Janet was excited to finally have beautiful looking teeth again! After enduring her surgery, pain killers, and time for her swollen face to reduce, she persevered to be able to swallow and eat only soft food. However, she was shocked to find that her speech was slurred. She felt devastated when she couldn’t communicate clearly. She felt alone and didn’t know what to do about it. If this sounds familiar to you; then I want you to know there are some pro-active remedies to help you.
The first one is to fix your mindset on realizing that you have a foreign object, namely your dentures, now taking up some space in your mouth. Your speech organs: tongue, palate (roof of your mouth), lips, and jaw are suddenly interacting with less or different space from what they’ve been used to all your life. So the trick is to retrain them to match up with their new space. Take a sigh of relief as you get your mindset into teacher-mode to sharpen up your speech muscles.
The second remedy is to practise some specific articulation exercises to address the situation. Tongue twisters that focus on moving your tongue so it lands in the correct new place will help you make big improvements. For example, repeat five times each phrase: “Lillory, Lallory, Lollory;” and “Thirty Thousand Thoughtless Thieves.”
Thirdly, flex your lips, mouth and jaw regularly by pursing your lips; then stretching them with a smile. Open and close your mouth as widely as possible letting your jaw loosen and stretch. Next, wiggle your face muscles to wake them up.
Fourth, fix any excessive whistling sounds by allowing your air to pass over your tongue on specific sounds when exiting your mouth. For example, repeat a series of sibilant words: “sister, sash, shirts, and shoes;” so they sound seamless. If there are other specific sounds that are bothering you use your dictionary to repeat a series of similar sounds, or visit a speech coach or therapist who can offer you further exercises.
As your confidence builds with a few targeted exercises, continue to improve by reading aloud, and speaking to family and friends regularly. Once you get out there and practise speaking again you will have control over your speech and your muscles will feel right at home again. Just like Janet did, her speech, confidence, and happy personality returned so she no longer felt alone.