Orthodontic advice for musicians

Written by
14th May 2019

If you are a musician who plays a wind instrument, the thought of needing braces can be daunting. It’s understandable if you have concerns in case they affect your ability to play, as the embouchure, referring to the shape of the mouth and lips when playing a wind instrument, may be affected by wearing braces.

Singers who come to us for treatment are initially worried about the idea of braces causing discomfort against their gums or tongue or creating a temporary lisp. The good news is that, with a little bit of getting used to and some practice, braces needn’t affect your ability to play musical instruments or sing.

Fixed or removable braces?

The choice between fixed or removable braces is yours. However, if you opt for aligners, you will most likely need to take them out in order to practice. This will be on top of taking them out for mealtimes.  In some cases, for musicians or singers who practise several hours a day, aligners will not be the best choice as removing them in order to play your instrument or to sing may affect treatment  – or even contribute to forgetting to put them back in. Invisalign recommends that you wear your aligners for around 22 hours a day.

Lingual braces are often a good choice for musicians who might not get on with traditional braces. Having brackets and wires on the front of the teeth can irritate the mouth, lips and cheeks. We treated Rupert, a 17-year old who played both the saxophone and clarinet, with lingual braces so that he could carry on with his regular practice and preparing for his upcoming exams.

“I was a bit anxious prior to treatment but I knew others had coped in the same situation. I didn’t play my instruments for a few days after the braces were fitted and, when I did, it was a bit weird, a bit like my teeth were vibrating, but I quickly adapted. My teeth feel a little sensitive after each wire change, so I would take a break from playing my instruments on that day, but it’s fine by the following day. I am really happy when I play music now – it does not feel any different from how it was before I had braces. My teeth are looking good and my smile is wider and straighter.”

Speech therapy at The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic

If a temporary lisp is something that concerns you with orthodontic treatment, this is also something we can help you with. Our partner voice tutor and therapist can help you to understand the psychological challenges around braces, develop greater awareness of your oral habits and overcome difficulties around speech.

If you are a musician or singer who has been considering orthodontic treatment and would like to find out more, have a look at our consultation options here.

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