Many adolescents must visit the orthodontist at some point in order to have braces placed. This will ensure that their teeth are straight and properly aligned in adulthood. However, if your child plays a musical instrument, he might need to take additional precautions while he’s wearing braces.
How Can Braces Affect Playing an Instrument?
Many musical instruments, particularly brass instruments, require you to press the mouthpiece against your lips in order to play them. If you’re wearing metal braces, this pressure can be uncomfortable. If you play regularly, or for a long period of time, such as for a concert, you can experience irritation to the insides of your lips. Brass instruments are probably the most likely to cause irritation, since you must hold your mouth very tightly against your teeth to properly direct the airflow. Still, woodwinds can also lead to discomfort, particularly if you play over a long period of time.
In addition to causing discomfort, braces can change how your mouth fits against and around the instrument. This means you might have to adjust your airflow and your embouchure, or how you hold your mouth, in order to play at the same level you played before your trip to the orthodontist.
How to Adjust to Braces While Playing a Wind Instrument
There are several things you can do to help adjust to the challenge of playing with your new orthodontic work. Wax or brace guards, as recommended by your orthodontist, can help reduce the discomfort as your brackets make contact with your lips. You will probably have to use more air to sound the instrument, particularly for very low and very high notes. If you find yourself having a great deal of trouble playing all the necessary notes, talk to your band or orchestra teacher about ways to adjust your playing method.
In the long-term, many instrumentalists have discovered that adjusting to playing with braces has actually improved their technique. They develop a stronger, more consistent airflow, and often make positive changes to their embouchure that lead to their becoming better musicians overall. So don’t despair—you’ll soon be able to play just as well or even better than you did before.
Contact our orthodontic team at Creekview Orthodontics, with two convenient locations. Call 972-548-8200 for more tips today.