Musical Instruments and Braces

Are there major problems with wearing braces and playing musical instruments? The answer is No, and that is Good News! Over the years, I have been asked this question numerous times and I have always encouraged my patients to go ahead and musically rock their world.

In the beginning, your ability to play wind and brass instruments will be affected by the new braces, but eventually your lips and the mouthpiece will get used to each other. Meanwhile, the music may sound a little funny as your embouchure tries to figure this whole thing out. Once settled in though, your lip muscles will get back to their usual activity and beautiful music will fill the air. By placing a small amount of orthodontic wax over the braces on the front teeth, any irritations will be kept under control. Eventually though, your braces will come off and you will have to go through the adaptation process again, but this time with straight teeth.

As an orthodontist, the last thing I want to see is a compounding of an orthodontic problem with a musical instrument, but frequently, this is unavoidable. For example, someone with a large overjet (protruding upper front teeth) should probably not play the clarinet or saxophone while undergoing orthodontic correction, but the mouthpiece fits very nicely into this type of mouth and is literally perfect for this musician! Professionally speaking, for these types of bites I would suggest an instrument such as the oboe, flute or a brass instrument. :(

And once in awhile, we run into people who can’t get used to anything, much less braces. If you are one of those musicians, remember you can always find something in the lowly strings or percussion sections.

J. Staples DDS (First Chair-First Trombone)

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