My son already has a slight lisp; will Invisalign make it worse? Are there better options for straightening his teeth?
How Common is It for Invisalign Users to Develop a Temporary Speech Impediment?
Doctor Answers (10)
It is very common that at the first aligners you wear, you might encounter speech modifications. This does not last long. It is just a temporary thing until you adjust to these devices.
Although it is very common to see changes in speech with Invisalign it is most often temporary. The mouth has the wonderful ability to adjust to these things.
Temporary speech problmes with Invisalign
I always tell my patients the first week will be difficult and you will speak differently. I also tell them that they will problably produce alot more saliva which will cause them to spit. If you wear them as recommended (22/24 hrs per day )you will quickly learn to accommodate the aligners and speech will not be an issue. If you take the aligners out often and are not compliant as recommendded then the speech issues will continue.
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In over 400 cases I have started, only 2 people have felt they had any change in speech. None that was detectable to anyone else but them.
If a patient is very concerned about this I will offer to make a patient a trail set of trays to allow them to see how it sounds, looks and feels.
No one has ever decided not to do Invisalign after trying this.
Temporary Speech issues with Invisalign Use
Invisalign is a very wonderful tool for correcting cosmetic and functional crowding and other teeth alignment issues. It's ability to make cleaning and maintenance of teeth easier while moving the teeth very effectively and also being so cosmetically acceptable due to a thin clear coverage of the teeth makes it very desirable for many people. As with all changes to the mouth there is many times a short period of speech effect, usually less then 2 weeks. The tongue and mouth adapt very well. Depending on the cause of the existing speech problem, Invisalign may actually improve or correct the existing problem if it is due to teeth position/space issues. A dentist should be able to advise on this after seeing the patient if this is the case.
Invisalign may be the ticket
Problems with speech created by Invisalign are temporary. The more your son speaks the faster his speech will improve. He should be back to normal within two weeks at the most.
Since he already has a lisp there is a good chance the front teeth do not meet when he bites down. Invisalign is a good tool to help close the bite. He should use the inside edge behind the front teeth as a reference to hold the tongue at rest. That way his tongue will not force the front teeth apart.
You should still see a speech therapist to eliminate the lisp.
There are other options like braces but Invisalign may be the ticket for you.
Invisalign with a lisp
If your son has a lisp you might expect it to worsen if Invisalign is used. In cases where the patient does not have a lisp to start with, a transient lisp often develops which goes away after a short while. In your son's case, however, I would not expect the lisp to disappear during Invisalign. So if you want to minimize the speech problems your son may have, it might be prudent to have him treated with traditional braces. As an added benefit of treatment sometime a "lateral lisp" may be improved as a result of orthodontic treatment. If the lisp persists you may wish to havea your son evaluated by a qualified speech therapist.
Previous responses have answered the issue of transient speech issues associated with Invisalign treatment. Understand that your tongue, teeth and lips help to form your speech and with the trays in place there are slight changes in the position of each due to the thickness of the Invisalign trays. Therefore it takes some time for your mouth to accomodate to these changes. The best way to deal with that is to read outloud for several minutes at a time. This will facilitate quick accomodation to the appliances and speech should return to normal quickly. The second part of your question is whether Invisalign is the best choice. That is something that should be discussed with your orthodontist. Remember, Invisalign (or any removeable appliance for that matter) only works if it is being worn and compliance is a BIG issue with teens. You may want to consider traditional orthodontics instead.
Expect a temporary lisp
We let all of our patients know that there should be a temporary lisp or adjustment to speaking. The reason for this is that the aligners feel different from the teeth, and there may be a small gap between the aligner and the teeth where air/saliva can end up.
The best way to get around this problem is to spend as much time speaking as possible. This is a transient problem and will be gone in a few days.
Invisalign aligners can affect the speech
Since the trays are worn all day long, certain sounds can be affected. People usually adapt quickly, but there may be some challenge with "s" sounds or "t" sounds. At the end, evaluation by a speech therapist may be needed since the lisp existed before treatment.