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Your child’s braces are an investment that is designed to give them the most beautiful smile possible to enjoy in their future. While your child should already be involved in the care of their braces by brushing their teeth and avoiding certain foods, you may need to help them take additional steps to protect their metal brackets and wires.
What to about Mouthguards
Many children enjoy playing sports during the same ages when they are prime candidates for braces. Since your child may need to wear braces for several months to years, you don’t want to make them sit on the bench. Fortunately, the orthodontic field has already come up with the perfect solution for this problem since it is possible to use mouthguards to protect your child’s soft oral tissues from damage during collisions with a ball or another person.
While these oral guards are great for protecting teeth and gums, they can be a little tricky to select and create a perfect mold. Once your child’s braces are placed, you can use these five hacks to simplify the process of getting them a mouthpiece that is comfortable enough that they will wear it during every game and practice. These strategies are also perfect for helping to make sure that the appliance fits properly in your child’s mouth so that they do not damage the braces or fall out when they are needed most.
Choose the Right Mouthguard
Your first step is to make sure that you choose an appliance that fits your child’s mouth. Most mouthguards come in sizes that are divided up into the categories of adult and children. For most kids, the adult size should work. This is because kids over the age of 7 have a mouth arch that is closer to the size of an adult’s than a younger child.
Keep in mind, however, that your child may have a smaller than average mouth. This is an especially big concern if they are on the younger side for getting braces. When in doubt, talk to your child’s orthodontist before you try to pop a mold in their mouth. Mouthguards that are too big could be uncomfortable. Meanwhile, one that is too small will not properly protect all of their teeth.
Help Children Follow the Instructions Carefully
The types of guards that you can buy for your child’s mouth are usually moldable after you perform specific steps such as placing the mold into hot water. Your child will also need to hold their mouth in the proper position for a specific period of time. Since each step must be done properly for the oral guard to fit perfectly, you will need to be highly involved in the process.
Make sure to read the instructions carefully before you even begin the procedure. You should also have your child read the steps to make sure that they understand what you are talking about as you guide them through the process. Once you begin, go through each step together, and be prepared to have to do it more than once if you have never molded a guard on your own before.
Create a Barrier for the Brackets
One issue that people frequently encounter while they are molding a gum shield for their braces is that the putty solution sticks to the brackets. If the putty gets stuck in the brackets, then you may have trouble removing the mold from the mouth. It could also pull the brackets off of your child’s teeth or cause them considerable pain during the removal process. For this reason, you may need to cover the brackets with foil or dental wax before you place the mold on their teeth.
The material that you use should be thin enough that it does not interfere with making the impressions of your child’s teeth, but it should also be sturdy enough to provide a protective barrier. Once the mold is set, your child will not need to place these materials on their brackets again. They will only need to place the guard in their mouth as normal before they play their sport.
Make a Plan for Adjustments as Teeth Shift
Braces place slight pressure on your child’s teeth that moves them slowly into their positions. Over time, your child’s teeth alignment will shift, which is the reason why you are using braces in the first place. While this is a great sign of progress from an orthodontic perspective, it also means that you cannot expect that your child will only need to mold a guard fo rather mouth one time.
Instead, most orthodontic patients must make several molds during the course of their treatment to accommodate the new positions of their teeth. Talk to your child’s orthodontist about which shields are best when your child is undergoing long-term treatment that will require multiple changes over the course of their sports seasons. Some shields are able to be molded multiple times so that you can avoid having to buy a completely new one each time.
Have a Professional Help With the Gum Shield
As with most types of orthodontic care, this is one area where you don’t want to skimp just to save a small amount of time and money. While you can make a mouth shield by yourself, it is best to work with your child’s orthodontist to make sure that it is done right. They can help to make sure that it fits each tooth the right way and that it is not so large that it could cause damage to your child’s gums.
If you’ve already made a mold, then you can also bring it to your child’s appointment to have them check the overall fit. During your visit, you can also ask questions such as whether or not your child needs a guard for their lower teeth as well as the top arch.
A FREE Consultation
Is your child an athlete that needs or has braces? Give Dr. Papandreas a call today for a complimentary consult to get mouthguards that protects their beautiful smile during any activity.
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North Royalton, OH 44133
Choose and Mold Mouthguards for Braces | 5 Hacks
Dr. Papandreas is a native of Cleveland. Born in Lyndhurst, the middle of five children, his parents moved to Lakewood where he attended Lakewood High School. Dr. Papandreas continued his education at Loyola University School of Dentistry, known as a leader nationally in clinical dentistry. He ranked #1 academically in his dental class for four consecutive years. In addition to the honor of Summa Cum Laude, he was awarded the Frank M. Amaturo Award for Highest GPA – Omicron Kappa Upsilon Fraternity, the Department of Dental Materials Scholastic Award, the Chicago Auxiliary Dental Society Scholarship Award for Highest Academic Achievement, and the Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Society Award for Academic Excellence.