Will Braces Affect The Way You Play An Instrument?

Many students who wear braces play in their marching bands, concert bands, or other bands. Often these students are concerned how orthodontic treatment, or braces, will affect their overall ability to play instruments and what can you do to adapt better to braces?
We’re mainly talking about traditional braces, braces that go on your teeth. Obviously if you have Invisalign Teen trays, you can take them out to play and instrument normally and naturally. So if this is a major concern for you than you may want to consider Invisalign Teen as it is the easiest solution when playing instruments.

But some people, for one reason or another, are not candidates for Invisalign and prefer to go with the traditional braces.

The number one question we get from these students is, “How is it going to affect the way I play?”
But the answer to that really depends on which instrument you play. If you play the drums, it’s not going to affect you at all. Now, if you play a wind instrument where you’re using your mouth, you should expect an adjustment period.

We’ve treated many patients that play various instruments so we asked them for some ideas about playing their instrument while wearing braces and we got varied answers pending the type of instrument they play. This is strictly feedback from our patients and not a scientific research study. Here are the highlights of their feedback:


Woodwind instruments
Description:  The mouth is not necessarily in close contact with the mouthpiece.
Types:  Flute and piccolo
Explanation:  The braces won’t affect your lips.
Transition period:  None
Types:  Flutes
Description:  You have a reed, and your mouth goes over the mouthpiece.
Types:  Clarinet, saxophone, and oboe
Explanation:  Your lips will need to adjust.
Transition period:  A day or two


Brass instruments
Description:  You press your lips against both your braces and the instrument.
Types:  Trumpet, French horn, bass, and tuba
Explanation: You create two to three different notes in one position of your hands or fingers via the amount of air that flows through the position of your lips. Any minor tweak or movement can create a whole different note.
Transition period:  A week to a few weeks


And there is an option for those who have a hard time adjusting
If you continue to have a tough time adjusting you may want to try a smooth plastic orthodontic insert that fits over your braces. Some people have a hard time playing because they get an uncomfortable feeling with their braces pushing up against their lips. The insert covers up all the areas of your braces protecting your lips. It’s not something you want to wear all the time because it hangs over your braces and doesn’t lock into place well. So, for those who can’t get used to playing an instrument with braces, the insert’s a nice alternative.
If you need more information or ideas feel free to call Dr. Gina Lee or any member of our North Durham Orthodontics team at (919)797-2300 and ask for suggestions for your student. We are here to help.

Your Smile is ….Our Passion at North Durham Orthodontics!

Check out this YouTube video. This little girl shares how easy it was for her to play the trumpet with braces!


Posted in Braces