Wearing your aligners can affect the way that you talk. / Curing an Invisalign® lisp.
Wearing any type of dental appliance has the potential to affect the way that you speak. This affect typically has to do with the added thickness of the appliance in the region of your hard palate, right behind your upper front teeth.
Because Invisalign® aligners are made out of very thin plastic, in most cases any speech effect you notice will be minor. For some, however, it may be difficult to speak normally and this can be one of the tip-off's that they're wearing invisible braces.
How likely is it that you'll have a problem?
Probably everyone notices at least some speech difference or awkwardness when they put in their first set of aligners for the very first time.
It's not unusual to notice a slight lisp or slur. These affects are usually most obvious when trying to pronounce words that contain "s" and "th" sounds.
About half of all Invisalign® patients notice some type of change, over the short term.
Of course, the real question is how long will your speech problems last? As an answer, one study [Nedwed (2005)] reported that 46% of Invisalign® patients had no lasting difficulty with speaking. So, there's about a 50:50 chance that you really won't have any problem.
Dealing with an Invisalign® lisp.
If you do detect a change in your speech patterns, the question then becomes how quickly can you adapt to and overcome this problem before anyone else notices?
For most people, their adaptation and return to normal speech occurs quite rapidly. Usually the only remedy that is required is for the person to put a little extra effort into enunciating their words.
If you have a problem, it should resolve quite quickly.
The Nedwed study mentioned above reported that in those cases where a speech problem was noticed, the person typically adapted and their speech difficulties resolved to normal within a short period of time, usually no longer than just a few days. It's even possible that your adaptation could take as little as just a few hours.
The remedy for an Invisalign® lisp is simply practice, practice, practice.
For some, the learning curve needed to overcome their lisp or slur may involve some time and effort. The ultimate solution, however, is typically just more practice. Rehearse by reading aloud to yourself or have extended conversations with a sympathetic friend. Eventually, the way you talk should return to normal.
You may always feel that your lisp is still there.
Some patients find that they never totally overcome their Invisalign®-induced slur. And, in fact, the Nedwed study found that only 93% of its participants ultimately had no inhibitions about speaking when wearing their aligners.
However, don't overlook the fact that your insecurity may simply be that you're overly self-conscience. Our perception of things is not always accurate. So, ask a friend that you trust about the way that you talk when your aligners are in place, and believe them if they say everything sounds fine.
Switching to a new set of aligners should not be a problem.
Since each Invisalign® aligner is so similar in shape and thickness to the one before it, the potential for experiencing speech problems when advancing from one to the next should be essentially nonexistent.