Teeth are part of the first step in digestion, used to tear and break down foods as it goes into the throat, as well as an important part of how we create sounds when we speak. But problems with dental health are bad enough that millions lose teeth and need to replace them in some way to maintain normal function. According to data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adults between ages 20-64 have on average just under 80% of their permanent teeth, and just over 2% have no teeth at all.
Dentures are an option for people missing multiple or all teeth, but there is a period of adjustment involved in moving from natural teeth to these oral appliances. One such adjustment is speaking, and the path to resuming speech that feels normal can be frustrating. To better understand the challenges and how to overcome them, let’s explore the types of dentures out there, the common problems people have speaking with dentures, and how you can overcome them.
If you have multiple teeth missing and need them replaced, here are the denture types to choose from:
When you first get fitted with dentures, the common sensation people generally deal with is the “full mouth” sensation that comes from having them in where your teeth used to be because you’ve become accustomed to them being gone. This also changes the shape of your lower face if you have no teeth, resulting in your lips being pushed forward.
When it comes to speech, it changes and increases the vibrations in the jawbone and skull, which you will notice more than anyone listening to you speak. Clicking is also a problem with speaking with dentures, because the act of moving your jaw in the motions necessary to form words may move or raise your lower denture. Initially the muscles you’re using to speak may also kick out your lower set of dentures.
Many of these problems will improve as you get accustomed to wearing these dental appliances, but here are some tips to improve speech as you’re making the adjustment:
Before you start talking, you want to be sure your dentures are fixed in place, so biting down and swallowing any saliva can help secure them when you’re ready to speak.
This can be done in private so you can gauge how well you’re doing, but reading out loud with the dentures gets you familiar with sounding out the common words and increases your comfort in speaking with them.
The numbers between 60-90 have some difficult to sound out words that will help provide additional challenges in becoming more comfortable speaking. This will increase your comfort with using dentures.
Dentures can be tricky to use at first, but with the right amount of work and practice, you’ll be able to get it to the point where it feels natural. If you have any concerns or questions regarding caring for dentures, or are struggling with other dental problems, make an appointment with Dr. Kim and Sierra Oaks Dental today.