Bye Bye Baby
November 15, 2008 4:45 AM   Subscribe

Question about dentition and brass instruments

After 40 long years, it looks like one of my two remaining baby teeth is giving up the ghost. I asked my hurried dentist how long the process takes from start to finish - he said about a year. I asked if he knew if there were issues playing trumpet through the process - he didn't understand and answered instead the question "can I play trumpet with the post?"

I'm an active amateur player (I gig about a dozen times a year) and I need to know what to expect as far as playing is concerned during the transitions.

I've found a few scant things via google, and a request for participants for some research from the International Trumpet Guild that hasn't been published.

Any anecdotal experience?
posted by plinth to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am going to assume you are talking about a retained baby molar and having it replaced with an implant and crown? So you are talking about an extraction, and with it being a failing baby tooth there will hardly be any roots, so a pretty atraumatic event there. Some sore tissue, that's all. You may be getting an implant at the same time, or you may need some healing time before that procedure. Implant placement is a fairly painless procedure too. Your gum will need to be cut open just a tiny bit to allow the surgeon to drill into the bone to place the implant fixture, but there aren't nerve endings inside the bone, so you wont have pain, just tenderness again on the gum tissue.

Not having played a brass instrument, but as I understand they are played by tightly pursing the lips and "spit-buzzing" into the mouthpiece of the instrument. You will probably be advised to not play for a couple of days immediately after each procedure, only because of the discomfort possible in the early days of healing, and in the case post-extraction you don't want to fill your mouth with so much air pressure.

When you get to part where the crown restoration is in progress, that should not have any trauma to the tissue at all, shouldn't hinder your playing at all.

So to get to my anecdotal experience: I worked with a Prosthodontist specializing in head and neck cancers and we made devices called obturators. These appliances plug up holes that are created when the surgeon removes growths in the mouth, exposing the nasal/sinus cavities to the mouth. So basically we'd make partial or full dentures that extend up into defect to seal the mouth so patients could eat/drink and talk.

We had a patient who plays a trumpet? trombone? one of those anyway, and although he was put low for awhile post-surgery and through chemo and radiation treatments, he plays his instrument in his band very regularly. And he is at 7 years post cancer, and doing well.
posted by Jazz Hands at 6:47 AM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm 29 and am a former college band trumpet player. I had two wisdom teeth removed (one simply pulled, the other surgically removed) a little over three weeks ago. My gums have healed up enough and the intense pain in my jaw bone has decreased enough to where playing doesn't hurt a whole lot. I can definitely tell that there's something different with my embochure, so be prepared to adjust for that. I guess all I can say is give your body time to heal after the procedure(s). Don't try to practice buzz with a mouthpiece or anything like that.
posted by phrayzee at 7:14 AM on November 15, 2008

If you want to hit up your dentist for more info I'd suggest thinking about breaking down what you're worried about to the physical basics. I'm a pro trumpet player and I had to learn to start asking my dentist questions like:
  • When I put pressure on my front teeth, will the missing tooth allow the other teeth to move around more than we'd like?
  • Is there any risk of a perforation from my mouth cavity into the sinuses from this procedure?
  • (variant) There are reasonably high air pressures in my mouth when I play, is that bad for any of the work that you're doing?
  • My tongue scrapes against my molars when I play, is there going to be something sharp there and can we dull it/cap it/etc.

  • Unless you luck out and find a dentist who's also a brass player, you're inevitably going to be way more of an expert on what's going on in your mouth when you play, so you're going to have to translate it back to the physical parameters that they're more familiar with -- this way you have a shot at them remembering, oh yeah, there was a paper about some guy who blew out [stitch method A] while blowing up a balloon, so maybe let's use [stitch method B].
    posted by range at 9:19 AM on November 15, 2008

    Maybe join TPIN and start a discussion there.
    posted by bendy at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2008

    You might also consult my dentist, Peter Silver the "Jazz Dentist", who is a trumpeter and leads a brass quintet and a big band here in NYC. From his site: he combines his extensive training in dentistry with his musical experience to cater to the very special needs of wind & brass musicians. Whether you’re a musician with a dental emergency or looking for dental care to match your specific needs, Dr. Silver is the man to see.
    posted by nicwolff at 12:47 PM on November 15, 2008

    (Also, he's just an excellent dentist and really nice guy.)
    posted by nicwolff at 12:47 PM on November 15, 2008

    What range said. I think he has the right questions there.

    Your dentist should listen carefully to your concerns and address the specifics of your situation - answering your questions and making sure the treatment plan is right for you. If not... find someone that will.

    Keep flossing. IANADen. (I am a trumpet player.)
    posted by Bigbrowncow at 5:26 PM on November 15, 2008

    I forget to add ... if you are worried, just remember you are never the first... (search for Brick)
    posted by Bigbrowncow at 5:34 PM on November 15, 2008

    I sent email to Peter Silver - we'll see what happens.
    posted by plinth at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2008

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