Can Orthodontics Improve a Child’s Speech?
It’s not uncommon for children to have some form of speech defect or impediment from when they begin babbling in infancy through the toddler years. Most children reach developmental milestones and outgrow these issues, while there is a percentage who continue to display concerning speech delays. The concept of speech is a complex process where many issues can come into play. Speech can be impacted by a multitude of body and development functions such as hearing issues, nerve and muscle control, the brain’s processing ability, and birth defects, not to mention the tongue, lips, vocal cords, nasal cavity, and the placement of teeth and jaw bones.
You might be wondering to yourself what speech has to do with orthodontic treatment. While orthodontic treatment will not be able to cure neurological speech issues and concerns, it can most certainly help with malocclusion, or bite and alignment issues. When children have a very severe overbite, underbite, or open bite, the tongue is not able to land properly on the teeth to make the appropriate sounds.
Orthodontic treatment can potentially help children who:
Have A Lisp – Patients with a lisp usually have an overbite, and the position of the tongue when speaking is creating a “th” sound in place of the “s” and “z” sound.
Pronounce Consonants Incorrectly – Different teeth and jaw placement can cause additional problems with consonants that require extra emphasis.
If you feel that your child or loved one could benefit from having orthodontic treatment to improve speech issues, we recommend seeing them as close to the age of 7 as possible to determine which treatment plan would be most beneficial. It is important to note that wearing orthodontic hardware can potentially create minor speech issues that will diminish when the patient becomes accustomed to the treatment.
If your child or loved one is suffering from a speech impediment that you feel may be related to their bite or the alignment of their teeth, please contact our office located in Southfield, MI to schedule a consultation today. We look forward to seeing you soon!