Dental health for Musicians
Did you know that people who play musical instruments and sing are prone to
certain types of orofacial problems?
To play these instruments requires complex muscle systems working together. Different
mouthpieces on each instrument means that a unique muscular pattern is required
for each instrument. Some people have mouths and faces that help make these tasks
easier and some people require the use of compensatory movements of the muscles
of the head and neck that may create later problems.
Things that may make playing a wind instrument more difficult:
- Poor lip control, short lips
- Tongue thrusting habits
- Crowded or misplaced teeth
- Severe jaw discrepancy
- Jaw joint pain
- Lack of practice
Problems that may occur because you play a wind instrument:
- Orthodontic problems: The upper front teeth may be pushed out and the lower
front teeth may be pushed backwards. It has been suggested that extensive (long
periods of time) wind instrument playing is delayed until after the development
of the roots of the permanent teeth and bone development is complete. It is also
a good idea to play different instruments so pressure is not concentrated on the
- Soft tissue damage: when orthodontic braces are on teeth, the playing of instruments
may create ulceration. Ask your orthodontist or dentist about wax as a solution.
- Cramp or loss of control of muscles.
- Dry mouth
- Increased saliva
When playing the violin and viola the teeth are often clenched and held in an
Problems that may occur:
- Fracturing of teeth cusps due to pressure
- Neck pain
- TMJ disorders: See our information
- Chronic dermatitis
The sound produced by a vocalist is modified by the mouth. Changes in the mouth
can affect the sound produced. Dental treatment should aim to avoid altering the
shape or bulk of the teeth. Singers also place their jaws in a range of unnatural
positions during singing and may suffer TMJ disorders ( see above). Singers need
to re hydrate with water to maintain their mouth.