Will lingual braces affect your speech?

Anyone who has ever worn a retainer or gumshield will be all too aware of the impact they can have on your speech. So it’s understandable that if you’re considering lingual braces you may have concerns about how they’ll affect the way you speak.

The not so good news: lingual braces can give you a slight lisp. The better news: you’ll quickly adapt and for the vast majority of patients it’s a temporary problem that lasts a few days (phew!).

Why can lingual braces cause a lisp?

Lingual braces, as you probably know, are fitted behind the teeth, creating less space in your mouth. This can make it difficult for you to pronounce certain words correctly, especially anything that contains the letter S.

Thankfully after a few days your tongue will adapt to its new companion and your speech will start to return to normal. The best thing you can do to speed up this process is practice. So find a friend who’s happy to listen and get chatting!

The Rainbow Passage

You can also practice reading the rainbow passage a few times each day to speed up your progress – it includes most of the sounds and combinations found in the English language.

“When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act as a prism and form a rainbow. The rainbow is a division of white light into many beautiful colors. These take the shape of a long round arch, with its path high above, and its two ends apparently beyond the horizon. There is, according to legend, a boiling pot of gold at one end. People look, but no one ever finds it. When a man looks for something beyond his reach, his friends say he is looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

Here is a video of a (notably lisp free) lingual brace patient reciting the rainbow passage:

Hopefully we’ve reassured you that lingual braces won’t interfere with your speech for very long, if it all. Any orthodontic treatment can cause speech problems and clear aligners carry a similar ‘lisp risk’ to lingual braces.

If you’re very apprehensive you may be better suited to traditional fixed braces, which are very unlikely to cause you any speech problems. The best thing that you can do is speak to your orthodontist about any concerns you may have about your speech during your initial consultation.