Overbites make the most common dental disorders. There are two types of overbites – horizontal and vertical. The latter types of overbites occur when teeth on the upper jaw significantly overlap teeth located on the lower jaw. Horizontal overbites occur when the upper teeth protrude in front of those located on the lower side.
Both types of overbites are as a result of skeletal or dental problems. As such, dental overbites indicate a problem with the teeth, but skeletal overbites show something wrong with the jaw. Overbites are often hereditary, caused by poor oral habits like prolonged thumb-sucking, nail-biting, and tongue thrusting. Over or underbites cause various problems:
- Chewing and eating issues
- Speech impairment
- Increased risk of damage to the front tooth due to an overly prominent position of the mouth
- Pain in the jaw that is caused by strained muscles and jaw
- Worn out enamel that causes gum disease and cavities
You Might Be Wondering
Note that overbites and underbites account for problems, resulting from misaligned bites. However, both kids and adults may also experience misalignment as a result of crooked teeth. In such instances, the patients will suffer from overcrowding, misshapen teeth, or the presence of spaces between teeth. Overcrowding occurs where the dental ridge accommodates too many teeth. On the other hand, people with misshapen teeth will also have them shaped unevenly, and that causes their smiles to be asymmetrical. It may be due to abnormal growth during teeth development or genetic factors.
Spaces are often caused by teeth that do not fill up the mouth or those that are missing. They also appear between two upper front teeth. Spaces between teeth may be caused by several reasons, such as incredibly small teeth, an oversized labial frenum, or incorrect swallowing reflex. Habits like thumb sucking also create spaces between teeth as the practice tends to pull teeth located in the front apart.
An orthodontist explores various treatment options for people who have these kinds of teeth problems and the most common of these are brackets and Invisalign.
The devices correct misalignment problems and are the best treatment options for eliminating speech problems. While they are primarily designed for resolving misalignment issues in kids aged 10-14 years, they have become attractive options for adults who want to improve smiles and correct minor problems.
They come in three varieties; metal, plastic, and ceramics. There are also selections of permanent and removable bracket systems that are colored with arched wires and others with clear aligners. Ceramic brackets are invisible and less noticeable than metal brackets while lingual brackets are attached to the back of the teeth for total discretion. Lingual brackets are specially designed to enhance speech.
Orthodontists recommend the right kind, depending on the patient’s diagnosis, but the individual may also choose the type of brackets he wants. The idea is to explore the options with the help of your doctor and pick a bracket system you feel comfortable wearing.
What to Expect After Treatment
While the primary reason for fitting metal or lingual brackets is to correct misaligned or crooked teeth, they sometimes impede speech. It is important for the orthodontist to prepare their patients for slightly slurred speech and other difficulties as a standard response to the initial treatment.
Of course, for most people, it is disheartening, though with enough practice and getting accustomed to the brackets allows you to get back to being fluent again. Some patients also develop a lisping effect in speech where they can’t pronounce particular sounds, like “s” or “z.” They push air outwards to create the “th” sound. The movement of the tongue is also restricted, causing slurred speech. In most cases, the brackets align the teeth but limit the movement of the tongue.
Here’s the Deal…
The Speech Impairment is Temporary, not Permanent
Patients should rest assured that the speech impediment is only temporary. Brackets often feel strange at the beginning just like using removable invisible aligners. The tongue experiences difficulty moving during speech, thus causing a lisping effect. During speech, the tongue and the lips move as facial muscles contract and expand; these movements form a habit. Over time, the oral structures adapt to the movements restoring the patient’s speech.
Lubricating the Devices
Some patients who undergo the treatment find that applying wax helps them glide better, thus improving speech. Patients should inquire about the right kind of wax to apply on the brackets.
Understand Speech Functions
Learning how your speech functions allow you to gain better control over speech impairment after fitting metal or lingual brackets. The process entails regulating the pitch from the diaphragm and producing voice sound. As such, the posture you adopt when talking is of the essence. Talking requires the support of the entire body where the chest is pushed outwards, shoulders are relaxed, the stomach pushed inwards, and the back is arched straight.
Adjusting the Fit
Speech difficulties should last for two weeks. However, if the brackets cause discomfort and significant difficulty in speech for longer periods, it is important to speak to the doctor about these concerns. In such instances, the brackets may require adjustment for a better fit or replacement. Sometimes, they may be damaged, thus only need to be repaired.
Dealing with the Lisping Effect
The first few days after treatment are characterized by Lisp effect. Most patients adjust within two days of treatment, and the lisping effect disappears completely. However other patients need to practice by reducing the speed of their speech and pronouncing letters and words that seem to cause issues. Letters such as s, t, c, and d are problematic when adjusting to the devices. Patients may improve pronunciation by:
- Singing their best songs while pronouncing the words correctly. It also helps the tongue, facial muscles, and lips move better
- Using speech drill recordings. The goal here is repeating and practicing the letters. This will accustom you to wearing the brackets
- Speaking the words or letters aloud. They can pick a favorite topic, book, or article of interest and project the voice from the diaphragm to improve speech
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Do Braces Cause Difficulty? [in Speech]
I love orthodontics. I love the challenge of creating healthy and beautiful smiles. I love the people I get to meet and interact with on a daily basis. I love taking care of my patients and giving them a smile they can be proud about.