top of page
  • Writer's pictureSoong-Ryong Jung (David) , DDS, MS, PhD

How Speech Patterns and Teeth are Connected

How Speech Patterns and Teeth are Connected

One of the many arguments that dentists and oral surgeons use for insurance companies to cover the cost of tooth replacement is that teeth are vital for the ability to speak. According to them, the alignment of our teeth, determines our speech patterns, just as much as behavioral factors. But what do people know about how our jaws and teeth determine speech? How does the loss of a tooth hurt the chances of being understood by another person? Does poor dental hygiene or blunt trauma warp speech beyond recognition? Find the answers from a dental implant surgeon in Plano, Texas.

The Anatomy of Speech

There are three stages that make up speech. First, is the development of a thought or conceptualization stage. Second, is the linguistics stage, which works through a combination of grammatical encoding and decoding of sounds and thoughts. The final stage is articulation, which Wikipedia defines as, " the execution of the articulatory score by the lungs, glottis, larynx, tongue, lips, jaw and other parts of the vocal apparatus resulting in speech."

Implant surgeons and dentists have the most concern about the effectiveness of the third part of speech development. Specifically, the articulation involving the jaw, lips, and tongue. So, what does tooth placement have to do with any of it? It isn't like it has anything to do with our tongues, jaws, or lips, right?

Oral Anatomy and Speech

This is a case of looking at the body as a whole instead of as a series of separate parts. After all, these parts are a combination of what leads to a whole. If they aren't connected, they don't function at all.

In the case of tooth placement, it determines a lot when it comes to speech. "Crooked, overlapping, and twisted teeth change the placement of your tongue and may allow excess air to pass between your teeth, creating a whistle when you speak." This sort of whistling can certainly be distracting when other people are trying to listen to you talk. A lot of times, it even causes shame and embarrassment.

Another thing that can affect speech is when the tooth missing at all, especially in the early stages of life. " Losing a baby tooth early is especially detrimental since this can negatively affect your child at a critical time of language development. It’s common for a child with a missing tooth to develop a speech impediment that requires help from a therapist later on."

In the case of a jaw being too small or displaced, it gets worse from there.

Jaw Alignment and Speech

Another way it can cause disruption is if there is are jaw issues. The most common are included in a list below, that was initially created by

The lower jaw is too far back. When the lower jaw is too far back, biting can be difficult. The chin appears weak or receding.Lower jaw is too far forward. A lower jaw that is too far forward and causes the chin to protrude. Lower teeth may jut outward to overlap the upper teeth.Teeth don’t meet (open bite). An open bite is often due to a long upper jaw. This can cause a “gummy smile.” Or the problem may be that the rear of the lower jaw is too short. An open bite can also be caused by prolonged thumb sucking or improper tongue position at rest and when swallowing. An open bite can make it impossible to close the lips.Jaws are uneven (asymmetry). Uneven jaws are larger or smaller on 1 side than on the other. Or 1 side may be too far forward or back. The face may look off-center or crooked.

All of these can warp speech in one way or another. It can be a subtle influence, like creating an environment that makes it harder for your tongue to rest. Or the change can be drastic. If your jaws lacked symmetry or cant even meet, then it would make it much harder to chew, or even find relief from pain, let alone speak.

What Can Dental Implants Do for Your Speech?

So, what can dental implants do to help people with speech issues? There are a lot of ways. First off, an implant can prevent crowding in the teeth where a new hole would be. Second, it would provide the proper structures for the tongue to find proper rest for speech and breathing. Third, it could help with creating the right weight in the jaw for easier maneuverability.

If you are looking for dental implants in the Plano, Texas area, feel free to visit

22 views0 comments


bottom of page