Most people considering clear aligners, like Invisalign, are often concerned about their impact on speech. Wearing invisible braces would be counterproductive if their presence is made evident by how you speak.
Don’t panic if you notice slight slurring or lisping after wearing clear aligners for the first time. Here’s our answer to a common question: Does Invisalign give you a lisp?
Will Wearing Invisalign Affect My Speech?
Orthodontic appliances of any kind – braces or clear aligners can potentially affect your speech since they come in contact with the tongue and the roof of your mouth. And Invisalign is no exception.
Invisalign is the latest revolutionary clear aligner used in orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth without metal braces. Made from polymer nanomaterials and 3D imaging, Invisalign is custom-made. These clear and indiscernible braces align your teeth by gently pulling them into the proper position with time.
And as a bonus, they align your teeth faster than conventional braces. Invisalign offers a discreet and effective solution for anyone contemplating orthodontic treatment.
Studies show that 51% of Invisalign users had normal speech following the delivery of the aligner. Within 2 months, the number of people grew to 59%. Research also found that the changes in the speech were mild and gradually improved over time.
Invisalign can cause an unwanted lisp. How long it lasts depends on a few factors.
Adjusting to Invisalign
The lisp resulting from Invisalign is perfectly normal and caused due to changes occurring in your mouth. The Invisalign tray changes the way the tongue usually moves while speaking. The lisp will be prominent when you make certain sounds like ‘s’, ‘z’, or ‘sh’. Another reason for slurring could be the changing shape of your jaw.
Although Invisalign is designed to fit in snugly, your mouth still needs to get used to it. So, there will be a brief period of adjustment. Your lisp should go away as you get accustomed to speaking with the tray.
Will My Lisp From Invisalign Go Away?
Indeed, it just needs some getting used to. When you notice a lisp post wearing the aligner, keep it on for the prescribed time. Please resist the urge to remove it, as this prolongs the lisp.
When you leave the Invisalign trays on, you give your mouth and tongue a chance to get used to it. Once your mouth adapts, speaking with the Invisalign tray will seem normal.
At times you may notice a lisp even when your tray is off. It is natural because your mouth is figuring out a way and adapting to speaking with the tray.
All said and done; the lisp will likely settle on its own and not last more than a month.
However, if the lisp persists beyond 6 weeks, it can indicate that your tray may not be fitted correctly. It is undesirable and can lead to complications in your treatment. You should seek immediate attention.
What is a Lisp?
A lisp is a speech impediment associated with sounding out specific letters like ‘s’ and ‘z’. Most lisps result from structural anomalies in your mouth, leading to poor tongue placement. There are different kinds of lisps like:
Frontal: When the tongue pushes through your teeth.
Lateral: When the airflow between the tongue and mouth is uneven.
Dental: When the tongue presses against your front teeth.
Palatal: When your tongue touches the roof of your mouth while making certain sounds
Tips to Reduce the Lisp From Invisalign
The good news is that resolving some of the irregularities through exercises could mean fixing your lisp. The best way to manage your lisp is to speak often.
- Practice the pronunciation of intricate sounds. The more you speak, the faster your tongue and mouth adapt. So, talk to your family, friends, and pets, or talk to yourself!
- Speak at a slower rate. Take the time to pronounce the words at a relaxed pace.
- Record your voice as you speak. Hearing it later will help you pinpoint the sounds you find tricky.
- Read aloud and repeat words or phrases that you find problematic.
You could also try some specific exercises to mitigate your condition:
- Awareness: It is possible to control or prevent the habits that cause lisping by being mindful of your tongue movements. Practice specific articulations by keeping your tongue down. Focus on the most challenging letters.
- Tongue Exercises: Tongue stretching exercises will help the muscles of your mouth. Move your tongue up and down, then side to side. It will help release the tension from the jaws too.
- Don’t focus on sounds alone.
- Focus on an entire sentence or phrase while you speak.
- Over enunciate as you talk.
- Consider different ways to improve your skills.
- Massage: Gently rub along your jawline and the muscles around your cheeks. It will relieve some of the pain. You can even apply cold compresses to your jaws.
- Use a straw: Drinking water or liquids using a straw will not only soothe and hydrate you but will also help keep your tongue away from the palate and front teeth, offering relief from pain.
With consistent practice, your lisp should taper off. The lisp exercises are meant to quicken your recovery from a lisp. It is not guaranteed that they will solve the problem.
Will Invisalign Affect My Speech Permanently?
If you’re anxious about your lisp lasting forever, you should restate those fears. Having a lisp can be frustrating, but it is a part of the process.
Every case is unique. Some get a lisp; others don’t. An aligner-related lisp should likely resolve within a few weeks.
Consider speech impediments arising from wearing Invisalign as a temporary inconvenience. It is a minor hiccup in the process leading to straighter, aligned teeth. Having said that, do not ignore an unrelenting lisp.
Suppose you’ve ruled out the possibility of improperly fitted aligners and are following the exercises to a tee and still lisping. In that case, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist and find out whether or not you require speech therapy or if the fit of your aligner needs modification. Better safe than sorry.
Interested in learning more about Invisalign and if it is right for you? Visit Bill Redmond Orthodontics for customized, clear aligners and say hello to beautiful, straighter teeth.
Does Invisalign Give You a Lisp?
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!