“Can I play sports while I’m wearing braces?”

It’s a common question, which we emphatically answer with a “Yes.”

Most orthodontic practices will give patients of all ages the go-ahead to participate in team or recreational sports during treatment. We estimate that approximately 75% of the patients at Koch Orthodontics are involved with a sporting event in some capacity – from tee ball and Little League to college intramurals. Some patients juggle multiple sports simultaneously.

Be it cheerleading, horseback riding, or even combat sports like boxing or karate, there is no singular sport that a patient would need hit the sidelines for their duration of their orthodontic treatment. Plus, the discipline and “team player” mentality of undergoing orthodontic treatment is similiar to being a member of a sports team!

So, the question goes from “sports – yes or no?” to “how do I manage being an athlete AND an orthodontic patient at the same time?”

Protect Your Face

A good athlete is attentive and alert to their surroundings. Exercise the same caution to protect your face and mouth as you would your head, especially if you plan a high-octane contact sport that does not traditionally utilize a protective head covering, such as soccer or basketball.

Head injuries during play can occur, of course, but a universal fundamental of sports is exercising good bodily control and keeping potentially serious injuries of any sort to an absolute minimum.

Don’t get wreckless, have your wits about you, and avoid scenarios where your face, mouth, teeth and orthodontic appliances might be affected.

Wear The Mouthguard Issued By Your Orthodontist

This point is important, and again – is where the discipline of an athlete and discipline of an orthodontic patient share similarity. Wearing your mouthguard issued by Dr. Keith Koch is imperative to your treatment progress (and health and safety) while you’re playing sports.

In addition to being customized to suit your precise orthodontics needs, our mouthguards are made of a soft, squishy material that provides a more comforting fit than plastic mouthguards. We’re also able to fit the mouthguard with attachment apparatuses for a helmet – so you football, hockey and lacrosse players are covered.

Like any orthodontic appliance, your issued sports mouthguard must be kept clean. Clean the mouthguard before and after every use with tooth paste and a soft-bristle tooth brush. Store your mouth guard in a firm carrying case; again – a good athlete is alert, so be attentive to returning the mouthguard to its case when not in use. Finally, mouthguards may occasionally warrant replacement if routine wear diminishes its ability to protect your teeth. Keep an eye on its condition as you would any piece of sports equipment that holds value, and contact us if it needs a replacement,

Athletics & Invisalign

Invisalign aligners are removable, so the question “can I take them out to play sports?” is a valid one.

We strongly recommend patients in treatment with Invisalign leave their aligners in during sports play, as frequently as the patient can manage.

For sports or activities that don’t traditionally utilize a mouthguard, such as track and field, tennis, golf or weightlifting, your aligners should remain in your mouth.

For heavy contact sports like football, wrestling, and hockey, we suggest wearing your mouthguard over your Invisalign aligners.

Remember, for Invisalign aligners to work properly, they need to be worn the majority of the day. If you find that you are removing your aligners for hours at a time during practice or games, please contact us, and we will help devise a solution. Your active lifestyle and treatment timeline CAN co-exist peacefully, but – as we mentioned before, it will need to be a “team effort.”


Not only do we give our patients the go-ahead to hit the field during treatment, we actively support our local teams! Here’s Dr. Koch with our sponsored tee-ball team, Geneseo Blue!

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You’ll see LOTS of smiling faces… maybe a few you’ll recognize!