Learning a musical instrument boosts cognition, enhances focus and helps channel energy. In spite of all the good things, however, it poses a hazard to the appearance and integrity of the mouth, teeth and jaw.
Wind instruments, such as trumpets, clarinets and flutes, particularly have a significant effect on the teeth.
Bruxism, TMJ and Malocclusion from Playing Wind Instruments
Wind musicians use their mouths to play the musical instruments. They force air into a mouthpiece and through the instrument to produce sound. The slightest change in the mouth, from the position of the tongue, jaw or teeth can significantly affect the quality of the sound.
A chipped tooth is not surprising, but because wind instruments are pushed into the mouth quite enthusiastically, some other problems are bruxism and Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).
Because the instrument needs a large volume of air to produce sound, wind musicians have a tendency to clench their jaws and teeth. Doing so over time often leads to tooth breakage. The lower jaw muscles might also force the upper teeth to tip outward. This causes misalignment and malocclusion, which can be treated with the help of braces.
Dentists and Music Professionals May Help
To avoid issues with teeth, musicians must make sure their dentists are aware of the way they play the instruments. Keeping an extra mould of the mouth in the event of an emergency is also a good idea for a musician so that the dentist knows how the mouth should look.
Well-informed, professional music teachers are a big help as well, as they are familiar with how a player relates to an instrument; they also know which ones fit which individual based on their teeth structure, size, weight and hand strength.
Life is about balance. Even if it comes with numerous advantages, certain things can have drawbacks. Playing a wind instrument, for instance, provides a tremendous amount of benefits to individuals — and equal amount of ouch moments. It is a skill worth championing, though; simply know the risks, manage them accordingly and play some beautiful, soul-enriching music.