There’s a bit of a paradox in the world of dentures. You see, dentures have many advantages – they can help you chew, keep you healthy, and improve your ability to speak. It’s quite common, however, for new denture wearers to struggle with certain sounds and words.
We’ve got good news: Speaking (and chewing) generally become much easier for new denture wearers after about 15-30 days. You just need time to adjust to your new teeth – once you do, you’ll be able to speak normally (and often better than you could before you got your dentures). Best of all, there are a number of tips and tricks we can give you to speed up the process.
That’s the goal of this article: To help you speak more confidently with dentures. We’re going to explore why dentures make it more difficult (but eventually, easier) to speak, how to practise speaking with dentures, and more. Let’s get started.
Why is it more difficult to speak with dentures?
Humans are nothing if not adaptable. After losing teeth, you probably noticed that your speech patterns changed and that some words or sounds became more difficult – you may have developed a lisp or other changes to your speech. Over time, it became easier to speak with missing teeth – you adapted to the changes to your mouth.
The same idea can be applied to dentures. The way your lips and tongue move, the feel and position of your new teeth – all of this will affect your speech. Common speech problems associated with dentures include:
- Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds (especially “s”, “f”, “th”, and “v” sounds)
- Clicking noises when speaking
- Slurred speech
We’re going to help you address all of these problems. Let’s talk about how to improve your speech while wearing dentures.
Practise speaking with your dentures
Practice makes perfect – and by practising regularly (30 to 60 minutes a day), you can speed up the process of getting adjusted to your dentures. Here are a few ways you can improve your speech:
- Practise in front of a mirror. By watching yourself speak, you’ll get a better idea of where your dentures are positioned in your mouth, how your tongue and lips move in relation to your dentures, and any errors you may be making (like allowing your teeth to come together with too much force). You might be a bit uncomfortable doing this at first, but don’t worry – it’s all in service of better speech (plus, no one is watching but you!)
- Practise by reading a book or counting out loud. Counting from 60 to 90 is a great way of practising tough “s” sounds. Reading a book is a great way of practising a wide variety of sounds – all while keeping yourself entertained.
- Start slowly. Mindfulness is key when you’re learning to speak with dentures. Notice which words and sounds are problematic. Sound them out carefully, paying attention to how your lips and tongue move.
- Bite and swallow before speaking. Doing this will help keep your dentures in place. Some patients may also benefit from the use of dental adhesives.
- Record yourself. A warning if you’ve never heard your recorded voice before: It’s probably going to sound weird. That’s not necessarily because you’re wearing dentures – almost everyone is a bit shocked by their recorded voice at first. Once you get accustomed to it, however, you’ll be able to understand your speech patterns and have a better idea of what you need to work on.
- Once you feel confident, practise with friends and family. Nerves can be a big part of the reason that people struggle speaking when they first get dentures. There’s a tendency to think that other people can hear changes in a patient’s speech when they’re adjusting to their new teeth. By practising with the people who are closest to you – people who you know won’t judge you – you can get over your nerves and get positive and constructive feedback from the people you love.
Clicking and speaking with dentures
When you first start getting adjusted to your new dentures, you may find there are clicking noises when you speak. Often, this is because you’re bringing your teeth together when you talk. Our natural teeth have nerves, so it’s incredibly easy to notice when they clack together, and we learn very quickly not to bring our teeth together when we speak.
There are no such nerves in dentures, so you’ll have to practise not bringing your teeth together. Your dentures may also click if they’re moving out of place – the bite and swallow techniques we described above, as well as a denture adhesive, can help with this. And, as always, practice makes perfect.
Speaking loudly with dentures
Many patients find that the volume of their voice changes when they start wearing dentures – more specifically, patients hear their voices as much louder than before the change.
Fortunately, this is largely a consequence of how dentures change the shape, density, and other qualities of your mouth. Without going into too much depth, the change makes you sound louder to yourself – but you’ll probably sound like you’re speaking at a normal volume to the people around you. Record yourself if you’re not sure, and play back the recording – in most cases, you’ll find you don’t sound particularly loud.
Talk to your denturist about speech problems
While rare, some speech problems may occur as a result of ill-fitting or damaged dentures. Your denturist may also have specific speech tips if you’ve developed a problem that this article doesn’t address.
Our denture clinic in Winnipeg can help you with all of the above. We craft custom-fitted dentures that sit perfectly in your mouth. We also offer denture repairs and relining – and we can give you helpful tips on practising speaking with dentures. We’re Borbely Swiss – give us a call today!
We hope this article helps you become more confident when speaking with dentures!