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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000306.txt from 1999/01

From: (Tony Pay)
Subj: [kl] Plastic guard (was, Lip scrapes)
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 04:35:54 -0500

On Fri, 8 Jan 1999 23:48:10 EST, said:

> In a message dated 1/8/99 11:44:56 PM US Eastern Standard Time,
> writes:


> > Should I have the corners ground down? Opinions? Thanks!
> If I were you, I would go to the dentist and point out the problem.

Yes. A *good* dentist, though.

Another possible solution is as follows.

I have an overcrowded lower jaw. I might have asked for professional
advice when I was of an age to do something about it, but somehow that
didn't happen. This means that the support for my lower lip is uneven,
and if I play for long periods the inside of my lower lip becomes sore.

My current and probably final way round this, since it seems to solve
the problem completely, is to wear a thin piece of moulded plastic over
my lower teeth.

This plastic covering really is *very* thin. I have experimented with
slightly thicker coverings, but find that the sound is affected in a way
that I don't like.

Some people have such mouldings made for them by their dentist, but I
have found that I can do it for myself much more cheaply as follows.
(Doing it myself also means that I can experiment, and if one version
isn't to my liking, I can make another. I carry several spares around
with me.)

If you buy a boxer's mouth-guard (don't know what they call it in US),
you get a large piece of soft, heat-sensitive plastic that you're
supposed to soften up further in boiling water and cram in your mouth,
before going out to try to damage the other guy.

Since our intentions are much more delicate, we only need a very small
bit of that.

You need to cut off this small bit, and submit it to a process of
stretching and thinning. First you put it into boiling water, then you
fish it out to stretch and thin, then back into the water, repeating
several times. The plastic 'remembers' its previous shape, but
gradually you can get it so that it's in the form of a thin sheet.

You have to develop a technique, but it's not very difficult. You don't
scald your fingers usually, because the plastic has a very low
conductivity, so the problem is just getting it in and out of the
boiling water neatly. Tweezers are a help, and you can wear thin rubber
gloves if you like, which makes it easier. (I've got the hang of it
now, and so don't bother.)

When you have a small, thin strip, you can trim it to an appropriate
size with scissors, if it's got too big. (The sharp edges of the cut
are easily rounded by flaming them *very* briefly.) Then, you put it
back for the last time into the boiling water, fish it out, and mould it
over your lower teeth.

You probably won't get it the first time, but if you keep trying,
eventually you put it in fast enough, the plastic takes the form of your
teeth sufficiently accurately, and then it will remain in place without
problem. You can do a final trim afterwards, too.

You don't burn your mouth with the plastic, as I've said, because of the
low heat conductivity, and the residual water cools very quickly. You
*should* however take precautions that you don't have an accident with
the pan of boiling water, which obviously *is* dangerous if you spill it
over yourself or someone else.

When it first occurred to me to try this, and I went out to get the
necessary equipment, the assistant in the sports shop looked at me.
"Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a pair of running shoes?" he

_________ Tony Pay
|ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
| |ay Oxford OX2 6RE GMN family artist:
tel/fax 01865 553339

"Believing Truth is staring at the sun
Which but destroys the power that could perceive."

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