With football season in full swing, the marching band is practicing daily and entertaining spectators during the halftime show every weekend. For the proud members of these groups, braces may seem like nothing short of a death sentence.
But rest assured, with today’s orthodontic technology, musicians can continue to make beautiful music, even with braces.
Playing a Woodwind Instrument With Braces
Saxophone and clarinet players adjust more easily to playing with braces because the area of the teeth that the braces are applied to do not come in direct contact with the mouthpiece. The same goes for those who play double-reed instruments like oboe and bassoon.
Flute players who tend to put a lot of pressure on the lip plate may feel some discomfort and may want to increase their breath support and decrease the pressure on their bottom lip.
All woodwind players may experience more condensation in their instruments, which will need to be cleaned out more frequently.
Unfortunately, getting used to playing with braces can be a little more challenging for brass players simply because their lips are pressed between a metal mouthpiece and their teeth, which will have braces on them.
Trumpets and French horns both have smaller mouthpieces, so they are the hardest to adjust to playing with braces. Much like flute players, trumpet and French horn players can reduce the pressure on their teeth by increasing their airflow and keeping the corners of their mouths tight. Brass instruments with larger mouthpieces, including tuba and baritone, require less mouth pressure, making them easier to play with braces.
Surprisingly, brass players may also need a little time to adjust when their braces are removed as well, because their teeth are smooth again instead of rough.
Alternatives to Braces for Musicians
If you or your child wants to avoid adjusting to playing an instrument with braces, there is another option – Invisalign. With Invisalign, there are no brackets or wires to make playing uncomfortable, just smooth trays that can easily be removed when playing an instrument. Some players even just leave their trays in when they are practicing or performing.
If you decide to remove your Invisalign trays when you play, be sure to bring the proper container to store it in so it does not get damaged or lost.
Unfortunately, not every smile can be treated with Invisalign, but there is another alternative, which we discussed in a previous post. Lingual braces use the same wires and brackets as traditional braces so they can fix the same issues, but they are applied to the back of the teeth instead of the front. This means they won’t interfere with playing any instrument.
Whatever instrument you or your child play, it is best not to get braces put on or taken off right before a recital or performance. Instead, leave time to practice and get used to the new feeling. Unless you’re a drummer or string player, in which case you’ll be just fine.
If you have concerns about playing an instrument with braces or Invisalign, give us a call at (843) 4-BRACES. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.