How Does Malocclusion of Teeth Affect Your Speech?

Photo of Dr. PaiDr. Satish Pai shared with Healthy Lombard that dental conditions like crooked teeth and abnormal bite are known as malocclusion. Do you feel that you have malocclusion of teeth? Let us tell you that there is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about malocclusion. You are amongst the 53% population of the U.S.A. that is suffering from some kind of malocclusion. Yes! It is that common and perfectly curable with the help of an orthodontist.

Malocclusion & its Causes – A bite is abnormal when the upper teeth don’t rest on the lower teeth while you close your mouth. It is a severe health issue apart from being a health problem. If not treated on time, it can cause speech problems, tooth decay, tooth loss, and a decrease in self-confidence.

An abnormally shaped jaw is a major cause of malocclusion. It may encourage the growth of crowded teeth, crooked teeth, or teeth drifting out of place. Childhood habits like thumb-sucking, using a pacifier, and mouth breathing can also lead to malocclusion.


Connection Between Malocclusion & Speech Problems – Apart from psychological reasons, teeth, tongue, and lips also have a significant role in causing abnormality in speech. Malocclusion of teeth makes you lisp and speak abnormally. Crooked and crowded teeth create an obstruction of airflow, which articulates speech disability.

It becomes challenging to say sounds related to “s” and “z” correctly. In addition, the unsettling bite of upper teeth over lower teeth also obstructs the air, causing overbite speech problems.

We will explain the effect of different types of malocclusions on your speech in the upcoming sections.


Crossbite – In a normal bite condition, the upper teeth settle a bit forward on the lower teeth. Whereas in crossbite, the upper teeth fit inside lower teeth. The whole arch of upper teeth can fit in the lower teeth arch, or there can be only a few crossbite teeth. This abnormality of teeth leads to alveolar sounds as you pull your tongue back to speak.


Open Bite – As the name suggests, you are not able to close your bite entirely in this condition. This is because your upper front teeth and your lower front teeth are both protruded outward. Thus, they don’t touch each other to close the bite, even when you close your mouth. Open bite also produces alveolar sounds because of distortion of the air stream.


Overjet – Unlike normal dentition, an overjet creates more than 2 mm of space between the upper and lower incisors. Space remains the same even if you try to clench the teeth together. Buck teeth and class II malocclusion is also classified as overjet. This condition also contributes to lisping while talking and difficulty in eating.


Wrapping Up! – The speech problems created by an overbite, crossbite, overjet, open bite, and other types of malocclusion can hamper your social and professional life. Therefore, don’t think twice before visiting your trusted orthodontist if you doubt that you have an abnormal bite. There are various treatments available for malocclusion of teeth like Invisalign and lingual braces. Your orthodontist will prescribe the treatment according to the type of malocclusion.


Author Bio:

Creating perfect smiles is what Dr. Satish Pai is committed to. An orthodontist by profession, he believes that a perfect smile is a powerful part of a person’s personality. When he is not working hard on perfecting his patients’ smiles at Putnam Ortho, he is busy writing engaging articles about everything related to healthy and perfect smiles. His other passions include golf, yoga, and surfing. Spending time with his family always brings a smile to his face.

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