Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
Many patients worry about how braces will affect their quality of life before they get them placed. You may worry about everything from your eating habits to your ability to converse without a noticeable change in your speech patterns. If you play a brass or woodwind instrument, then you are also probably worried about how braces will affect your ability to practice and perform.
The good news is that, for some musicians, braces do not have a negative affect on their playing. A survey of middle school musicians found that 14% of respondents said that their braces did affect their performance. But if you are concerned that you will be in the majority of musicians who are negatively impacted by braces, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for your braces and lessen their impact on your playing.
Critique Your Embouchure Before You Get Your Braces Placed
The best way for you to mitigate the affect of braces on your playing is to make sure that your skill level is based on correct technique before you get your braces placed. This means that you are controlling your embouchure through your facial muscles, without assistance by applying pressure with your instrument.
This is a common problem for brass players, especially french horn and trumpet players who jam their mouthpiece against their mouth to reach high notes. However, saxophone and clarinet players may notice that they put too much pressure against their lower lip when they play. While this is not an issue when you do not have braces, once they are placed, the unnecessary pressure can cause discomfort or bleeding.
Increasing your awareness of your embouchure and working to strengthen it before you get your braces can make the adjustment easier. You may want to visit a private instructor for an assessment of your current embouchure as well as exercises to strengthen it.
Schedule Your Braces Around Your Performance Schedule
Braces are rarely an emergency. Once you learn that you need braces, you may be able to delay having them placed for several months. Although there is rarely a perfect time to have braces placed, you may want to have them placed when you do not have competitions, performances, or auditions. For example, if you are in marching band, wait until the spring to have your braces placed. If you are applying for music scholarships, wait until your auditions have been completed and a decision has been made before having them placed.
You may be tempted to delay braces until after a music camp or other intensive practice period. However, this can be an ideal time to have them placed because you will have plenty of people with experience to give you tips and help you quickly adjust to your braces.
Be Prepared For Hard Work
Since braces can change the way you play, you may go through a period where it feels like you are learning everything over. You should continue to practice often. However, instead of long practice sessions, consider two shorter sessions each day to prevent fatigue. Also, start with basic etudes and notes that are well within your range until you feel comfortable enough to get back to your current level of practice.
If you regularly test for seating in your band, you may find that you lose your rank for a couple of weeks. However, with regular practice you will quickly see your skills return, and you should be able to compete for your seat again.
Many people successfully play musical instruments with braces. You may even find that braces work to improve your technique, which will stay with you after they are removed. For more information, contact a orthodontist like Arrowhead Family Dentistry.