Can Braces Correct or Cause a Lisp?

There are multiple types of bite issues that may be getting in your way of clear speech. It’s often a cause for debate—which came first, the speech impairment or the braces? The answer isn’t cut and dry. The alignment of your teeth can affect how you speak and other speech problems that may also occur. However, braces or any other form of orthodontic treatment may change how you speak. Some braces patients notice during their first few weeks of treatment that their speech has changed. That’s because braces can cause speech impairments, albeit temporarily. 

How Braces Affect Speech Temporarily

For example, the extra hardware in a patient’s mouth can crowd the tongue and cause slurring or mumbled speech. The vibration of air across braces hardware can also lead to whistling or a lisp. Patients who undergo Invisalign treatment may also notice some changes in their speech patterns, such as slurring or mumbled speech. Patients should know these impairments will not be permanent once the braces are off. 

Practice makes perfect, so if you are feeling self-conscious about how your speech may be affected with orthodontic treatment, try practicing reading out loud in front of a mirror so you can watch how your mouth moves.

Orthodontic Treatment Can Help Fix Speech Impediments

In some cases, orthodontic treatment can actually fix some speech impairments. If you’ve struggled with a lisp or if certain sounds start with a whistle, this may mean you have an overbite or have gaps in your teeth. When upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth too much it can keep your tongue from finding the correct placement in your mouth. Braces help to correct overbites and can close the gaps in between teeth. 

Braces are an excellent fix for tooth spacing, which can crowd the tongue and lead to slurring and stuttering. Orthodontic treatment can place your teeth where they need to be to fix a stutter or consistent slurring. While there may be other causes for stuttering, an experienced orthodontist can tell you if braces will be a solution to fix your stutter.

Overall, braces can help boost confidence. A straighter, stronger smile can also lead to better speech ability. We’re at our most confident when we feel like we are able to articulately communicate. Braces can help to correct the speech impairments that may be causing you shyness or anxiety. Connect with your team at Milnor Orthodontics today to see which orthodontic treatment plan will best suit the needs of your teeth and your speech.

At Milnor Orthodontics, our experts are here to help you achieve a priceless smile. Call our office at (970) 230-3187 or visit to learn more. We're located at 1103 S. Shields St. in Fort Collins, Colorado.