Topic: Should I get braces?

I'm a thirty-six-year-old oboist (my only income is from playing and teaching) with pretty crooked teeth -- my wisdom teeth "crowded" things quite a bit before they were yanked in my early twenties.  In short, I've dealt with this problem for years now, always with the nagging notion that my playing may be improved by straighter fangs (not to mention the social aspect).  My insurance does not, however, cover adult orthodontics.

So I'm doing this random church gig yesterday (Mendelssohn's "Elijah" -- good tenor), when the contractor for the job makes this proposition:  Your pay for this gig can either be the agreed-upon nominal fee, OR a free set of braces!  As it turns out, the guy is the best orthodontist in Orange County, CA. 

Now I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth (pun intended, of course), but where should I go with this?  The good Doctor says to expect three months of embouchure troubles, but that I should transition out of it by the fall season.  I just don't know.  Help!

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com

Re: Should I get braces?

Wow!   What a deal; my daughter's orthodontist charges about $4500 for braces. 

I have a student with braces who seems to be doing OK with them.  She's a beginner though, and doesn't know any better.  My daughter told me that her mouth felt really "stretched out" by them.... you might feel like you couldn't roll your upper lip in enough to play in the beginning but I bet you'd get used to it.  You can put wax across the metal to avoid puncturing your inner lip.

I guess it depends on how crooked your teeth are, and how badly you want them straight.  Sounds like a heckuva deal to me!

Darlene

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Re: Should I get braces?

Well, I would get the braces because in the long run, when your older, it will be much easier to play with straight teeth as well as there are many problems that can be caused by teeth growing awkwardly.

10th grade bassoonist, tubist, jazz trombonist, and at home violist tongue

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Re: Should I get braces?

More than one-thind of my middle and high school bassoon students over the past decade have had orthodontic appliances of one form or another. Rarely are the appliances a prolonged source of playing difficulty. There are thin plastic covers available for "outside" or external braces that minimize lip discomfort -- no need to use wax like my daughter did a generation ago. The orthodontist can get these covers.

I'd strongly consider having the orthodontia done. Straighter teeth are easier to keep clean, too.

Bill

Dr. Bill Dawson, bassoonist and teacher
IDRS medical consultant
Past President, Performing Arts Medicine Assoc.
Author of "Fit as a Fiddle: The Musician's Guide to Playing Healthy"

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Re: Should I get braces?

I had them as a child playing.  I only had pain on the days I would go to practice right after getting them tightened.  I think you should definately go for it.

Wendy

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Re: Should I get braces?

There are those new "Invisible" braces they loock like like a plastic mold thingey that fits over your teeth and can remove (like a retaner) I do not know if they might be right for you ,you might want to ask your dentist.  a frind of mine plays flute in our band and she removes them before she playes.

-Mr Bassoon
9th grade bassoonist

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Re: Should I get braces?

if your teeth need them, DO IT NOW. I had braces for a year and a half, and it made me work twice as hard on bassoon. I made principal chair in both bands at Fresno State my freshman year when I still had my tin grin. I made the bottom band first, and then the next next semester I made the top band principal, partly because the ringer didn't audition, but that's another story.... *good times*
but yeah. please get them over with, and take advantage of them, because they are an obstacle you can overcome.
Good luck!

Anne Christensen
CSUF Music Performance student, graduation date possibly Spring 2012
IDRS Student member since July 2007
Sigma Alpha Iota (International Music Fraternity For Women)- Kappa Psi chapter

Re: Should I get braces?

When I had braces, I found that I couldn't play my bassoon for quite as long as I used to because my tight embouchoure would dig into my lips a little bit.  I also had hooks on my braces for rubber bands, which I put wax on to prevent them from causing discomfort.  Otherwise, braces had no effect on my playing.  Nothing like what braces do to brass players.  I had some really serious orthodontic problems, and I'm still not completely fixed, but it was worth it.

Tanner Holst
University Bassoonist
Utah

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Re: Should I get braces?

I'm curious, Jonathan---- did you wind up accepting the orthodontist's offer?

Darlene

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Re: Should I get braces?

The problem that I have with braces is that I get my lips tired very fast. I can't play for more that 15 minutes without start leaking air... I think the problem is due to my upper lip being too short, and the upper braces modify my embouchure too much... Did anyone had the same problem ? I'm really looking forward to the day when I'll get rid of them.... My braces doesn't hurt, neither cause any sorenes to me... but I can't practice for long time, and that makes my progress very slow.

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Re: Should I get braces?

Darlene,

Sorry I didn't see your post earlier.  No, I decided against the braces.  I figured the cosmetic benefits did not outweigh the possibility of detriment to my playing, however temporary.  I like my embouchure the way it is!  So what if my smile isn't the most attractive.  I don't have dental problems, really, and (most importantly) I'm already married!  She'll just have to continue loving me the way I am!!

That having been said, don't let my decision dissuade any of you (especially you young-ish ones) from getting braces if you need them.  The medical benefits (as well as the cosmetic ones) can be substantial.

Best wishes,

Jonathan

Jonathan Marzluf
Owner, Marzluf Reeds
SoCal Freelancer/Educator
www.marzlufreeds.com