment, but you will need to take some precautions to keep your braces and mouth safe. Dr. Darren C. Pakravan is focused on protecting your braces from damage and making sure you don’t injure your teeth or gums. To find out more about how you can protect your braces and your mouth while playing sports, keep reading below! 

Wearing a mouthguard

Mouthguards are the absolute best way to protect your teeth when you’re in the game. 

They 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 incredibly easy to use. Dr. Pakravan also recommends wearing them for low-impact sports, since even a small amount of pressure on your braces can cause irritation in your mouth, leading to small cuts or abrasions on your gums and the inside of your cheeks.

If you’ll be playing sports while wearing braces, one of the best investments you can make is an orthodontic mouthguard. Regular mouthguards will provide some protection. Standard mouthguards are 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 to your teeth as they shift, so it may end up working against your braces. This 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 lead to 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 prevents 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!) Since they’re made of silicone, orthodontic mouthguards 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.

Once you know the pros and cons of both a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you based on what you’ll be using it for. 


Over-the-counter mouthguards

These over-the-counter options provide effective protection for your braces and teeth 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 available today. Since 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 eliminate cuts and scrapes. Shock Doctor mouthguards adjust to the movement of your teeth throughout treatment and are affordably priced in both strapped and unstrapped styles.


If you’re wearing braces and play sports regularly, mouthguards with a lip guard are a huge plus. Lip guards will keep you from accidentally biting yourself while still 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 versatile style with a unique design that promotes more airflow. The comfortable fit makes them easy to talk with and they can re-adjust to your teeth multiple times as they shift during treatment. Because they’re meant to adjust based on your current bite, they’re perfect for athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment as well as those without any orthodontic appliances.

Injuries from playing sports in braces

A direct hit to your mouth while you’re wearing braces is something that should always be brought to Dr. Pakravan’s attention. If this happens to you, contact our office as soon as possible and we’ll be able to determine if you should come in for an emergency visit or not. Remember that the best way to protect your teeth and braces is to always wear your mouthguard! While an orthodontic option is preferred, even a standard mouthguard will provide basic protection against hits that could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, or even fractured teeth. 


Protect your perfect smile with Windy City Orthodontics

When it comes to your braces treatment, a mouthguard is one of the best investments you could make when you intend to play sports! They provide protection as your teeth shift into their new, straighter positions. They also protect the straightening process itself! Therefore, they 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 activities. 

Whether you’re a current Windy City Orthodontics patient or have an appointment to get your braces on soon, our team understands that you may be nervous about the impact braces will have on your ability to play sports. We’d be happy to give you peace of mind! We’re always here to answer any questions you may have or to talk through any concerns. With mouthguard protection and our skilled staff behind you, you’ll have everything you need to keep your smile looking and feeling great!