When you first get your braces, it seems like the list of things you can no longer do is endless. Luckily, “playing an instrument” is not on the list. Even if you play a woodwind or brass instrument, with the right adjustments you can continue making music right up until the day your braces are removed. Follow these tips to make the adjustment process as swift and painless as possible.
Before You Get Your Braces
Before your braces are fitted, talk to your Studio32 Orthodontics team about the type of braces you need, as well as the type of instrument that you play. Your orthodontist will be able to give you feedback on how your braces might affect your playing and assuage any fears you might have about your ability to play with braces. You might want to consider scheduling your braces fitting for a time when you don’t have any important performances or auditions scheduled.
If you play a woodwind instrument, you’ll likely find that you can adjust to playing with your braces fairly quickly. Even though woodwinds don’t require much pressure against a mouthpiece, they still require your mouth to be positioned in a certain way, and with new braces this can become uncomfortable over a long period of time. Soon, though, you’ll learn to make adjustments to airflow and embouchure and you’ll soon find yourself playing at the same skill level you did before your braces.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Any musician knows that regular practice is a vital part of the learning process. Regular practice is the key to adjusting to playing with your new dental braces. Keep in mind that for the first few days, your braces will feel uncomfortable against your lips, but within a week or two you will start to build up calluses on the inside of your lips and you won’t have to worry about discomfort any longer. The more you practice, the faster these calluses will form. You may find that certain notes, particularly high notes, are more difficult to achieve with your braces, but soon you will be back to your old skill level.
Brass players may find that their adjustment time is a little longer. Since brass instruments require players to press their lips against a metal mouthpiece, you may find that the inside of your mouth becomes sore while you play. If this happens, ask your music teacher if you can try a larger mouthpiece, which can help to spread pressure more evenly over your lips.
Consider A Braces Alternative
Even though braces have little effect on your ability to play after the initial adjustment period, some musicians who play at a high level may be reluctant to give up any time in their playing schedule. If this is the case, you might consider functional and removable braces, such as Invisalign, which you can remove while you play. If you choose this route, make sure to talk to your orthodontist about how long you practice every day, as leaving your braces off for long periods of time may affect your treatment.
Your Gainesville orthodontist at Studio32 Orthodontics will provide you with orthodontic wax after they’ve fitted your braces. You can put this wax over any spots that you notice irritation while you’re playing, and this will help prevent painful irritation or sores. If you are struggling to play your instrument with your new braces, you can try a full appliance of wax across your braces. This takes more time and requires more effort to get right, but you may find that the results are worth it.
Change Up Your Routine
You certainly aren’t going to have to relearn how to play your instrument after you get braces, but you may find that this is the perfect opportunity to switch up your practice routine. In fact, many musicians report that braces have helped them become better players. Because you have to adjust how you play, you may discover some bad habits that you’ve developed and work to eliminate these from your routine. Braces can help players develop stronger and more consistent airflow and inspire positive changes to embouchure.
While learning to play an instrument with braces takes some time to adjust, with practice it is more than possible. Gainesville orthodontist Dr. Mullally can answer any questions you might have about your braces and work with you to determine the treatment that is best for you. Schedule an appointment with us to discuss your treatment options today.