Short-term braces are a great orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth and enhance your smile. However, it takes a bit of time to get used to speaking and pronouncing with your braces. Although this may seem like a major problem at first, braces wearers can easily learn more about their speech ability and take the necessary steps to improve speech function.
Choose the right braces and get them adjusted for speech
Generally, it is recommended that you wear short-term braces according to your orthodontic diagnosis. However, you can choose the type of braces system that you want from the selections of removable and fixed systems, as well as options for clear aligners that are worn like mouth shields; tooth-colored brackets with binding archwires; or lingual braces that are attached to the back of the teeth for your complete discretion.
With any kind of braces system, there will be some temporary speech impediment. Even with removable aligners, your tongue may still have difficulty moving at first, though the sensation may be different from that of wearing brackets and archwires. Your facial muscles will soon adapt to the new sensations, allowing you to adjust to a new speaking habit.
Opt for self-ligating and lingual braces
Lingual braces are the most ideal for better speech function during your orthodontic treatment. These braces feature small brackets placed behind the front teeth that allow for smooth and relaxed oral movements. Similarly, self-ligating braces are specially designed for passive function to minimize friction that may hinder speech function.
Adjust braces to enhance the fit
Any speech impediment when receiving orthodontic care is supposed to be temporary, lasting no more than two to three weeks. But if your braces cause a lot of discomfort and speech difficulty beyond this duration, you should consult your orthodontist about getting the braces adjusted so they fit better. If they are damaged, your dentist can repair or replace them.
Lubricate the brace brackets with wax
In some cases, applying dental wax to the brackets delivers a better glide, making speech smoother. However, you should discuss this option with your orthodontist before using braces wax if other options are not applicable.
Lastly, one of the most common speech problems is lisping, which disappears within a couple of days. If it doesn’t, you may need a little speech practice by slowing down your speech and pronouncing the words that trigger the lisps. Some ways to practice your speech include singing, reading out loud, using a voice recorder, speech drill tapes, or simply slowing down your speech until you adjust to your new braces system.