When teeth emerge in a less-than-ideal way, this can cause speech problems. Our BC and Alberta orthodontists address common speech problems in children and how early orthodontic treatment can help.
Speech Problems in Children
Our children spend years to learning how to process, form and express words. Their emerging teeth and developing jaw can either aid this process, or hinder it. Our orthodontists will tell you they've treated many kids with developing or existing speech problems due at least in part to orthodontics, and that these issues can go hand in hand if teeth erupt in a less-than-ideal fashion.
The spacing and positioning of a child's teeth can cause speech issues such as:
- Mispronouncing consonant sounds such as 's' or 'z'
- Slurring or whistling
The tongue, lips, vocal cords, airway and lungs, hard and soft palate, alveolar ridge and teeth and jaws all play an important role in how we produce sound. While speech issues and disorders can have many underlying causes, the position of your child's teeth or their jaw structure is an influencing factor, we may be able to help correct it with orthodontic treatment.
How Can Orthodontics Help?
When it comes to early intervention, we can correct placement of the teeth to encourage healthier development and better alignment. Plus, this can help them develop proper speaking skills.
While each case is unique, we believe in taking a 2-phase orthodontic treatment approach. Early intervention may include palatal expansion, braces or Invisalign to correct jaw position and/or alignment of the teeth.
If your child has a speech issue, we recommend booking an initial orthodontic assessment by the time they reach 7 years old. While orthodontic treatment may not be sufficient to eliminate speech problems entirely on its own, it can make a significant impact as we can intervene while a child's teeth and jaws are still developing.