Perhaps you’re considering having your teeth straightened or your dentist has recommended you get an overbite fixed with braces? If so, you may have a lot of questions about how this will affect you as a performer.
For many of us, our teeth grow in crooked or become so when our teeth move into new positions as older adults. Braces fit over your teeth to gradually pull and push them into a straighter position over time. Braces affect your singing voice a little.
Read on to find out whether your own voice is likely to change as a result of orthodontic treatment and what might be involved in getting your own pearly whites perfectly placed.
Do braces affect your singing voice?
Will your voice change?
Braces can affect your singing voice a little, namely your resonance and diction. But whether it does will depend on the shape of your mouth, what is being changed and how much your teeth are being moved.
Orthodontic work is prescribed for each individual’s needs. So the treatment for you will be different from that of a friend’s. You may only need a brief period of wearing braces. You may need one or many teeth removed ahead of having your braces fitted. Or you may need jaw realignment work and dental surgery too.
In general, the more that’s required, the more likely it is it will affect your voice – but it should be positive!
Can braces change your singing voice?
Braces on their own will have less of an effect on your singing voice than the rest of the dental work that may be required to fit them. By changing the cavity space and shape in your mouth, your voice resonates differently. So a few teeth shifting a little bit, won’t make a huge difference. But long term braces that totally realign your jaw shape may create a slightly different tone.
Let’s take a look at the different types of braces and what you can expect from each.
- Metal braces are available on the NHS for kids and teens. They are silver in colour and use heat-activated wires, a new technology, to move teeth in to place faster than for previous generations.
- Ceramic braces are the same style as metal braces but are tooth coloured to make them less visible. Some still have metal wires, and some have tooth-coloured wires too. These can yellow or stain if you eat a lot of foods with colours, so they require more care than metal braces.
- Lingual braces are also the same style but are placed on the inside of the teeth so can’t be seen at all. This also makes them harder to clean and for the orthodontist to adjust, so only work where minimal movement is required. They may also be less comfortable.
- Removal clear plastic aligners are custom made and expensive. But they can be removed anytime (just don’t lose them!) and are less visible than metal braces. It can take longer to move the teeth this way and only works for minor adjustments. They are also not suitable for younger kids, only teens and adults.
- Facebow headgear is a piece of apparatus worn at night, to help realign the jaw and move the molars further back to create space for the canines.
This video shows you exactly how braces work and the step by step process involved in attaching brackets and braces.
Do braces hurt?
Again, this will depend on the amount of work you are having done, as well as how much the braces are moving your teeth. If you have train track style braces, the most common type, these will need to be tightened regularly to enable your teeth to keep moving toward the end position. After a tightening, you may experience an ache in your teeth for a few hours or days. You may want to eat soft foods and take some painkillers until it subsides.
If you need to have teeth removed pre-braces, you will receive an anaesthetic. The injection will nip for a few seconds, but this will prevent pain during the procedure. After the extraction, you may have some discomfort after the anaesthetic wears off, but this won’t last long and can be remedied with painkillers.
Do braces change your speech?
If your teeth are stopping you pronounce certain words or letters clearly, then braces can really help. Your dentist will take your speech into account when working out your treatment plan, as this may be a consideration for getting the braces in the first place. You might need to re-educate your tongue, so you’re moving and using it in the right way when speaking.
How do braces affect your speech?
Braces feel a bit weird when they first go on. Some people find they get a bit of a sibilant ‘s’, or lisp when they first have them attached. Once they’ve settled, you can do extra exercises to improve your diction.you usually have to wear them for a year and a half to two years. After this, they will affect your speech by having moved your teeth. If your teeth were crooked before, this new straightened position makes it easy to move your tongue freely and form the correct placement for vowels and consonants.
How do braces change your singing voice?
Braces change your singing voice and tone, by changing the space in your mouth. When you sing, the sounds reverberate around your mouth, up into your hard palate and into the soft palate. If the length, or arch of your hard palate, in particular, is altered it can change the quality of the sound. That doesn’t mean it won’t be as good though.
Vocal legend Freddie Mercury has a very pronounced overbite but refused to get it ‘fixed’ as he believed it may have contributed to his individual and epic falsetto sound.
If treatment is recommended and you’re unsure how it’ll affect your singing, do consult with your dentist or orthodontist. Ask for their advice, as they should have an idea of how your voice may, or may not change afterwards.
The best thing about braces is that they give you a fantastic smile. Most singers have had some form of work done on their teeth, so it’s very safe and a sensible step to take in looking and sounding great.
- Can teeth affect singing?
Your teeth, mouth, throat, nose and diaphragm all contribute to your singing voice. This is why it’s important to take care of your vocal anatomy (and overall health) as a singer. Make sure you visit the dentist every six months and brush your teeth twice a day.
- How does your voice change when you get braces?
When you get braces you may find you have trouble pronouncing certain letters of the alphabet. But this will only be temporary. In the long run, getting braces will help your diction, giving you a clearer sound on stage.
Do your braces affect your singing voice? Has it changed as a result of getting orthodontic work done? Let us know in the comments below.