The dreaded bite planes and orthodontic hardware that come with getting braces can tend to mess up your speech can make you feel self-conscious about how you speak. There are many things that affect how quickly you will be able to get back to normal.
I have a friend who is in her twenties. She just got braces, and I noticed that she was talking a little funny at first so I figured I’d do some research on some things that may make her (and your) journey a bit easier, and prepare you for what you can expect.
So how long does it take to talk normally with braces? Most people can talk normally with braces after about two weeks. The two major things that affect normal speaking is 1: your mouth will be sore, and 2: if you have any devices placed above your tongue, it will take longer.
I’ve always wanted braces like my friend Kristine, but I didn’t need them. No matter how much I tried to convince everyone that my teeth were crooked, my teeth were legitimately pretty straight.
I remember my brother and sister got braces and I was so jealous.
I used to sneak into the fridge where they kept their retainers and I’d try to wear them. I know it sounds crazy, but I was a kid.
In the article below, I talk mostly about braces and the impact they can have on your speech, but retainers can have the same type of impact on your speaking (especially if they have an integrated bite plane). I’ll get more into that in just a moment.
First let’s talk about what I found out in my investigation
Through my research, I found that some people claim that they were able to speak clearly and normally within one week, but it really depends on the type of hardware you have put in your mouth.
Unfortunately, when we think of braces, we tend to think of the hardware that goes on the outside of the teeth; the proverbial “train tracks.”
We don’t consider the more internal orthodontic appliances that are attached on the inside of the mouth.
- Lingual Braces,
- Bite Planes,
- Rapid Palatal Expanders
These tend to be bulky, clunky devices that are used for more advanced things.
For example, if the width of the upper mouth (upper jaw) needs to be spread wider or if you suffer from an under-bite, the orthodontist may want to use things like the rapid palatal expander or the bite plane to make those things happen. In both of these cases, you may end up with substantially more appliances in your mouth, which will have a direct impact on how soon you will be able to speak normally.
The best way to know this is to ask a ton of questions about the treatment plan while you are consulting with your orthodontist.
In my husbands case, he needed both his jaw to be wider and to have his under bite corrected. So, the first part of his treatment required him to have a rapid palatal expander and once that had done its job, the orthodontist added the bite plane, which is a triangular shaped (hard plastic) device that trains your bottom job to bite more forward when you bite down.
You can’t really put your teeth together any other way than to jut your jaw forward into proper alignment.
Do braces make you talk funny?
So if you are getting braces or just got braces, will it make you talk funny? Again it depends on what type of appliances you have put in.
But let’s just consider that you are getting the standard braces (train tracks across your teeth), you know, the wires, brackets and rubber bands across your teeth.
For one, within the first 24 hours, your teeth are going to hurt. This alone can cause you to not feel comfortable speaking. You may find your mouth salivating more and you have to relearn to keep your lips closed over the top of the braces.
My husband remembers his teeth hurting every time they changed the wire. So, it’s just a part of the journey, and it is a pain that anyone can handle.
With that said, within a couple of days, generally speaking, you will be back to normal and your temporary speech impediment will subside.
However, if you get more extensive hardware, you may be dealing with internal appliances that interfere with where your tongue touches your mouth. This can cause problems when it comes to saying words that involve: D’s, T’s and S’s. Especially “S” can be tough to pronounce.
But could the pain be so bad that you might lose your ability to speak altogether?
Can you talk after getting braces?
Of course, the answer here is a clear YES. While you might not feel much like speaking after the pain creeps up on you, I can’t imagine a situation in which you couldn’t speak at all.
But as we see in many of the examples above, depending on the extent of your orthodontic treatment, it may take a while for you to get your arms around proper pronunciation, and in some case, it may be noticeable the entire time you are under treatment.
What to do about a lingering lisp with braces
How to speak clearly with braces
What can you do to lessen the weird sounds that you make when you have to deal with a bite plane? The short answer is to work on softening the touch of your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
Braces and Articulation S, D, T, sounds
All of the sounds above require you to touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. If you have a bite plane or jaw expansion device, it can be tough to make these consonants sound right.
The best thing to do is practice softening how your tongue strikes the device (instead of the roof of your mouth since it is obstructed). Try different tongue pressures and flattening vs. pointing your tongue more sharply.
Although you might not be able to rid yourself entirely of the inevitable “Sh” sound for “S” or the muted-flick like
What are lingual braces?
Lingual braces are typically permanent or semi-permanent wires that are put on the inside of the teeth. They can cause some speech changes, but not nearly as significant as the more intrusive apparatuses mentioned earlier in the article.
My husband has had one of these for nearly forty years, and has never had any real issue with speaking as a result of it. The only thing he has told me is that it can irritate the tongue on occasion.
Usually the irritation starts from something else (like burning your tongue), and lingual braces can simply add to the irritation.
Do you need speech exercises to deal with lingual braces?
Most likely not,
Take your time and exercise patience with yourself. I know it can be embarrassing, but most people should have an understanding for this type of thing.
Don’t hesitate openly sharing with someone a quick, “I’m having trouble getting used to my braces” message. Acknowledging what is there may help put your mind at ease.
How long does it take to get used to braces?
Usually within 3-5 days, your mind will help you forget that you have braces. Within two weeks most people are back to normal except some of your food selections may have to change of having the added hardware in your mouth. You may not be able to bite into that apple the way you once did.
Overall, it doesn’t take long to get used the initial phase, but your mouth will hurt each time the doctor makes an adjustment.
Will having braces affect my singing?
It can have an impact, but generally speaking, it depends on the register that you are singing in. If you are singing in your upper register (higher notes for your voice range), the sound is projected into the pharynx through the top of your head. So, the resonance most likely is directed away from the hardware in your mouth.
With that said lower tones may resonate differently, and if you have rubber bands that keep your mouth closed can restrict your jaws ability to open up, which can also have an impact.
Talk to your orthodontist and find out what he or she thinks.
Does Invisalign type braces (clear plastic retainers) cause you to talk funny?
Yes, these types of devices can cause your speaking to change as well. My husband had
While they aren’t as significant as the bigger hardware mentioned above, they can interfere with where your tongue and roof of your mouth meet. As a
Be prepared for it to take some time to get used to them. Overall, they don’t cause major issues.