Musical Instruments and Braces

It’s time to play your instrument, but your mouth is still sore from the braces that were recently placed. You hesitantly pick up the brass instrument and put it to your lips. It doesn’t feel right. The added pressure from the mouthpiece rests uncomfortably against your lips, but you decide to blow a tune anyway. A couple of failed attempts later you realize there is a problem. The notes either come out wrong or don’t come out at all. You struggle aiming for a high note, but it’s no use the note remains elusive regardless of how much you try. Now your mouth is a hot, throbbing mess and all you want is to quit.

 

Wearing dental braces and playing an instrument can be challenging. For some, the challenge is overwhelming. Many even give up, but you don’t need to stop. With a few simple tips, playing an instrument while wearing braces is still possible. It can be a rewarding, learning adventure resulting in improving your skills in the end.

 

The Problem

If you played an instrument before you wore braces, you became accustomed to fitting the mouthpiece to your lips a certain way. Now that you wear braces, everything has changed and you either need to adjust or deal with pain and possible bleeding when the metal braces cut into the insides of your lips.

 

The Fix

There are a few accommodations that will ease the pressure off your mouth and still succeed at instrument playing. However, patience is key as this is an adjustment process and not an easy, overnight fix.

 

Invisalign

If you don’t yet wear braces and you’ve already been advised that you need them, consider opting for Invisalign aligners. They will ease the ability to continue playing your instrument while you treat your dental health.

 

Invisalign is not for everyone. However, if you play a brass instrument and know that you will need braces, talk to your dentist.  ICC Smiles and Dr. Dana Keith will help you determine if Invisalign is the right choice for you.

 

Brace Protectors

If Invisalign is not the right option for you or if you already wear conventional braces, fear not, you still have options and using brace guards is one such choice. Wax or brace guards are available to ease the discomfort while playing your instrument.

 

While wax tends to be messy, it can make instrument play more comfortable. However, if you don’t want the mess, brace guards can usually be purchased through your dentist’s office. This is a putty-based substance that you use to form a guard for your front teeth where the action takes place.

 

Adjusting Your Embouchure

The way that you apply your instrument’s mouthpiece to your lips can make a world of difference in the way that you feel while wearing braces and also to the manner in which you play. Adjusting your embouchure while wearing braces gives you ample opportunity to fine tune your playing skills and can aid you in becoming a better musician over time. It takes practice and perseverance, but it can be done.

 

Wearing braces need not signal the end of your musical career and braces are not worn forever. While you wear them, you have options available for added comfort during instrument play. If you would like additional information on braces, visit ICC Smiles today in Silver Spring and Chevy Chase, Md.

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