Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

What Did You Say? Speech Impediment Information

We’ve all heard young children speak “baby talk.” Sometimes it can sound endearing—or it may be a speech defect.

In early infancy, babies begin to make vowel sounds, usually mastered by age three. Consonant sounds are more difficult and come a little later on. By the eighth birthday, most children can pronounce all consonants and are 100% intelligible. But some children have more difficulty with speech and may need help learning.

Lisping—The most common speech defect is lisping, which is relatively easy to correct. Children who lisp cannot produce “s,” “z,” “sh,” “ch,” and “j” sounds.

A lisp is heard when children cut off an “s” with the tongue instead of the front teeth. Prolonged thumb sucking or finger sucking can create an open bite and result in a lisp. Other causes are the loss of a primary tooth, impaired hearing, undeveloped ability to discriminate sounds, imitation of a relative or friend who lisps, or neurological disturbances.

Cleft palate—A cleft palate can dramatically affect a child’s speech, and often requires oral surgery. Sometimes an orthodontist provides a plastic plate to cover the opening in the roof of the mouth—this allows the child to develop normal speech patterns until surgery can correct the palate.

Tongue thrusting—Tongue thrusting is another problem that can impair speech. This is essentially “reverse swallowing,” and can cause improper tooth alignment. It may result from prolonged thumb sucking, which leaves a gap between the teeth and fosters the habit.

As a dentist, we may be the first to notice a speech problem, and we often work with a team including a speech pathologist, orthodontist and oral surgeon, to correct the such problems. We’ll let you know if we think anything is amiss with your child’s developing speech patterns.

You Might Also Enjoy...

I Have Dental Anxiety — What Can You Do to Help Me?

Did you know that fear and anxiety often keep people from seeing the dentist? If this sounds familiar, we’ve got good news — you don’t have to let these powerful feelings stand in the way of your dental care. Keep reading to learn more.

4 Warning Signs You May Need a Root Canal

Root canals are a common dental procedure. But what are they exactly, and how do you know you need one? Keep reading to spot the signs of a dental problem and how this treatment can help.

What to Do About Missing Teeth

A lost tooth does more than affect your smile, it can also jeopardize your oral health, weaken your jawbone, and alter your bite. Fortunately, you can avoid these serious complications and restore your smile at the same time with these solutions.

The Health Benefits of Straighter Teeth

Think the only reason to get straighter teeth is to make your smile picture perfect? While that’s certainly a major bonus, the benefits don’t stop there. Keep reading to see how your tooth alignment can impact your overall health.

5 Reasons to Consider Professional Teeth Whitening

Thinking of whitening your teeth? You better think twice before grabbing an over-the-counter bleaching product. They may seem like a cheap and convenient solution, but nothing beats the results you get with professional teeth whitening.