Speech is something most of us just assume happens naturally and effortlessly, but if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are affected by a speech impediment, you know that it’s not as simple as just learning how to speak from your parents as a toddler. Speech can be affected by jaw positioning, misaligned teeth and the tongue’s connection to the roof of the mouth.
Thankfully, orthodontics is about much more than fixing a crooked smile. While that is the physically noticeable benefit of orthodontic treatment, orthodontics also provides the means to correct speech impediments. Many people don’t even realize the connection between orthodontic treatment and speech issues and may miss out on an opportunity to have treatment to correct the issue.
Only Some Issues Can Be Fixed
Speech issues are commonly found to have their root in how your mouth and your tongue work in harmony, but that isn’t the only function that affects speech. Genetic issues and jaw malformations can also greatly impact speech and are much more difficult to correct. Speech impediments such as a lisp or a whistle while talking can be corrected by orthodontic treatment. The specific orthodontic issues that can cause impediments and are able to be corrected are:
- Protrusive bite
- Tooth eruption abnormalities
- Crowded teeth
- Missing or excessively spaced teeth
Orthodontic treatment is effective in solving speech problems because it corrects the relationship between the tongue and the roof of the mouth, which is what allows speech to flow correctly. Most speech issues that can be resolved using braces are due to your tongue and the roof of your mouth not making a solid connection. Speech issues that are due to other factors such as genetics or facial malformations cannot be corrected using orthodontics.
Ways Orthodontics Can Improve Speech
Some of the most common ways that orthodontic treatment can improve speech are by eliminating gaps between teeth and realigning the jaw. While this seems like it might be a simple solution, remember that it is not a quick one. Orthodontic treatment can take at a minimum a year of wearing braces, and that is in addition to pre-braces treatment your orthodontist may recommend such as spacers or palatal expanders.
A less commonly known way to treat speech impediments is to implement tongue thrust therapy. A tongue thrust occurs when you thrust your tongue to the front of your mouth, between your upper and lower teeth while speaking. Tongue thrusting can lead to an open bite between your top and bottom teeth and, if left untreated, long-term damage can occur.
If you are seeking orthodontic care for yourself or your child due to a speech impediment, there are several options for treatment that can correct the issue. Remember that children should have their first orthodontic appointment around age seven to plan for potential future treatments. Regardless of age, the sooner you begin orthodontic care, the sooner you will find reprieve from speech impediments related to orthodontic issues.
Consult With Your Fort Worth Orthodontist Today
If you have struggled with worrying about how you sound as you speak or wondering if your child is struggling with a speech impediment due to orthodontic issues, you are not alone. Speech impediments affect many people over all age ranges and can often be corrected with orthodontic treatment. If you are ready to pursue treatment and say goodbye to speech issues once and for all, give our office a call today at 817-926-9777. Our experienced staff knows that speech issues can cause a lot of insecurity and uncertainty around yourself and we look forward to helping you find the confidence you deserve in a new smile and a new approach to speaking!