If you play a wind instrument, whether it’s brass or woodwind, the thought of playing your instrument with braces on most likely sends shivers down your spine. As much as we love playing our instruments, brass instruments, specifically, are heavily reliant on our ability to have stable teeth and a stable jaw, as well as being able to manipulate sensitive muscles in our face with varying degrees of pressure on the instrument. Whether you’re planning on getting braces, Invisalign, or hidden lingual braces, this is probably a huge concern for you and your child, because you don’t want them to stop playing their instrument just because they’re getting braces. I’m glad to say that it is possible to overcome this, but it will require some planning and patience.
Take it slow
Taking it slow is the number one rule when playing a wind instrument with braces. If you’re getting standard braces, the risk is much higher due to the fact that you’ll have brackets on every tooth. If you just jump straight into playing your instrument, it could result in cuts on your upper and lower lips and significantly increase your recovery time. Start slowly by practicing for a few minutes at a time throughout the day on the lower register of the instrument. For woodwind players, this will be more of a matter of getting used to the added bulge in your mouth, and less about avoiding injury. Once you start getting the hang of playing with braces, you can gradually start to increase your practice time.
Use wax on your braces
If you’re using braces or hidden lingual braces, you may need to use wax on the brackets in order to prevent your lips or tongue from getting stuck or cut by them. When you’re practicing, make sure you note which areas are causing you trouble, then apply the wax.
Use less pressure
Young brass players (especially trumpet players) are often tempted to apply a lot of pressure to their mouthpiece while playing in the higher register. Although this is necessary to some degree, you should take care to ease yourself, or your child, into gaining back the range they had without braces. When you have braces on, the points of contact between your instrument and your mouth are different, so it’s going to take a lot of getting used to. Using a lot of pressure can also lead to sore teeth and gums since they’re already sensitive from moving. In addition to preventing injury, practicing with braces can help young musicians learn how to achieve their full range without completely destroying their face.
Consider your options
If you have the option of using hidden lingual braces or Invisalign, you should talk to your orthodontics about these alternatives. Although your teeth and gums will still be sensitive from your teeth being in a constant state of change, it will eliminate the need to worry about brackets that can lead to painful cuts and bruises while playing a wind instrument.
Contact Camilo Riano Orthodontics today to learn more.