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Can Wind Instrument Players Have Braces?

Orthodontic treatment is incredibly common, with 80% of teenagers in the United States currently undergoing so form of it! Traditional braces, which involve metal wires and brackets, are the most effective way to correct tooth misalignment, gaps, or other crookedness. However, braces do make certain aspects of life difficult, eating certain foods, for example.

Wind Instruments And Braces

Many teenagers are involved in music, whether through school or extra-curricularly, and those who play wind instruments may be concerned about the effect of braces on their playing. Wind instruments use the vibrations of air produced by the player blowing into them to create sound. Wind instruments fall into two main categories:

  • Woodwinds: With flutes, your lips do not necessarily make contact with the actual mouthpiece of the instrument. However, with other woodwinds you use a reed to blow air through the mouthpiece, and your mouth will make contact with the mouthpiece.
    • Flute
    • Clarinet
    • Oboe
    • Bassoon
    • Piccolo
    • Saxophone
  • Brass: Air is blown directly into the mouthpiece.
    • Tuba
    • Bass
    • French Horn
    • Trumpet

The effects of braces on your playing will be different depending on which category of wind instrument you play. Don’t fear that having braces will make you unable to play! All it means is that there may be an adjustment period for your lips which could affect your playing.

Since your mouth doesn’t actually make contact with the mouthpiece of a flute, flutists shouldn’t notice any difference or adjustment period in their playing. However, with other woodwinds that use either a single or double reed, and with brass instruments, there will be an adjustment period as your lips get used to the feeling of braces pressing against them. This can be quite uncomfortable at first, but will go away in time. For woodwinds, players usually report that it takes a few days for their lips to adjust. For brass players, it can take from a week to a few weeks.

Despite the adjustment period, you should be able to resume playing your wind instrument as you always did. At the beginning, you may have to play for shorter periods of time to avoid discomfort, but over time your lips will adjust to the new demands, and the improvement to your smile will make it all worth it!

Don’t hesitate to contact our team today with any further questions about braces, or any other orthodontic treatments!

In case you are interested when Dr Silberman received his orthodontic treatment he was a trumpet player. Feel free to ask him about it.

Jan 27, 2017 by
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