little girl playing clarinet

If you are a band student, you might be worried that getting braces is going to throw off your musical groove.

Fortunately, getting new braces will only cause some minor issues at first, and you can deal with these issues pretty quickly—usually within a week or less. Braces technology has improved so much over the last few decades that teens and adults are no longer obligated to quit band entirely in order to correct a bad bite or get perfectly straight teeth, like they were in the 1950s and 1960s. These days, you can straighten your teeth and continue on with your budding musical career at the same time!

Having braces won’t interfere with some types of instruments, so percussionists are obviously not going to need to adjust. For those who play the flute or piccolo, where your entire mouth is not pressed around a mouthpiece, you’ll get the hang of it within minutes.

Those who play a reed instrument like the clarinet, oboe, or saxophone, where the lips and tongue are in direct contact with the mouthpiece, will need a couple days to get used to the bit of extra bulk of the braces behind your lips.

Those who play brass instruments like the trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, or bass horn have to press their lips firmly against the mouthpiece. This is probably the hardest adjustment to make, but, again, it will only take you a few days to figure it out. Just be sure to cover your upper braces with your upper lip, and you’ll start to figure out how your mouth needs to move in order to produce the right notes.

It is not uncommon to have some mouth tenderness when you first get your braces or when you get your braces tightened. This usually lasts a few days to a week, and if your mouth is really sore, simply hold off on playing your instrument until the soreness diminishes.

In cases where your braces feel sharp and are rubbing painfully against the inside of your cheeks or lips, we can give you some orthodontic wax to cover sharp wires or brackets.

It is even possible to use a special plastic cover that slips on over your braces when you are playing your musical instrument.

Alternatives to Traditional Metal Braces

There are a couple alternatives to the traditional metal braces. For those who qualify, Invisalign braces are plastic trays that slide over your teeth and can be removed when you wish to play your musical instrument or eat a meal. Not everyone is a candidate for these types of braces, and Invisalign braces don’t straighten your teeth as quickly as traditional metal braces, but for professional musicians who qualify, this is certainly a viable option.

We can also look at lingual braces, which are braces that are attached to the back side, or lingual side, of your teeth instead of the front. We at Dunn Orthodontics are proud to offer Incognito ™ Hidden Braces and are one of few orthodontists specially trained and certified in being able to apply and maintain lingual braces.

We’d love to talk to you about how braces will affect your ability to play a band instrument and which type of braces will work best for your needs. Please contact one of our offices located in Phoenix, Arcadia, and Litchfield Park and let us know how we can meet your orthodontic needs in the Phoenix area. Make an appointment today!

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