Can Orthodontics Fix My Speech Impediment?
Did you know that chronic speech problems can be caused by the misalignment, or malocclusion, of your teeth? Dr. Susan Tierney and Dr. Michael Sheinis of Straight Set Orthodontics near Floral Park, NY know that these and other oral health care issues can cause an orthodontic speech impediment.
Do you have a lisp? Do you whistle when pronouncing certain sounds or words? Do people complain that you mumble? Then orthodontic treatments with Dr. Tierney and Dr. Sheinis of Straight Set Orthodontics may be the key to regaining your clear speech, straight teeth, and healthy mouth.
Types of Malocclusions
- Bruxism. When someone grinds or clenches their teeth while they sleep at night. This can lead to a sore jaw in the morning and, if left untreated, can result in jaw disorders that affect speech.
- Open Bite. When the upper and lower teeth extend forward from the jaw and do not fit together optimally when the mouth is closed. The problem is rooted in habits from early childhood (for example, thumb sucking). Open bite is a common cause of speech impediments, uneven tooth wear, and can interfere with proper oral hygiene.
- Gaps between the teeth. When there is significant space between two teeth, or a tooth is missing. This may make it difficult to pronounce certain words or “ess” sounds.
Dental malocclusions don’t go away on their own. If you suffer from any of these types of orthodontic issues, you will need orthodontic treatment to bring your teeth into alignment. Braces can correct any type of misalignment and possibly reduce or eliminate speech problems. With braces, brackets are affixed to the front of the teeth, and an archwire is run through them, which will slowly situate the teeth into their optimal location. (Remedial speech therapy may also be indicated so that, as the teeth are repositioned, the patient can get used to pronouncing words or sounds that were once problematic.)
If you don’t like the idea of being treated with metal braces, there are other options for you to choose from that are more discreet. Ceramic braces, which are clear or tooth-colored), and lingual braces, which are braces that are adhered to the back of the teeth where they are not visible.
Tips and Tricks
To prevent your lips or cheeks from becoming irritated by your braces, dental wax can be placed over your brackets or wires. Dr. Tierney, Dr. Sheinis and the Straight Set Orthodontics team will show you how.
Some patients may find that their speech is inhibited due to the installation of their new braces. There are some exercises that can help a patient improve their speech while being treated by an orthodontist. Try speaking a little slower. You can then more easily adjust your speech to the way you want it to sound. Singing can help strengthen mouth and cheek muscles, making speech a more controlled movement. Reading aloud may help with your pronunciation and your speech projection while wearing braces.
If you’d like to find out if your speech impediment is caused by your teeth and how you can fix it, call Dr. Susan Tierney, Dr. Michael Sheinis and the Straight Set Orthodontics team to schedule a consultation at their office near Floral Park, NY. Help is just a phone call away: 516-248-2560.