You are likely reading this article because you have braces and want to sing, or because you are contemplating braces as a singer. No matter your age, it's natural to wonder if braces will affect your singing voice. In this article, I hope to relieve some of your fears and give you the confidence to continue singing, braces or no braces.
Singing with braces will have no affect on your voice because your vocal cords are not affected. However, the initial discomfort of the braces may make it hard to move your mouth until you become used to them. Major readjustments may result in very slight improvements to your tone and timbre.
There are a few more things to consider as a singer getting braces, which I will explain below. I'm sure you will also be pleased to know a few famous singers who have pulled of singing with braces too.
Singing with Braces: The Facts
Braces Do Not Affect the Vocal Cords
Your singing voice is primarily determined by what happens in your larynx (in your throat). The tone and flexibility of the muscles surrounding your vocal cords, as well as the health of the vocal cords themselves, produces the unique sound that is your singing voice.
For more detail on how the sound of your voice is produced, take a look at this article.
With this information in mind, having braces fitted to your teeth, does not affect this sound at all. In fact, I have heard many stories of people with braces who didn't notice any change to their singing voice. How much you practice will have a much greater impact.
The Effect of Braces on Your Mouth
One thing you might want to consider is the effect your braces may have on your mouth. More often than not, your mouth will become sore after having braces fitted for the first time.
This is because the delicate tissue inside your mouth is not used to rubbing against metal. It will therefore because irritated and most likely be painful to open your mouth normally. But over time, your mouth should get used to it and go back to normal (usually 1-2 weeks).
In addition to this, your teeth and jaw will be sore after having your braces fitted because they are being forced in a new direction (this is exactly what braces are supposed to do). Regardless of whether you have traditional braces or invisalign, this will also make opening and closing your mouth a challenge (at first).
With these things in mind, I would recommend giving yourself a break from singing until this initial discomfort has eased. You will certainly get used to the braces, so it won't be for too long.
Braces are Regularly Tightened
Tying in with what I mentioned above, your braces will need to be readjusted (tightened) at periodic intervals. Your orthodontist will be able to provide you with how often you can expect this to happen.
It is important to remember that the initial discomfort in your teeth and jaw will return each time this happens. However, if the adjustments are minor, you may not even notice.
Consider Your Confidence
It's natural to feel self-conscious after having braces fitted. Particularly if they are visible to others. You may also struggle at first to adjust to the new feel in your mouth, meaning spitting on the odd occasion.
The best thing I can say here is that nobody will think any differently of you whether you have braces or not. They will be focussing on the quality of your voice than your physical appearance. Think of all the people you know with braces. I'm sure you haven't thought any differently of them since they had their braces fitted.
Practice will also help you with your confidence. If you run through your performance several times, you will prove to yourself that spitting is a rare occurrence (and can happen without braces too!), you still sound like your normal self and you look great.
If you want a few more tips on boosting your confidence, I have a few more here.
Consider Your Options: Traditional vs Invisalign
If you haven't committed to your braces yet, you still have time to consider your options. Although more expensive, Invisalign can be a great option for singers because of the ability to remove them when needed.
Invisalign can usually be removed for up to two hours each day (must be worn for at least 22 hours every day to be affective). That means you can remove them before your performance and put them straight back in after.
Traditional braces can't be removed, but may be a cheaper option for you. As we explore above, they won't actually affect your singing voice. It is mostly your confidence that may need a boost.
Famous Singers With Braces
The following singers have all worn braces while singing. I hope this reassures you that it in no way affected their performance or amazing voices. It certainly didn't make anyone think any differently of their incredible talent!
Gwen Stefani wore braces in 1999 while continuing as the lead singer of the band, 'No Doubt'.
Miley Cyrus wore braces while singing as 'Hannah Montana'. She had a particular type of braces (known as lingual braces) that sat on the back of her teeth, so they were not visible from the outside.
Faith Hill wore braces as a child, but didn't wear her retainer. As a result, she required braces again at the age of 45, well into her country music career.
R&B singer, Fantasia, wore braces in 2008, around the time she was working on her 3rd studio album.
One Direction member, Niall Horan, had braces during the early days of the group. People were so used to this appearance, that it was a big deal when he had them removed.
Justin Bieber got braces once he had already become famous. He used the fortune of his fame to opt for invisalign instead of the traditional braces.
Estelle wore braces well into her singing career. It took her years to build up the courage to get them because she didn't like the idea of the pain. But ultimately, the idea of a perfect set of teeth at the next Grammy Awards won her over.
Even Beyonce has successfully performed with braces. She didn't necessarily need them, but chose to slightly correct her teeth with traditional metal braces to support her younger fans.