Sports Safety and Orthodontic Emergencies

Are you getting pumped up for your athletic career-in-the-making? Well, don’t let braces hold you back! It is a common misconception that students undergoing orthodontic treatment have to trade in their favorite sport for a set of braces. Fortunately, there is no need to choose! Be it basketball, football, softball, or gymnastics, your athletic dreams can absolutely coexist with your orthodontic dreams. No need to sit on the sidelines during the pep rally! Get up and join in – just remember that the key to managing the best of both worlds is taking the right steps to keep yourself safe. 

Here at Johnson Orthodontics, we believe in your ability to participate in the sports you love while receiving the care you deserve. Check out this guide for how to keep your braces safe during your athletic season. 

Orthodontic Treatment Options

Most of our patients come to their initial consultation either knowing that they are going to be trying out for the school team or are already participating in their sport of choice. As the orthodontist overseeing your care, this is extremely helpful information to know because it may play a factor in determining the treatment method that is right for you. From traditional metal braces to Invisalign, our office has multiple different treatment options that we can consider together as a team before beginning your alignment. 

Metal Braces

As the traditional option, metal braces are often the first that come to mind when considering orthodontic treatment. These braces work by tightening the wire attached to a bracket glued to each tooth. With gentle, continuous pressure, your teeth are aligned over a period of 12-36 months, depending on the severity of your case, your mouth’s response to treatment, and your desired outcome. With metal braces, you will need to wear a mouthguard to protect yourself when engaging in physical activity.

Clear Braces

Clear braces work the same way as metal braces. The difference is that clear braces use white, ceramic brackets that blend in with the color of your teeth and provide a less noticeable appearance. Because this method is almost identical to metal braces, you’ll need to wear a protective mouthguard with these as well. 


This removable treatment option uses a series of clear trays that adjust your teeth without the use of wires or brackets. Because they are clear, this option allows you to straighten your teeth with a look that is almost invisible. By wearing these trays for 22 hours per day for 9-15 months, you’ll see results in no time. With this treatment method, you could simply remove the trays for the duration of the physical activity – but don’t forget to put it back in as soon as you are done!

Sports Safety and Orthodontic Emergencies

Defense is the Best Offense: Protective Mouthguards

Mouthguards are an absolute necessity for athletes with braces, but even if you don’t opt for metal or clear braces, a mouthguard is always advisable when playing contact sports. There are multiple different options available, and each comes with its own pros and cons. 

Regular Sports Mouthguard

This type of mouthguard is designed for general sports use and can easily be found at any sporting goods store near you. Convenient and affordable, sports mouthguards protect your teeth, lips, and jaw from any blunt force that may occur while engaging in physical activity. 

While they are a great option for athletes without braces to consider, these may not be the best choice for athletes undergoing orthodontic treatment. This is because they are not designed with braces in mind and may not even cover your teeth completely, meaning the risk of injury is still pretty high. 

Over-the-Counter Mouthguard

You can find these mouthguards at your local pharmacy. These mouthguards are moldable, so they offer a fit specific to your mouth, and they are an affordable and convenient option.

While they are far more protective than regular sports mouthguards, the over-the-counter option is not designed for use with orthodontics. Because they are meant to prevent an individual from grinding their teeth in their sleep rather than prevent injury, you may still experience a loose fit over your braces. 

Orthodontic Mouthguard

By far the best option for preventing injury and protecting your braces while you participate in athletics, the sole purpose of orthodontic mouthguards is to ensure your braces are safe on the field or in the gym. They are also designed to fit your braces specifically, meaning they will give you the best fit possible. Orthodontic mouthguards may be a little more expensive, but they are durable, long-lasting, and practical, meaning you should have no worries about after-school practice. We are happy to provide our patients with a proper mouthguard – just ask at your next appointment!

Remember, having any mouthguard is better than not having one at all – but make sure you consider your options carefully so that you can keep yourself safe no matter the sport you’re playing. 

In Case of Emergency

Should your child become injured at a game or practice, the most important step is to stay calm and rest easy knowing that there are a series of trustworthy steps that you can take to ensure their injuries are taken care of. Common orthodontic injuries seen on the field include fractured teeth, missing teeth, or extruded or intruded teeth. These all sound intimidating, and it is definitely important to get immediate care for your child should any of these injuries occur. Depending on the severity of the case, you may want to take them to the emergency room. Be sure to call your child’s orthodontist as soon as possible to set up an appointment to address the orthodontic side of their injury. 

Sports Safety and Orthodontic Emergencies

Johnson Orthodontics: Your Biggest Cheerleaders

If you’re interested in participating in sports and making sure your teeth straighten up, you’re in good company. Even the likes of Venus Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t let their braces hinder their ability to become some of the best-known athletes in their respective fields. Every day, athletes all over the world find a way to play their favorite sport while protecting their braces, and as long as you follow the instructions of your doctor, you too can move your athletic career forward without taking a break. 

Now that you’ve put your fears aside and feel prepared to tackle – pun intended – the world of sports alongside the world of orthodontics, why not sign up for a free consultation with Dr. Johnson today?