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Sore Lower Lip Fix

jbtsax

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Some folks have quite sharp and/or jagged lower teeth that cause abrasions on the inside of the lower lip when playing for long periods of time. I am one of those people, and over the years I have tried covering the teeth with cigarette paper, a piece of a rubber balloon, paper, etc. The best solution I have found is a product called EZO Denture Cushions which are made up of a strong fabric that is impregnated with a paraffin type wax.

Teeth cushions for playing the sax are easy to make and use. The picture below shows the box, and how the denture cushion comes. Below that is shown an oval cut from the full cushion. The oval is put in hot water for about 30 seconds to soften the wax, then it is folded over the center bottom teeth below where the reed makes contact with the lip.

It instantly forms a cushion that is custom fit over the teeth to make the inside of the lower lip more comfortable when playing. Each cushion lasts a long, long time. I replace mine about twice a year when I am playing a lot. I keep mine and a backup inside a small zip loc bag in my horn case.

 

Targa

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You must have had a deprived childhood, don't American parents usually spend a fortune having their children's teeth 'fixed' so they all look like Osmonds.
 
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kevgermany

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Targa's joke aside, why are your teeth cutting in? Pushing the lip away from the teeth really improves sound and should help.
 

Colin the Bear

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I started out with a lip over the teeth embouchure but getting back into busking and gigging I sometimes end up playing 6 maybe 8 hours in a day. My bottom lip was getting quite chewed and playing the next day was painful and awkward. I altered my embouchure. My lip is mostly out like a sulking baby nowhere near my teeth. It comes in for certain numbers and effects buy goes back out. I can play all day every day now given the opportunity or the need.
 

kernewegor

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My bottom teeth are like a shark's.

To save bleeding to death I keep them well clear of my teeth when playing sax, but it isn't a problem with clarinet - different angle, I suppose.
 

gtriever

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"Back in the day" (meaning the late '60s and '70s) it seemed like a slab of paraffin or a box of dental wax was a part of every sax player's kit. That's when we were playing 5-hour club gigs six nights a week, and occasionally "double-booking", i.e. playing 5 hours at the first club then hopping over to the after-hours club and playing until dawn... ah yes, those were the days. :mrcool
 

jbtsax

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Targa's joke aside, why are your teeth cutting in? Pushing the lip away from the teeth really improves sound and should help.
The majority of saxophonists like myself who study classical playing push the lower lip back just enough to cover the bottom teeth as described by Larry Teal in "The Art of Saxophone Playing" p.41

The lower lip should be above the teeth, in a rolled position, but supported entirely by the chin muscles and aided by the compact position of the mouth corners, which, when drawn in, furnish a firmer cushion for control of the reed's vibration.

In an ideal world, the muscles around the mouth would be strong enough to enable one to play hours at a time without the necessity of the jaw and lower teeth having to prop up and support the lower lip. Anyone who plays saxophone or clarinet knows that as the ring of muscles around the mouth begin to tire, that the dampening of the reed required to continue to produce a good tone begins to require a bit of help from the teeth and jaw.

Especially in a rehearsal or performance with others, one can't just stop and say my embouchure is tired, and lay out for 15 or 20 minutes, hence the need to have a cushion between sharp and jagged lower teeth and the inside of the lower lip.
 

jbtsax

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You must have had a deprived childhood, don't American parents usually spend a fortune having their children's teeth 'fixed' so they all look like Osmonds.
This is terrible news. Me mum didn't love me after all. :( Oh wait, she bought me a Mark VI (that we couldn't really afford) when I was 13. Targa, I think you watch too many TV shows. The only people I know who get their teeth "capped" are celebrities---with the possible exception of Steve Buscemi.

 

Targa

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This is terrible news. Me mum didn't love me after all. :( Oh wait, she bought me a Mark VI (that we couldn't really afford) when I was 13. Targa, I think you watch too many TV shows. The only people I know who get their teeth "capped" are celebrities---with the possible exception of Steve Buscemi.

Does that mean Steve, as I call him (I'm too lazy too key in Bucsemi, I'd probably spell it wrong), is a celebrity who hasn't had his teeth capped, or he isn't really a celebrity and has had them capped.
In which case he should sue his agent or his dentist.
 

kevgermany

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I've got a Kev embouchure. No teeth, no lips over teeth. Strong lip muscles from Mr Teal's exercises. Lips grip mouthpiece. Works for me:thumb:
 

jbtsax

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I've got a Kev embouchure. No teeth, no lips over teeth. Strong lip muscles from Mr Teal's exercises. Lips grip mouthpiece. Works for me:thumb:
If you can play front E and F and altissimo notes with your double lip/lip out embouchure then my hat's off to you.
 

kevgermany

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I can, including keyed F# & G on sop but I don't do altissimo, except by accident.
 

Zootsax

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I tried the EZO at one time, but felt it was too bulky and forced my embouchure to fall apart. I'm very comfortable using gauze tape made from 3M, called Durapore. I rip off a rectangular piece, fold the adhesive side onto itself, and it shapes well on top of my bottom teeth and doesn't dissolve or fray. It's also thin enough that while playing I don't feel anything is there.
 

Ads

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The only time I have problems with this is when I`m in experimental mode and get too ambitious with reed strengths (nothing induces chewed lip syndrome like sticking a 4 reed on an 8* - unless you`ve got a gob like Andy Sheppard of course)
 

Jay

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So - I have practised so much over the past couple of days (and have sharp, rather raggedy bottom teeth) that I now have a very sore inside lip. I am reading all these good ideas but I leave for band rehearsal in half-an-hour....... no ciggy paper, nor dental wax in the house. Anything 'ordinary' that might be any use?
 

Jeanette

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If it is bad be careful, you might not like it but you may be best resting it :)

Jx
 

Bernie

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It's the second time I have written this in a couple of days, but it seems relevant. I had my dentist grind off a piece of jagged tooth, it seems a bit drastic looking back but it was very effective. The dentist didn't charge anything for the job.
 
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BigMartin

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Manchester, UK
So - I have practised so much over the past couple of days (and have sharp, rather raggedy bottom teeth) that I now have a very sore inside lip. I am reading all these good ideas but I leave for band rehearsal in half-an-hour....... no ciggy paper, nor dental wax in the house. Anything 'ordinary' that might be any use?
Long-term: try to play with your jaw lower. It should be your lip ressing against the reed supported only indirectly by your jaw. I have sharp bottom teeth too, but these days I can play for as long as I like woithout getting a sore lip. Embouchure muscles ache after a while, but I'm not damaging anything.
 
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