The Relationship Between Malocclusion and Speech

The alignment of the teeth or occlusion, or rather the lack of proper alignment, is a possible cause for speech disorders. The ideal occlusion creates a wall of well-aligned teeth; a bite that fits well and is without crowding or spacing issues. Any deviation from the standard definition of proper alignment is called malocclusion.

Speech and the Dental Positioning

malocclusionsMalocclusion is generally inherited, but can also be developed through habits. When a child starts thumb sucking, does not quit using a pacifier at the first appearance of teeth, and incur injuries, among others, the structure and shape of the jaw may be distorted.

In the online copy of The Angle Orthodontist, speech is defined as a complex psycho-physiological process. The teeth, as well as the lips and tongue, are the primary tools in speech. The proper articulation of consonants via airflow obstruction and modification depend on the tooth structure. The position of the teeth may lead to articulatory speech disorders. Although it may not be the most severe, it accounts for 50-60 per cent of all speech disorders.

Malocclusion May Lead To Lisps

Our orthodontic practice here at Warrendale Dental Care in Hertfordshire looks into the possibility of arranging misaligned teeth to fix speech disorders. For example, speech defects such as lisps may be a case of malocclusion. Studies show that people with malocclusion have more difficulty with dental sounds (“s” or “z”) than those with normal teeth alignment. Researchers found that the severity of the speech defect varies directly with the severity of the dental anomaly.

Malocclusion may also cause further distortion in the case of strident sounds. The front teeth have to be straight against the direction which the stream of air strikes before escaping out of the mouth. In malocclusion, the front teeth do not meet together properly. With an underbite, one may have a wide anterior-posterior gap causing additional airstream distortion.

The good news is we have dental treatments to correct malocclusion such as Invisalign. Contact us to schedule an appointment and find answers to your queries about malocclusion and our other dental services including Dental Implants.