The fall sports season will soon be underway, which means now is the time for athletes to get fitted for mouthguards. As one of the south suburbs’ trusted orthodontic specialists, we at the Orland Park office of Dr. Cynthia Wong are especially concerned about children’s dental safety. It is vital for our patients to understand which mouthguard option will best preserve their orthodontic progress.
An Invisalign aligner is not a mouthguard, and patients will need to remove their aligner or retainer before putting a mouthguard in. Although mouthguards should be made of sturdy material, they should not cause obstructed breathing when fitted properly. The one-size-fits-all models available from athletic retailers are better than using no protection at all, but orthodontic patients may prefer boil-and-bite models. These oral appliances can be reshaped after each orthodontic check-up, allowing them to keep pace with the changes in a patient’s teeth’s position. They can also be shaped to accommodate traditional braces.
Student athletic associations generally require participants to have gotten their mouthguards refitted recently, and sports such as wrestling require participants with fixed braces to wear mouthguards on their upper and lower teeth. Like aligners and retainers, mouthguards and their cases need to be cleaned after each use. Cleaning instructions will vary by model, but unlike dentures and retainers, mouthguards and their containers should be kept dry to prevent the growth of pathogens.