Common challenges in speech among new denture wearers.
Upon first receiving your dentures, you may discover that your speech sounds different. Some common areas of concern are:
- Slurred speech
- Clicking sounds
- Whistling sounds
- Difficulty with pronunciation
- Speaking with a lisp
These are just a few commonly reported problems. I had particular difficulty with the “k” sound with words such as “keep” and “kick”.
What causes difficulty with speech?
As with most other challenges encountered amongst new denture wearers, speech difficulty can be attributed to having a new appliance in your mouth. Speech should improve with practice, as well as giving your body time to adjust to the dentures.
One of the reasons your speech may be off is the increased amount of saliva being produced. When we put something in our mouth, saliva production is increased to prepare the body for digestion. The same is true for dentures. Remember, your body does not know that these are dentures in your mouth and so it goes through the same process it would go through if you were to put food in your mouth. In the beginning, excessive saliva is very common and, as a result, you may have issues with slurring some of your words. This will subside as the body gets used to the new dentures.
Another cause for common speech challenges is that the dentures alter the anatomy of the oral cavity, therefor distorting the way you hear your own voice. When we talk, the sound of our voice reaches our ears through vibrations in the jaw and the skull. With the new appliance in there, it changes the vibrations, thereby, causing a bit of distortion in the way we interpret that sound. Again, time and practice should correct this.
In the early stages, your mouth is still experiencing rapid changes as a result of having teeth removed. This could cause the dentures to not fit properly between relines and adjustments. When there is an issue with the fit of your denture, you may experience clicking or whistling sounds. Make sure to bring this up to your dentist so the proper adjustments can be made.
Remember, speaking will be much easier when you are wearing dentures that fit properly. Dentures that are processed using Ivoclar Vivadent’s Ivobase injection system undergo significantly less shrinkage during the processing stage than average dentures. Average dentures have about a 6-7% shrinkage, while dentures processed with Ivobase experience a 1% shrinkage rate. In other words, they will have a much more accurate fit than dentures processed using traditional techniques. A better fitting denture will make speaking feel more natural.
What can you do to speed up the process of speaking naturally?
The best way to combat these speech problems is through daily practice and repetition. The more you talk, the better you become at it. Here are some tips that really helped me in the beginning:
- As you surf the web or read the daily paper or your favorite magazine, get some practice in by reading out loud.
- Focus on areas of difficulty and repeat those words over and over.
- Slow down. Our natural inclination is to speak quickly and blend our words together. Don’t do that just yet. Focus on pronouncing each individual word as thoroughly as possible. Pacing yourself is the key.
- If you mess up, pause for a moment, take a breath, and try again. This can help signal your brain that something went wrong and you will be more mindful of this area of weakness. Whenever I messed up in pronouncing my “K” sound, I would stop, breathe, and repeat the word again. That way, the next time I began to pronounce a similar word, I would pronounce it with more intention, having known that this particular sound was challenging for me.
Remember, as with all other skills, the art of speaking in your most natural voice is acquired through time, practice through repetition, and being mindful and intentional in the way that you speak.
Share your tips!
What were some of your areas of difficulty and what helped you overcome them? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!