Some of the main benefits of braces include the prevention of cavities, tooth decay, bone erosion, bad bites, tooth injury, and gum diseases. But, can you play different musical instruments, such as the clarinet with braces on?
Yes, you can play the clarinet with braces. Unfortunately, it may be very uncomfortable at first, but you should be able to navigate the discomfort with a little practice and care when playing the clarinet. In general, the mouthpiece on your clarinet requires that your lower lip should always cover your lower teeth. This way, your lower lip becomes the cushion between the mouthpiece and your teeth, and a clear bell-like tone is produced from the clarinet when you play.
However, there are instances where braces might cut directly into your lower lip. This can be very frustrating and could hurt for a couple of days, especially if you just got your braces. Also, when your braces have been adjusted or tightened, you are bound to experience some kind of pain and discomfort when playing any musical instrument, including the clarinet.
While it is true that many students are cautioned from playing the clarinet or even joining bands when they have braces on, because there are times when the braces hurt the teeth too much. So, if you want to become a professional at playing the clarinet with braces on, you need to consider invisalign or other alternative teeth-correcting devices. At the same time, you should always remember that there are no pain-free musical instruments, but practice always makes perfect.
What issues are caused by braces when playing the clarinet?
Before identifying the main drawbacks of having to play the clarinet, it is important to understand the two major embouchures on any clarinet.
The first method is the single-lip embouchure, which is commonly used by most clarinet players. It simply requires you to put your bottom lip over your teeth so that you can easily apply pressure on the reed and putting your top teeth right over the mouth piece, so that your lip creates a seal around it.
The second method is the double-lip embouchure, which is quite complicated and often used by professional clarinet players and teachers. In this method, both the bottom lip and the top teeth go over your teeth as they apply pressure over the reed. This method significantly causes vibrations and entirely covers the whole set of teeth.
While these two methods are ideal for playing the clarinet, there are certain drawbacks associated with having to play while wearing braces. The first one is that you are bound to experience a lot of pain on your teeth when the beating of the reed begins to reverberate on the mouthpiece. The vibrations are sometimes too rough and they can damage your braces if you aren’t too careful.
Besides, that, your braces can also affect your embouchure, especially if they are too tight. Whenever you feel some kind of discomfort or pain when playing the clarinet, you will inevitably try to look for a way to alleviate the pain. Sometimes, this involves looking for a different way of positioning your mouth around your mouthpiece. Unfortunately, this may distort the clarinet sound in the long run. To add to that, braces are made from metal, so they can cut the inside part of your lips easily and you may end up bleeding when playing the clarinet.
While these challenges may be quite frustrating, it does not mean that you should put your dreams of becoming a professional clarinet player on hold. There are few things you may need to adapt for a little while until your braces loosen up and you become more comfortable wearing them.
How should you play the clarinet when you first get your braces?
Remember that playing the clarinet with braces can be very uncomfortable and can even hurt your teeth if you aren’t careful. For this reason, you need to start as slowly as possible. Start off with a few minutes of practice a day, as you gradually add about 10 to 20 minutes each day until you comfortably resume your normal practice time.
Along with that, you should always practice soft long tones in the lower register so that you can slowly adjust how exactly your embouchure feels with braces on. When playing the clarinet, you should also try and take frequent breaks to avoid a sore mouth. Whenever you feel a great deal of pain or discomfort, stop playing and wait for the next day to try again. Don’t push yourself too much to avoid getting hurt.
So, how do you avoid issues caused by braces when playing the clarinet?
If you are a frequent clarinet player and are trying to play the instrument with braces on, here are a few tips that should help you out;
Use Orthodontic wax whenever you can
As we mentioned earlier, having braces on can easily irritate your lips and gums once you get new braces. For this reason, orthodontic wax is considered one of the most efficient ways to fix the issue of braces hurting your teeth and cutting through your lips when you are playing the clarinet. The wax covers all the sharp edges and all you need to do, is to apply the wax over your braces to protect your mouth tissues from the braces.
At first, your braces may feel bulky once you apply the wax, but with time, you will get used to the feeling and will easily adapt your embouchure to play the clarinet like you always have. If the discomfort seems persistent, however, you should go back to your dentist to create a full-wax appliance.
Tell your dentist that you are a clarinet player before getting new braces
Because braces can affect how you play the clarinet, it is important to let your doctor know how frequently you play the clarinet. This way, they can take your embouchure into consideration when fixing the braces. They may also suggest alternative ways of straightening your smile, such as Invisalign, which actively provides tooth straightening without bracket attachments or wires.
Also, by telling your doctor that you are a clarinet player before getting braces, allows them to help you fix any pain or discomfort that may come up when playing. They would ensure to check your teeth regularly and advise better ways of playing without hurting yourself.
Consider switching to a retainer
You may have to develop a new embouchure when wearing retainers, but it is the best way to avoid damaging your braces and going over the fixing process all over again. The main advantage of wearing a retainer is that it features a soft material that easily encloses your teeth, so your inside lip will remain intact when playing the clarinet. Also, retainers are quite thin, so the disturbance levels are very minimal.
A summary Table
|Playing the clarinet with braces on||Tell your doctor that you are a clarinet player before getting new braces||Doing this allows them to suggest alternative and most efficient teeth straightening methods that are less hurtful|
|Switch to a retainer||Retainers are soft, thin, and they protect your lower lip from sores and cuts|
|Use Orthodontic wax whenever possible||This creates a protective layer over your braces|
Braces certainly create the perfect smile, but they do not have to put an end to your clarinet career or hobby. The tips we have discussed in this write-up should help you get back on track once you have your braces on.
Can you play the clarinet with invisalign?
Yes, you can. You can even remove them when playing, and then put them back on once you are done.
Does playing the clarinet affect my teeth?
Sometimes, it does. Tooth misalignment may occur when you play extensively.