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Playing Musical Instruments with Braces

Many teens in middle and high school are excited to learn to play a band instrument.  Most young pre-teens and teens start in beginning band, and as they gain experience, they get to advance and play for the concert, varsity, symphonic, or marching bands.

Middle and high school is also the period when teens who need dental braces begin wearing them.

Consequently, the question often arises about whether students who wear dental braces can play instruments in the band.  Some informal studies indicate that there is an adjustment period for playing any instrument with dental braces, but the adjustment time varies greatly based on the instrument and the individual.

For wind instruments such as flute or piccolo where the mouth is near but not holding the mouthpiece, the dental braces require an adjustment period that may range from only a few days to several weeks.

For woodwind instruments that use a mouthpiece with a reed such as saxophone, oboe, or clarinet, the adjustment time is usually a few days or a few weeks maximum.  Woodwinds are considered the easiest instruments to play with dental braces.

Brass instruments take the longest amount of time to adjust to playing with dental braces because brass instrument players need to press the mouthpiece against both the upper and lower lips.  Playing brass instruments with braces may require an adjustment time of weeks or months.  That said, the most successful brass players learn to use a buzz with the lips rather than pushing the mouthpiece against the teeth.

One great option for a band musician is Invisalign rather than traditional dental braces.  If the musician is a good candidate for this type of orthodontic, they can play any instrument comfortably and without adjustment time since they can actually remove the trays when playing.  This is great for wind, woodwind, and brass instrument musicians.

Another option that aids musicians with braces is to apply wax to the brackets to prevent cutting the cheeks or lips when playing.  Musicians can also take out retainers while playing and may even choose to take out the small bands that connect the top and bottom of traditional braces.  Medical grade products such as Braceguard, Morgan Bumpers, and Brace Gard are also commercially available dental brace aids used to improve comfort while playing instruments.

If your child needs dental braces and plays an instrument, it’s best to discuss in detail which type of dental braces are best for your budding musician.  You can contact a qualified dental health professional such as SmilingYangs Orthodontics to obtain a comprehensive evaluation.

SmilingYangs Orthodontics

Since 1998, USC and Harvard – trained Orthodontist Dr. James T. Yang, B.D.S., D.D.S., D.M.Sc. has provided state-of-the-art orthodontic care and service to the South Florida community.  SmilingYangs Orthodontics, opened in 1998, is dedicated to providing excellent orthodontic care, treating each patient with respect and professionalism.  Dr. Yang and his talented team at SmilingYangs Orthodontics take pride in their office atmosphere:  a friendly, comfortable environment with courteous, attentive, and punctual staff members.  Learn more about SmilingYangs Orthodontics and their excellent patient reviews at www.smilingyangs.com or call (954) 623-8446 to schedule an appointment today.


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