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Playing with Invisalign – post #1

by Allen J. Venezio on January 13, 2016

I have said for over 20 years that I would never get braces. I knew the catastrophic consequences my playing would suffer if I did it. I was not willing to compromise my trumpet for cosmetics.

Well, recently my dentist told me that while I have very beautiful, healthy teeth, my gums are deteriorating and that braces would help straighten my teeth and make them easier to keep clean. This would, in turn, help him save my teeth for the long run.

So …. It was braces or lose my teeth. Either way, I was going to have a problem playing the trumpet. My solution was to go with Invisalign braces because they can be removed for trumpet playing and give me a fighting chance at being able to continue doing what I love to do.

On December 2, 2015, I had the hooks installed on twelve of my teeth and the first set of trays were attached. It didn’t feel too bad … For about an hour. As I have found out (I just started tray set #4 today), the first few days of each new set of trays hurts like crazy. Your teeth are being pulled in a direction they are not used to going in. It is recommended you wear the trays 18-22 hours a day (that leaves a little time for eating, cleaning and, in my case, trumpet playing). By the end of the two weeks, the trays actually fit comfortably … Just in time for you to install a new set.

My trumpet playing has suffered a bit, but not nearly as bad as I thought it would. Some of that has to do with the pain and soreness of my gums cutting my desire to practice. Don’t get me wrong, it is uncomfortable, especially at the start of each tray cycle, but power through it! Take the Invisalign out for about 10 minutes before you start practicing. This gives your mouth a break from the “trauma” being caused by the Invisalign (and, believe me, it IS traumatic). Rinse with a bit of cool water to cool down your mouth.

Start playing long tones: soft, low and quiet. Ease into your normal routine. I have found that the exercises in Trumpet 101 help me more now than they did before I got Invisalign! They are perfect for keeping my embouchure relaxed and helping me rely more on the air than putting excess pressure on my face.

I will continue to write about my progress here. If you want to share YOUR Invisalign story, please email me! I would love to hear about your experiences.

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