Do braces impede speech?
The human mouth is not primarily designed to accommodate a dental brace – the mouth is better suited to natural functions such as breathing, eating, speaking and sharing affection. So, any brace in the mouth will, to a greater or lesser extent, restrict feeling, taste, speaking and eating. The decisive factor of course is to what extent!
Nearly all removable braces have a plastic structure that is positioned between the teeth and the tongue. The plastic part often covers a large part of the gum. This is the reason why removable braces are always associated with severe speech impediments. In the long run, most patients find this speech impediment so annoying that they just do not wear the brace. But in order to have any effect, a brace needs to be worn for at least 16 hours a day – which is actually impossible to achieve. This is why a lot of the treatment with a removable brace simply fails. With this in mind, it would be sensible from the outset not to plan any treatment using these appliances. Unfortunately, German orthodontists earn significantly more per hour by using these inefficient removable braces so they feature heavily in any treatment involving children and adolescents. This is a glaring example of inappropriate medical care and is a waste of the limited resources of our health system.
Fixed braces, on the other hand, do not impede the speech at all because they are fixed mainly to the outside of the teeth and are much smaller than removable braces. Only some of the fixed braces that are attached to the inside of the teeth actually cause a slight speech impediment but this is usually temporary. Such devices include the Upper Palatal Expander, the Gum Brace and brackets (Lingual techniques) that are also fixed to the inside.