Sporting chance for teens with a malocclusion

An alternative to fixed braces for sporting teens

There are some young people for whom traditional braces are less suitable. For anyone participating in a contact sport, fixed braces may not be advisable.

According to The British Orthodontic Society ‘The risk of tooth damage is increased in fast, physical sports or if moving objects are involved (such as bats and balls). Studies have shown that between 13% and 39% of all dental injuries are sports related. Approximately 25% of children in the UK will injure or lose a front tooth at some stage. Contact sports are increasingly popular which has resulted in a rise of traumatic dental injuries.

The BOS adds ‘There is more risk of cutting the inside of the mouth during contact sports with an orthodontic appliance in place. It is recommended that removable appliances are removed for contact sports, and that mouthguards should be worn over fixed appliances’.

New kid on the block

Thankfully there is an alternative. The Invisalign clear aligner system has been used to treat almost six million people globally, and importantly has been clinically proven to be effective with teen patients, so much so that one million have been treated with the system.

Teens who play contact sports are not the only ones for whom the Invisalign system is a recommended option.  A second group for whom fixed braces can also create difficulty are players of wind and brass instruments. As aligners are removable, they can be taken out during practice and performance for limited periods without adversely affecting the outcome of the treatment.  However, it is recommended that the aligners are worn for 22 hours a day.


Suitable for teenagers

So what makes the Invisalign system particularly suitable for teenagers?  Firstly, traditional braces are entirely visible and use metal wires and brackets, whereas Invisalign aligners are made from an advanced BPA-free plastic.  This soft moulded polymer is virtually invisible and less painful than traditional braces.  For anyone participating in a contact sport, braces can be an interference, however, the Invisalign aligners can be removed before sport (or music activity) for short periods, although the optimum wear time is 22 hours a day.

Invisalign treatment was the only choice for 14-year-old twins Jake and Jess.  According to their mother Susie Taylor: ‘We chose the Invisalign system for our twins as they play contact sport competitively, and aligner treatment works better with mouth guards than traditional braces. Jessie has represented GB women’s U16s and England girls U14 and U15 in ice hockey.

Both have represented Team GB in roller hockey and competed last year at the junior Olympics. They both represented Team UK for roller hockey this summer in the USA. Jake is also on the GB ball hockey team.”

‘Jake is also prone to mouth ulcers so we chose Invisalign treatment for him over traditional train track braces. It’s been great, he hasn’t had any sores or rubbing.  Whilst Jess had a 14mm overjet so for a while the twin block was her only treatment option. When we heard Invisalign aligners could correct this without twin blocks we were over the moon. It was very effective in correcting this problem quickly and less painfully than braces.’

Orthodontic specialist Dr Peter Ilori who has treated large numbers of teen patients including twins Jake and Jess Taylor said: ‘I believe Invisalign treatment with mandibular advancement represents a move forward in the field of orthodontics and clear aligner technology. With this feature, orthodontists will be able to correct jaw discrepancies in addition to aligning teeth using clear aligners.

My patients had a lot of difficulty wearing traditional functional appliances in the past; the mandibular advancement will increase the scope of malocclusions I can treat with Invisalign clear aligners.’

On guard

To emphasise the benefits of Invisalign system for sports enthusiasts Align Technology has teamed up with OPRO – the leading manufacturer of custom fit mouthguards in the UK – which supplies over 1,000 schools and sports clubs and has partnerships with over 50 world class professional sporting associations.

Short videos with the parents of Jenk Oz and Jake and Jess Taylor, as well as Will Timmins who is on the GB Pentathlon training scheme, as well as information about the Invisalign system for teenagers can be found at



  1. British Orthodontic Society website
  2.  As of the end of Q1 2018, and includes all aligner appliances (retainers, templates and aligners)

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