If your child plays a musical instrument or sings, news that they need braces can be extra daunting. There are many myths about people being unable to sing or play for the duration of their orthodontic treatment, or their technique being permanently destroyed. The good news is that this isn't true -- it is quite possible that modifications to technique may have to be made, but in the long run having straight, healthy teeth and an arched palette will benefit the music your child produces.
Flutists and saxophonists generally don't take long to achieve the same tonal quality that they had before they got braces. The embouchure will need to be modified and breath control will need to be increased, but in the long run these modifications can actually benefit the player by increasing muscle and lung control. One other thing the student needs to be aware of is the likelihood increased condensation, so it is important that the instrument is cleaned regularly to prevent damage to the pads and joins.
Students of brass instruments, especially trumpets, typically take longer to achieve good tone quality after braces have been fitted. Depending on the level of pressure they use on the mouthpiece, they may need to use a wax guard to protect their lips from being cut by the braces. This wax is generally available from orthodontists.
As with wind instruments, there will be an adjustment period before a singer can articulate with the same level of accuracy that they had achieved before braces. It may be difficult for the mouth to extend as far while wearing braces, but as with other instruments the musician will reap the benefits of greater versatility and control as a result of this change. The singer will also benefit from a wider arch and broader palette when their braces come off, which can create better timbre and tone.
Alternatives To Traditional Braces
If your child is very serious in the study of his or her instrument, it is worth considering an alternative to metal bracket braces. Lingual braces -- metal brackets fitted to the inside of the teeth -- might be a good choice for woodwind and brass musicians, though tone and tonguing may still be affected. Invisible braces -- similar to a clear retainer -- have the advantage of being removable. However it's important to note that these options aren't practical for everyone as well as being more expensive than traditional braces, so make sure you discuss it with your orthodontist before promising your child anything.