Patients frequently ask if using Invisalign will cause them to lisp. Our Halifax dentists explain how and why your clear aligners may affect the way you speak at the start of treatment in this post.
Even though using any orthodontic appliance has the potential to impair your ability to communicate effectively at first, Invisalign is unlikely to cause a lisp or other speech impairment.
When you first start wearing your Invisalign aligners, you may notice a tiny lisp, but it will likely only be noticeable to you, is usually transitory, and can be rectified if it continues.
Why do some patients experience a lisp?
Lisps are produced by incorrect tongue positioning within the mouth when speaking, which disrupts airflow and causes some words to sound different when uttered. A lisp is a speech disorder in which the –s and –z consonants are mispronounced as "th" or "l," respectively.
Because the aligners change the space within the mouth, some Invisalign patients acquire lisps when they first start wearing their aligners. They also cause the tongue to travel differently around the teeth, affecting pronunciation. The changes and consequences are usually minor, although some people may require more time to adjust.
Invisalign lisps can also be caused by ill-fitting trays. Each tray is a transparent plastic mould that should fit securely over the teeth. However, because the purpose is to modify the tooth placement, the moulds are constructed to meet the desired tooth positioning for that phase of treatment.
Most Invisalign patients do not develop lisps with each new set of aligners because the shape and thickness of each set are similar. However, if the tray is not properly formed or positioned, it may cause a lisp. If you believe this is the case, you should contact your Halifax dentist to ensure that your Invisalign Clear Aligners are the proper size.
How long will a lisp last?
Each patient is different, but lisps usually go away within a few weeks of starting treatment. Some people even adjust in a matter of hours or days! If a lisp develops, it should gradually fade as the tongue adjusts to the aligners.
Adjusting to your new Invisalign Clear Aligners
Continuing to talk can help prevent or correct a lisp caused by Invisalign. When the tongue adapts to the orthodontia, a lisp tends to disappear. The more a person speaks, the faster the tongue will learn how to navigate around the aligners to make sounds.
If you're concerned about your speech during a public speaking event or a meeting, simply take out your aligners. Invisalign aligners can be removed temporarily throughout treatment. The aligners must be removed when eating and can be removed at other times as needed. (Just be sure you wear them for at least 20-22 hours every day for them to work their magic).
To overcome a lisp and to feel more at ease with your aligners, try reading aloud to yourself or conversing with family and friends whom you trust.
It is normal to experience a minor lisp during the adjustment phase as the mouth and tongue re-learn how to form the correct shapes for each syllable while wearing the aligners. If the lisp appears after beginning Invisalign treatment and does not disappear within a few weeks, contact the prescribing dentist or orthodontist. There could be a problem with the fit or positioning of the mould.