A young musician has probably given up countless hours to developing their embouchure – this is the name for the shape or position that the mouth takes to blow into an instrument.
Currently, I am treating a 17-year-old, who plays both the clarinet and the saxophone. He is currently preparing for his Diploma in the clarinet and has just obtained his Grade 8 in the saxophone. He plays in the school orchestra and in a number of groups, including a jazz saxophone quartet, called Kingsmen Sax Quartet. Music is a major part of his life. Rupert was referred to me because he wanted lingual braces. He thought that standard braces on the front of the teeth could make the inside of his mouth sore when he played his music.
His brother also had orthodontic treatment but wore aligners. These are see-through trays that can be taken out at any time. The brother’s dental problems were mild and he was able to keep his aligners in his mouth for the recommended 22 hours a day. Rupert knew that aligners would not work for him as he would have to remove them for playing his instruments for at least two hours a day as well as for his meals.
Not surprisingly, Rupert was nervous when I fitted his braces. I will let him tell the story! “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 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.”
Six months on, Rupert is very at home in his lingual braces and his teeth have already straightened considerably. I look forward to seeing Rupert at every appointment. And if anyone was to ask me to recommend a jazz saxophone quartet to play at a special event, I know just the person to ask!