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8 Athletes We Bet You Didn’t Know Wore Braces

By July 4, 2018December 21st, 2023Orthodontics

If you’re an athlete who is considering braces or already wearing braces, you might be wondering how it will impact your game. Well, as a Papillion, NE orthodontist and huge sports fan (especially football!), Dr. Hawley can assure you that orthodontic treatment won’t sideline you. In fact, there are plenty of professional athletes with braces. However, wearing a mouthguard is a must to protect your mouth and your appliance.

Before we get on with our list of famous athletes with braces, we’re going to talk a little bit about braces and mouthguards. More than five million teeth are knocked out every year in the United States! Many of these injuries happen during sports and physical activity. While mouthguards are required for things like football, ice hockey, field hockey and lacrosse, they’re often not mandatory for other activities. Unfortunately, sports such as basketball and baseball actually have high rates of orofacial injury. The most common of these injuries are knocked out, fractured, loose or displaced teeth; cuts to the tongue, cheeks and lips; jaw fractures and dislocation of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

When you’re wearing braces, you still have the chance of incurring one of the injuries we just mentioned, however, they add another layer. If you sustain a blow to the face, the brackets and wires can damage the soft tissues of the mouth (i.e., the tongue, lips, cheeks) or cut another player. Trauma may also result in a broken appliance. That’s why at Hawley Orthodontics, we give our Papillion braces patients mouthguards to wear. The mouthguard acts as a cushion to dissipate forces and prevent injuries and serves as a buffer between your braces and the inside of your mouth. You should use your mouthguard when playing any sport or doing any physical activity that carries the risk of facial trauma, such as tennis, skateboarding, cycling, martial arts, gymnastics, volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball, wrestling, football, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse and more. We recommend wearing a mouthguard even if you’re undergoing Invisalign treatment and after the teeth-straightening process is finished as well, because when you invest in orthodontics, you’ll want to keep that smile safe.

While a boil-and-bite mouthguard can work great if you’re not in orthodontic treatment, when you have braces, a custom mouthguard is a better option. This will ensure there’s room for your braces and give you the perfect fit. After all, a mouthguard is most effective when it fits correctly. If your orthodontist doesn’t give you a mouthguard like we do at our office, tell them that you play sports and ask which type of mouthguard is most suited to your needs. To take care of your mouthguard, brush it with a soft-bristle toothbrush and a bit of toothpaste after every use. For a deeper clean, you can also use mild dishwashing soap and lukewarm water. Store it in a case with vents and avoid rinsing it in very hot water or leaving it in the sun, as the heat can distort it. Be sure to wear it every time you step on the field or the court, even during practices. Replace it as soon as you notice signs of wear and if you get hit in the face, ask your orthodontist or dentist to check it out to make sure it’s still in good shape.

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Now that you know how to keep your braces and smile protected, here is a collection of famous athletes who had braces for inspiration:

Brett Favre

That’s right, Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre is one of the many famous people who had braces in their teenage years. Maybe his new smile (and a whole lot of hard work) helped give him the confidence to lead his team to a Super Bowl win and throw his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Lashinda Demus

Hurdler Lashinda Demus won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the women’s 400 meter hurdles. She wore clear braces while flying over hurdles and taking the podium to accept her medal.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t just one of the best footballers in the world known for scoring goals on Real Madrid, the Portuguese soccer star had a dramatic braces transformation when he was younger. Now, his winning smile is straight and healthy.

Dwight Howard

Charlotte Hornets center, Dwight Howard, was another of the famous athletes with braces and he even wore them when he entered the NBA. The last time he was spotted with his metal hardware was at the 2004 NBA draft and by the time the time season rolled around, he had finished treatment.

Missy Franklin

Swimmer and five-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin, kicked off her competitive career as a teenager wearing ceramic braces. Now, she has straight teeth and a world record in the 200-meter backstroke (long course).

Venus Williams

Tennis great and Olympic medal winner, Venus Williams, wasn’t born with straight teeth. She’s even posted #TBT photos on Instagram of herself wearing ceramic braces. Our favorite? A photo from 1999 where she’s smiling big, showing off her braces and accepting a trophy at the Lipton Championships in Miami.

Nate Robinson

Former NBA player Nate Robinson, the first three-time slam dunk champion, was probably the athlete with braces who was most proud of his teeth-straightening journey. He often posted photos on social media of his braces, as well as his visits to the orthodontist’s office.

Serena Williams

Venus wasn’t the only Williams’ sister to wear braces while winning tennis competitions. Serena Williams is another of the celebrities with braces. She too sported clear braces to straighten her teeth when she was younger.

Are you ready for your own smile makeover? Book a free consultation with our Papillion, NE orthodontist Dr. Hawley today by calling us at (402) 592-3200 or emailing us at [email protected]! We’ll evaluate your bite, develop a customized treatment plan and walk you through your teeth-straightening options. We’ll make sure your treatment fits your lifestyle, so you can continue to play your heart out.