Playing Sports With Braces

If you regularly play sports for your school or community, we know you’re looking forward to getting back on the field or court. But what if you had braces put on recently? You may not be sure where that leaves you when it comes to summer sports and fall ball. Here at Periago Orthodontics, many of our patients are also athletes, so we’re no strangers to the concern about having to sit out a season or two. Fortunately, this isn’t anything you need to worry about! Even in braces, you can still play any sport you normally would, you’ll just have to take a few extra precautions to keep your braces and smile safe from any impact-related damage.

We’re hoping that everyone will be able to resume their normal sports schedule soon, but in the meantime, it’s always helpful to learn more about how you can protect your braces while staying active. The easiest way to achieve this is with mouthguards, so let’s take a closer look at how they work and why they should always be in your sports bag! 

Regular mouthguards vs. orthodontic mouthguards—and why it matters

Mouthguards are easy to use, extremely effective, and can help prevent damage from occurring whether you play low-impact or high-contact sports. They’re great to have around for practices, too! It only takes a small amount of pressure on your braces for them to irritate your gums or cheeks, so keep a mouthguard in during any physical activity for the best results. 

You can find mouthguards in both regular and orthodontic models. While regular mouthguards do provide protection, they’re made from a thermoplastic material that heats up in your mouth, molding to the teeth and brackets. This can be a problem because the molding doesn’t move with the teeth as they shift towards their new positions, which can actually end up working against the straightening process. This could result in extra visits to the office or a longer treatment time.  

If you wear braces and regularly play sports, an orthodontic mouthguard is likely to be a better option for you. They’re designed specifically for orthodontic patients, and use a high-grade silicone material instead of thermoplastic. This helps to cushion your lips and keeps them from bumping up against your teeth and braces. Orthodontic mouthguards are designed to fit over your braces, so they do tend to be a little larger than regular mouthguards. They’re still very comfortable to wear, though!

Types of mouthguards

Mouthguards  are sold in multiple online shops and in many sporting goods stores. While our recommendation is a custom-made orthodontic mouthguard for our patients who are athletes, the following brands will give you plenty of protection and are able to meet all your basic mouthguard needs.

Shock Doctor

This well-known brand makes some of the best affordable orthodontic mouthguards on the market. Since they’re designed for braces patients, they easily adapt to the brackets on the upper teeth, which helps to prevent cuts and scratches. The medical-grade silicone is lightweight and allows the mouthguards to easily adjust to the many changes your teeth will be making throughout the treatment process. 


These mouthguards feature a lip guard, which is recommended for athletes who wear braces. This keeps you from inadvertently biting yourself, but you’ll still be able to speak clearly and carry on conversations while wearing it. They’re a little bigger than some of the other models and aren’t made specifically for braces patients, but Vettex mouthguards are still a light, comfortable, and cost-effective option.


Gladiator mouthguards have a custom fit which makes it harder for them to fall out of the mouth when participating in high-impact sports, making them popular with MMA fighters and wrestlers in particular. They also offer a practical price point and a convenient “self-impression kit” you can use to easily make a mold of your own teeth.  


Tapout mouthguards can be remolded to the teeth multiple times, so they’re useful for anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. They also boast a unique feature which promotes improved airflow around the teeth and jaws. They’re comfortable to wear, won’t restrict your speech, and can be used with or without braces

Playing Sports With Braces

Let Periago Orthodontics help protect you smile

Even with a good mouthguard in place, you can still experience injuries or damage while wearing one. If you have any kind of oral injury while you’re in braces, let our office know as soon as possible and we’ll advise you on the next steps to take. Once we know more about what’s happening, Dr. Periago will be able to determine if you need to be seen for an emergency appointment.  

That being said, mouthguards are a wonderful investment in your smile. They shield your teeth as they move into their new positions, and help protect the actual straightening process, too. A custom-made orthodontic mouthguard is your best option as a braces patient, but any of the brands we mentioned above are good choices, too. And it goes without saying that any type of mouthguard is better than not wearing one at all when participating in sports!

Periago Orthodontics is proud to support you in all your athletic endeavors, and we’re here to help you continue to do the things you love while you’re in braces. That includes your favorite sports! If you have any questions or concerns about keeping your smile safe while you’re out there on the field or court, get in touch with us any time. We’ll be happy to talk you through it and will continue working hard to provide you with a stress-free and fun orthodontic journey.