When you first begin your orthodontic treatment journey, it is normal to ask your orthodontist a series of questions. These often center around the orthodontic procedure, how long it will take to fix your smile, and the best treatment option for you.
One of the frequently asked questions is “How do braces affect my speech?” is the question. This is an extremely important question, especially for adults who are in treatment at an older age and who need to speak clearly in their professional or social circles.
As with anything new, you should give yourself time to get used to your new orthodontic appliance. Whether you’re choosing clear aligners or metal braces, it’s normal for your mouth to feel different after an orthodontic procedure. But the good news is that after a few weeks things will improve significantly.
The most important thing to remember is that your speech often sounds much worse to you than it does to anyone else around you. While you may feel that you’re developing a lisp or starting to mispronounce words, your family and friends probably won’t notice.
Is Your Speech Affected?
Traditional braces and clear aligners will take some getting used to, so you may have minor difficulties speaking for a few days, but you’ll quickly get used to it. Lingual braces tend to have a greater impact on your speech due to their proximity to the tongue. This will improve over time as you get used to the feel of the device in your mouth.
Improving Your Speech
Did you know that in some cases braces can actually help you heal some speech impediments? Teeth play an important role in how you pronounce and express words. When people have widely spaced teeth or a specific bite, they may experience speech problems such as lisp or whistling. Therefore, closing large gaps and healing malocclusions through orthodontic work can help improve speech.
Tips to Adapt to Your Braces
When you first get your braces on, it may take a while to get used to the way they look and feel. You may experience mild tenderness in your cheeks and tongue that can make pronouncing words or chewing hard food a little more difficult. This is completely normal and your mouth should get used to it in a few weeks and everything should be back to normal.
In the meantime, there are some things you can do to ease the transition.
Practicing Is Very Effective
Like most things in life, it’s important to achieve your goals by working on words that are difficult to pronounce. This can be done by reading aloud, singing songs, or having long conversations with people you’re comfortable talking to.
Orthodontic Wax Can Be Your Best Friend
Some patients use orthodontic wax to relieve discomfort when they first wear braces, but this can also help heal speech faster. This is because orthodontic wax aids the braces and provides enhanced smoothness and glide for speech, making it easier to pronounce certain words.
When you first put on your strings, it’s important to slow down your speech and focus on pronunciation. This will help you work on more difficult words.
Remember, the inconvenience of speech difficulties is a small price to pay for a dazzling smile you’ll have for years to come. So be patient, you’ll get used to it before you know it.
If you still have difficulty speaking after undergoing orthodontic treatment, you should schedule a consultation appointment with your orthodontist who can provide additional speech exercises and advice to help you adjust to the appliances in your mouth.