How does affect orthodontics on speech?

smiling boy with orthodontics talking with his friends

As you may know malocclusions not only would deform your facial beauty, they would be followed by several other problems. One of these problems is speech disorder or dysarthria. Speech disorders mostly are caused by malocclusions, so people suffering from this disorder would fail to pronounce many letters or words correctly. The good news is that all of such disorders can be treated with orthodontics, as it can treat them in a proper and methodical manner. When you start to talk your teeth, lips and tongue need to work simultaneously in order to form words through controlling air current outside your mouth. Most sounds are formed when your tongue is placed behind your teeth. In simple words if your teeth are malpositioned, undoubtedly it would negatively affect how you may pronounce words or to say certain sounds.

This time when you want to speak please pay attention to how words are pronounced by your mouth; as you will see, for producing sounds and words you use not only your tongue, but you take advantage of your teeth and lips, as well. Speech is one of the most important ways of communication and our teeth play a key role in this process, so, for a better speech ability we need aligned teeth.

close up of woman face with crooked teeth

close up of woman face with crooked teeth

The Effect of Malocclusion On Speech

Some speech disorders would be due to malocclusions. Dental malocclusions would be caused by different elements such as small jaw size in which there is not enough room for teeth to be aligned properly, premature loss of baby teeth, gingivitis, oral damages or bad habits. When a kid begins a thumb sucking habit and would keep it for many months and even years, you would expect to see changes in their jaws’ structure and form. It also is followed by many negative effects on patients’ self-confidence including losing their beautiful smile.

a child sucking her finger

A child sucking her finger

Children who usually suck their thumbs are expected to be directly involved with the speech disorders, as some patients have been seen saying vague and dumb sounds when they try to speak. The effects of such disorders can be seen in people’s failure to pronounce words and letters correctly. Speech disorders easily would change the correct pronunciation of vowels and consonants. Sometimes, a small jaw and mouth and a large tongue (macroglossia) would cause malocclusions and dental deformity; because a big tongue would press the front teeth, which would result in dental protrusion and diversion over time. The mentioned disorder also can be changed and refined by an orthodontist. If the disorder is not treatable completely by orthodontics, tongue surgery is necessary to complete the treatment procedure to get rid of macroglossia.

Various Forms of Malocclusion and Its Impacts on Speech

Speech disorders are of the serious consequences of dental malocclusion by which people would fail to speak properly, or their words are non-understandable for their listeners. Here, we will explain about various sorts of malocclusions and their effects on people’s speech.

  • Crowded teeth or dental crowding: crowded teeth occur when teeth are turned to the sides and as a result their free movement is restricted inside the mouth.
  • Improper gap between teeth: This condition would make speaking difficult and it would develop whistle-like sounds while speaking.
    · Open bite or bad bite: Open bite occurs when upper and lower teeth do not touch each other in front or back of the mouth, even when the mouth is completely closed. It would make air circulation outside problematic outside the mouth, which in turn makes speaking difficult.
  • Underbite teeth: Underbite occurs when the lower teeth overlap the upper ones and are placed somewhere in front of the latter. It would be due to losing the upper teeth or mandible condylar hyperplasia or both. People with underbite fail to stick their tongue to their palate, so they have difficulty in pronouncing words starting with T, D, and N letters.
  • Overbite: Overbite is exactly the opposite condition of underbite, which affects pronouncing words produced by the tip of your tongue, like words starting with S.

Given what has been explained so far, our tongue need to be free to move inside the mouth and between teeth in order to be able to pronounce words properly and to set the speaking rate. Thus, when your tongue movement is restricted because of dental malocclusion, tongue-tie or ankyloglossia and unintelligible speech.

left image of overbite anomaly and right image of underbite anomaly

The Importance of Orthodontics’ Effect of Speech Improvement

Orthodontics is one of the best and most fundamental treatment procedures which is especially useful in treating speech disorders. By aligning the teeth and jaws position, an orthodontist plays a key role in removing speech-related problems and difficulties. Therefore, patients with dental and jaw disorders can get rid of them by visiting an orthodontist and then see how it is useful in improving their speech ability.

Both orthodontics treatment and dentistry care pave the way for aligning the non aligned teeth to treat speech disorders. As recent studies demonstrate in contrast to people with the aligned teeth, people with speech disorders have problems in pronouncing words starting with certain words like S and Z. Authors have found that the severity of the speech disorder has a direct relationship with the dental problems, hence, the effect of orthodontics on speech is considered very important.

Given the fact that both malocclusions class II and class III are able to change the position of soft tissues including the tongue, it would affect both speech and sound production. Relying upon a precise examination and analysis of teeth and jaws’ position and location, an orthodontist would take advantage of orthodontic tools for treatment. Through a gradual process, orthodontics would move both jaws and teeth over time. Correction of jaws’ location and alignment of teeth will result in treatment of malocclusion and you can see the effect of orthodontics on your speech improvement.

Orthodontic patient smiling with fixed orthodontic brackets

Orthodontic patient smiling with fixed orthodontic brackets

Malocclusion treatment and correction needs your patience because your orthodontist will treat all disorders through about a two-year period of time. It is necessary to remember that the orthodontic treatment duration depends on different factors such as type of disorder, patient’s age, and other issues; however, the approximate treatment duration of orthodontics varies from 1.5 to 2 years. Orthodontists will use fixed and removable orthodontic appliances to treat malocclusions. Patients will have aligned teeth and perfect jaws which are placed over each other neatly when the orthodontic treatment ends. As you saw, all problems caused by dental and jaw disorders will be corrected by orthodontics.

How does affect orthodontics on speech FAQ

1. Are the aligned teeth effective in the correct pronunciation of words while speaking?

Most sounds are produced when our tongue is placed behind our teeth, therefore, when your teeth are not placed properly inside your mouth, there is no doubt that you will fail to pronounce certain words and sounds.

2. What teeth are more important for speaking?

Out incisors (two frontal and central teeth at both mandible and maxilla) play the most importing role in most languages including English. Sounds like F, S, Z, V are produced correctly only using the frontal teeth.

3. Do misaligned teeth have a negative impact on speech?

Misaligned or crooked teeth fail to develop a proper contact with your tongue, which it results in mispronunciation of certain words, letters and production of a whistle-like sound while speaking.

4. Is it possible to speak normally after completion of orthodontic treatment?

After orthodontic treatment completion, pronunciation of words, letters and sounds will be corrected considerably, as at first you may feel that your speech has been improved in contrast to what you used to. This condition usually will be corrected only after some days.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *