I thought I'd post a thread due to a theory I have regarding my teeth and my embouchure, specifically in how it relates to range and endurance. I apologize in advance for the length of this original post.
To start with, I'm a tooth grinder, specifically at night when I sleep, but it's kind of a tic/habit when I'm awake too. This has led to a pretty slow but consistent erosion of my incisors, both top and bottom, and it has advanced to the point where I may wind up having to take some pretty serious measures that will wind up costing me a lot of money so that I don't wear through to the pulp of the tooth, which will in turn cause me to lose them altogether.
While this isn't necessarily a good thing, inadvertently it may have been for my trumpet playing, at least where range and endurance is concerned. I don't know if it's the nature of the music I play, or if it's something going on with my dental structure's role in my embouchure, but as time has gone on, it seems like two things have happened:
1.) My range and endurance have generally improved - I was playing high Fs just a few minutes ago
2.) My accuracy has generally degraded - it takes me a lot more work to play cleanly and accurately
3.) In general, my sound has brightened over the years, although this could be a sound concept thing from the kind of playing I do.
I'd like to point out that both my range and accuracy have generally improved with a fairly recent mouthpiece switch - my first major successful mouthpiece switch since the late 1990s.
I don't know if my jaw position has shifted out of necessity due to the shortening of my incisors, which in turn has shifted the relationship between my mouthpiece, lips and teeth, or if what I've experienced is a natural progression, but I think back to when I was a full time military bandsman, and two things were generally true that are in sharp contrast to my current abilities as a player:
1.) A high F just wasn't in the cards - not with any regularity or shifting to an alternate chops setting (played the Fs tonight with my normal chops setting)
2.) I was a VERY accurate player
3.) My sound was darker, although that could be attributed to a different set of equipment than I currently use
Part of what got me thinking about this tonight was an article I read about how Jon Faddis had some cosmetic work done to his teeth, went to play a gig and found he'd lost an entire octave (possibly more) of range, and was at his dentist's doorstep early the next morning to get his teeth put back to what they were.
This brings me back to the work my dentist wants to do to mine - he wants to do a thing with a combination of veneers and resin to build up and extend my teeth that I've worn so badly. I'm afraid that much of a shift is going to jack up my chops.
For now, I'm playing better for the kind of music I gig, and I suppose that I should be thankful that I can also gig on drums if I lose my ability to play trumpet.
I'll welcome any thoughts or personal stories and anecdotes on this subject.