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Jaw Surgery for Correcting Speech Issues

Doctor with gloved hands showing x-ray to patient holding side of face in painProblems with the formation, shape, or alignment of the mouth and jaw can result in speech and articulation issues. Multiple areas of our mouth, including our tongue, lips, teeth, palate, and the alveolar ridge behind our teeth all influence how we form sounds and properly speak. Our tongue touches certain areas of our mouth to speak as we move our jaw. If there is excessive tissue or alignment problems around the jaw, the balance of your mouth will change, directly affecting your speech. If jaw alignment has affected your speech, jaw surgery can greatly improve your speech and articulation.

Speech Issues

Speech issues are ultimately caused by an imbalance in your mouth, whether this be from alignment or structural problems. When it comes to your jaw and your palate, our goal is to diagnose imbalances and correct them.

Some of these common speech problems include:
•  Articulation: This common issue presents as a difficulty or inability to make certain sounds, such as sounds that accompany the letters S, F, V, and Z. Moving the jaw allows us to align the jaw and teeth properly, improving how these sounds are pronounced.
•  Nasally Speech: When speaking, the palate closes at the back of the throat to prevent air from moving through the nose. When the palate cannot fully close, air will instead escape through the nose, causing patients to have a nasally voice.
•  Cleft Lip or Palate: Cleft lip and cleft palate are common birth defects. These are caused by the area around the palate or lip not properly closing during development. More severe cases will require correction, as a baby with cleft lip or cleft palate cannot suck properly. For others with less apparent clefts, treatment may not be handled until later in life when speech problems become more apparent.
•  Malocclusion: Malocclusion, also known as a bad bite or misaligned teeth, can be corrected with orthodontic devices in many cases. For treatment, patients may be given braces, retainers, spacers, or expanders to correct the bite. In more severe cases, a maloccluded bite may be significant enough that surgery is needed to properly set the jaw before orthodontic work can begin.

Because speech and alignment issues can have a number of causes, every orthognathic surgical patient receives a customized treatment plan for improving their jaw. The benefits of this procedure include:
•  Speech and Articulation: Jaw surgery can properly set and orient the jaw, improving speech and articulation.
•  Enhanced Aesthetic: If the jaw is protruding, recessed, too large, or too small, orthognathic surgery can balance and improve your overall facial appearance.
•  Decreased Impediment: Jaw issues can impact your daily life—with or without causing pain. Patients with misalignment in the jaw may be unable to fully open or close their jaw, experience discomfort at the hinge joints, or even suffer from migraines and facial pain.

If you or a loved one are experiencing jaw problems or difficulty speaking, jaw surgery can make all the difference. Contact Dallas Oral Surgery Associates at 214-363-9946 to schedule a consultation.

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