How Missing Teeth Can Cause Speech Problems

missing teeth Philadelphia, PA

Most people replace missing teeth to improve their appearance when smiling or talking. Even though these are good reasons to replace missing teeth, another reason to do so is to make sure speech is not affected.

How to missing teeth affect speech?

Speaking requires coordination between a person’s muscles and oral structures like their lips, tongue, teeth, vocal tract and cheeks. Even though some of these oral structures play more significant roles than others, all of them play a role in producing speech. When one of the oral structures does not function properly, speech may be affected.

A way to understand how missing teeth affect speech is by looking at the development of children’s teeth. If a child has already begun speaking and articulating words, the child’s speech is affected when the baby teeth start to fall out and the permanent teeth have not yet erupted. Words that the child could pronounce properly are now distorted because of the missing teeth.

How do teeth aid speech?

Teeth are necessary for people to be able to articulate certain words, some of which become distorted if the person has missing teeth.

Strident sounds

Sounds that are classified as strident sounds are caused by the friction of airflow being pressed against a speaker’s teeth. These sounds include:

  • Sew
  • Fish
  • Chin
  • Zoo
  • Gym
  • Vet
  • Shoe

Other sounds that can also be affected by missing teeth include sounds articulated from the front of the person’s mouth, between the upper teeth and lower lip. This includes both voiced and voiceless sounds like the “th” in “thirst” or “the.”

How do you replace missing teeth?

Missing teeth can be replaced with a variety of treatment options, the most popular of which include:

Dentures

These are used to replace missing teeth when a person has lost some natural teeth or all of them. This allows them to improve the appearance of their smile, chew food and speak properly. However, dentures are not very durable and sometimes move around in the mouth, which affects the person’s ability to articulate properly.

Dental implants

These have become more popular in recent years for being more durable than dentures. Dental implants can also be customized to match the color of the remaining natural teeth in the mouth. However, not everyone is an ideal candidate for dental implants because the procedure requires having healthy gum tissue to hold the implants in place.

Dental bridges

Dentists use dental bridges to fill in gaps in the mouth when a patient has one or more missing teeth. This procedure involves having an artificial tooth held in place by attaching dental crowns to the teeth adjacent to the gap in the mouth.

Conclusion

Most people replace missing teeth to improve their smile, but replacing the teeth is also important to a person's speech as well as oral health, which is why dentists recommend not waiting for an extended period of time before replacing them. If you are missing one or more teeth, schedule an appointment with a dentist to get your teeth replaced.

Request an appointment here: https://www.frankforddentalcare.com or call Frankford Dental Care at (215) 302-1746 for an appointment in our Philadelphia office.

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