Can Braces Give You a Lisp?

by | Jan 12, 2024 | Dental Braces, General Orthodontics, Oral Health | 0 comments

7 min reading time

Embarking on the journey to a straighter smile can have its twists and turns.

At times, the plot thickens for orthodontic patients: Braces might throw a curveball, leading to speech quirks, like a subtle lisp!

Navigating the seas of speech can feel a bit like learning to sail with braces during the initial adjustment period.

Give it time—both your mouth and tongue need a moment to adapt to the wires, brackets, and all the orthodontic gear.

But here’s the plot twist: Brace yourself for a potential lisp remedy in the long run!

Though you might kick off with a speech hiccup, braces can be your passport to a better smile and a clearer speech down the line!

Woman with braces

What Is a Lisp?

A lisp, a kind of speech hiccup, plays with how certain sounds roll off the tongue. The spotlight is on the “s” or “z” sounds, which, instead of hitting the clear mark, take on a “th” vibe. Picture “simple” sounding more like “thimple.”

This little speech twist happens because the tongue doesn’t quite find its sweet spot in the mouth for these sounds. It might fall short of the proper touch with the roof of the mouth or sneak a peek between the teeth.

Lisps often make a cameo in the early stages of learning to talk, giving young kids a linguistic challenge. Surprisingly, they might stick around into adulthood for some. It’s like a unique linguistic signature that adds a bit of flair to speech!

Is Lisp a Speech Impediment or a Speech Disorder?

The question that often pops up among our patients is a head-scratcher: 

“Are lisps considered speech impediments or speech disorders?”

Let’s break it down: A speech impediment is like a glitch, a hiccup in correctly nailing certain sounds. It’s all about the hands-on challenge of physically getting a sound just right.

On the flip side, the umbrella term “speech disorder” opens up a treasure trove of language-related challenges.

Speech disorders dive into the intricate world of how we use and understand language. Think stuttering, voice hoarseness, tongue tie, and selective mutism—they all get a ticket under the speech disorder category.

Now, where does a lisp cozy up? It tends to lean more towards the “speech impediment” crew. But here’s the twist—similar to many speech disorders, a lisp often takes a positive turn or bids farewell through therapy. Speech therapists step in, playing the role of sound maestros, tweaking the tongue’s dance and enhancing sound production. It’s like a linguistic workout with a skilled coach leading the way!

The 4 Types of Lisp

Types of Lisp

  • Interdental Lisp: A sneaky one where the tongue decides to peek through the front teeth, turning “sing” into a surprising “thing.”
  • Lateral Lisp: Here, the “s” and “z” sounds take an unexpected detour, flowing over the sides of the tongue instead of the middle. Picture it as a speech makeover, resulting in a tad wetter and slushier than the norm.
  • Dentalized Lisp: The tongue leans against the front teeth, giving us a déjà vu of the unclear speech from the interdental lisp.
  • Palatal Lisp: The middle of the tongue decides to get cozy or a bit too close to the palate, leading to a distorted rendition of the “s” and “z” sounds.

6 Causes behind Lisp

Causes behind Lisp

  • Developmental Factors: Many kids hop on the lisp train as they learn to speak. Fear not—with time and a dash of speaking practice, they often outgrow this speech sidekick. It’s like a natural chapter in the speech development saga.
  • Tongue Placement: A little game of tongue hide-and-seek—when it doesn’t land in the right spot, it might lead to a hint of slurred speech.
  • Anatomical Differences: The physical playbook comes into play—attributes like a tongue tie or structural nuances in the jaw and teeth can tag along with a lisp.
  • Neurological Issues: In rare instances, lisps might join forces with neurological or developmental conditions that throw a curveball into the mix, affecting muscle control.
  • Hearing Problems: Hearing hiccups, especially in the early years, can influence how little ones pick up the art of pronouncing specific sounds.
  • Habits: The thumb-sucking and pacifier love affair? They’re not just innocent habits—they leave their mark on how the mouth and tongue dance through the developmental journey.

Can Braces Cause a Lisp?

Ah, the braces saga—a temporary twist in the orthodontic tale that might throw a curveball: the lisp surprise.

Don’t be startled; it’s an ordinary sidekick to dental braces, a brief hiccup in the speech department.

Why the detour?

Blame it on the tongue—now navigating around the newcomers in your mouth, the wires and brackets. It’s like a dance where, for a moment, it might stumble against these newfound companions while trying to master certain sounds.

The result?

A temporary lisp, a speech quirk on the braces journey!

Are Speech Impediments After Getting Braces Permanent?

Here’s a ray of positivity: lisps are like guests—they rarely overstay their welcome!

As you cozy up to your braces, your tongue gets the hang of this new mouth squad, and before you know it, your speech swings back to its usual rhythm. It’s all part of the adjustment game.

But, if the lisp lingers a bit too long, it’s time to call in the speech therapist. They’ve got a bag of tricks, working wonders on improving tongue placement and bringing back that crystal-clear speech!

Can Braces Correct a Lisp?

Braces aren’t just about realigning crooked teeth—they wield another superpower:

Lisp correction!

Picture this: as braces work their magic in straightening your teeth, they also play director to your tongue’s performance during speech. It’s like handing your tongue a shiny new roadmap for crafting sounds.

And here’s the magic trick: once your teeth fall in line, courtesy of braces, many of our patients witness their lisp taking a bow and making a quiet exit. It’s like a double win—straight teeth and a speech upgrade!

Can Invisalign Correct a Lisp?

Woman holding Invisalign retainer

If your lisp plays hide-and-seek with your teeth’s positions, cue the spotlight on Invisalign or SPARK aligners. As these invisible heroes gradually guide your teeth to their rightful places, you might just catch your speech getting an upgrade!

But, fair warning—the treatment journey isn’t always a straight road. A temporary lisp might make a cameo when you kick off the clear aligner experience. Blame it on the bulk these devices add to your teeth—your tongue needs time to map out its moves around them.

Fret not, though—your tongue is a quick learner. In no time, it’ll master the art of collaboration with the aligners, turning that temporary lisp into a distant memory!

Say Goodbye to Your Lisp: How Time Smooths Out Speech!

Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary orthodontic consultation! 

Our office—located at 19465 Deerfield Ave. Suite 304 Lansdowne, VA 20176—proudly serves the Lansdowne, VA area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Sterling, or Leesburg and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office! 

We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!



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