Did you know that the restorative dentistry and the shape and position of your teeth and bite could negatively affect your ability to play your musical instrument? If you are a wind musician or a parent choosing a musical instrument for your school-age child, choosing a dentist can be a very important decision.
Dr. Lambert has more than twenty years of experience in the treatment of embouchure, facial pain, dental problems of wind musicians, and selection of appropriate musical instruments for school-age children. The team at Thomas R. Lambert DMD can help you get the care you need without hindering your ability to continue your musical career! An accomplished musician for more than thirty years, Dr. Lambert serves as principal clarinet in the American Legion Band of Bethlehem, the Easton Municipal Band, and the Lehigh Valley Italian-American Band. He also loves playing the alto and tenor saxophones. Dr. Lambert even returns to his alma mater, Penn State, every year at homecoming to play with the alumni Blue Band in front of 100,000 fans. Dr. Lambert also enjoys making music with the pit orchestras for local theatre productions of Broadway classics.
Combining his extensive experience in playing wind instruments and restorative dentistry allows Dr. Lambert to offer a unique service that simply cannot be found in other dental practices. Music and dentistry blend together when changes in the musician’s embouchure affect his or her ability to perform. The embouchure refers to the way the musician’s lips, mouth, tongue, teeth, jaws, and muscles of the face interact with an airstream from the lungs and throat to produce quality tone, range, dynamics, and endurance while playing a woodwind or brass instrument.
“Dr. Lambert, I want you to know that Carol loves my 'new front teeth.' Also, the teeth are working very well with the trombone and euphonium. I’ve played the 'Danny Boy' solo at an outdoor concert the Legion Band gave last week and will do so again in a couple of weeks. I just feel very comfortable and confident about my playing now. The most significant change is with the trombone. Both endurance and tone are so much better. Thank you so much for your help.”
Because the mouth is so important to wind musicians, the smallest change in a bite, tooth or jaw position, tooth shape, or tongue movement can significantly impact their ability to play. For example, a trumpet player with a chipped front tooth can have the tooth restored with bonding to make it look great from a cosmetic standpoint, but this restoration may ruin his playing career. A horn player may get beautiful cosmetic veneers that may add half a millimeter to the length of her teeth – but this change may wipe out her ability to play really high notes in her upper range.
Even musicians who attempt to play instruments with removable dentures may experience problems with range, sound quality or articulation through their horn. Thankfully, Dr. Lambert is able to provide separate “musical performance” dentures specifically designed for playing in addition to conventional dentures for eating.
Most dentists cannot understand or appreciate the anxiety brass or woodwind musicians have when an anticipated or complicated dental procedure changes their embouchure and effectively ends their career. Dr. Lambert recognizes the unique requirements for each musician he treats. He centers his treatment for musical problems around making changes to the teeth or bite that are gradual and reversible—especially for front teeth.
For larger dental procedures, Dr. Lambert can fabricate temporary trial dental crowns first to allow the musician to regain normal playing embouchure.
He also encourages preservation of the musician’s teeth and bite with plaster models as the best insurance against unforeseen or accidental dental problems. Without these plaster study models, the aggravation of dealing with new dental or cosmetic dentistry treatment that doesn’t work when trying to play may be impossible to overcome.
Dr. Lambert encourages musicians to bring their instruments to the dental office to demonstrate the way they play. This allows the best treatment without negatively affecting the ability to play their instrument. Dr. Lambert works with a wide range of musicians from beginning to professional symphony musicians from across the country, finding personalized dental solutions that achieve higher levels of musical performance.
Certain types of brass or woodwind instruments may actually improve or worsen your child’s bite by playing pressures on teeth or jaw that are out of alignment.
Before your child engages in playing any musical instrument, that in many cases was selected with little thought by parents or music teacher, let Dr. Lambert recommend a proper instrument for your developing child.
Would you like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lambert? Please give us a call at (484) 403-0099 or send us a message using our online contact form. Either way, we will be happy to help you find a date and time that works well with your schedule. Don’t allow poorly planned or existing generic dental work to keep you from pursuing your passion — we can help you get the musician-friendly care you need today!