Tooth Erosion Is Ruining My Speech


Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
1
Hi, everyone.

It's been a rough year and I think I just need to toss this out into the void to see what happens.

I have a bottom tooth that protrudes outward significantly and it - along with acidic drinks and poor hygiene - scraped away the back of one of my front teeth and has left me with an infuriating speech impediment. I have a degree in English, have traditionally spoken with great fluidity, and typically consider myself to be an above average orator. Essentially, speaking eloquently has always been something that I've taken great pride in - until now.

My front tooth has lost so much volume that my tongue no longer makes contact with it when speaking quickly. L, R, T, S, CH, and SH sounds - ESPECIALLY if they're back-to-back - have become incredibly awkward for me to pronounce. For example, if I say the word "texts" then it comes out as a half-assed sounding "texs" without the final 't' and a whistling 's' hanging on the end of it. It's as if I only have single front tooth despite the fact that they look completely normal when I smile. From behind, the tooth feels concaved - inordinately curved and significantly different than it ever has before.

The slightly disjointed alignment of my two front teeth has also opened a sliver of space that is resulting in an absolutely infuriating whistle when pronouncing 's' words. It's very subtle and is only noticeable when I whisper or speak softly, - it gets lost in the loudness of my voice otherwise - but it drives me crazy.

Basically, I'm incapable of speaking mindlessly anymore. There is no such thing as cruise control. I'm forced to focus intently on pronouncing everything properly instead of whatever thought I'm attempting to convey. This has completely fucked up my flow as a speaker, a writer, and - at times - even as a thinker. It's killing me silently and other people don't notice it because it's not particularly glaring. It just feels terrible - like having a rock in your shoe that gets increasingly painful over time.

Anyway, I feel like I'm going crazy. It's killing me. I think about it every time that I open my mouth to speak. I repeat every sentence under my breath like a crazy person to try and find that comfort zone that I once lived in - but I never do. It's gone. My dentist recommended braces so I'm going to drop $6k on that in hopes of remedying this issue for good. I don't see how braces can replace the volume that my tooth has clearly lost, but I've run out of alternative options. Hopefully this works. Otherwise, I fear that I'll never reacquire my ability to speak and write with the force that I once possessed.

Has anyone else experienced something like this? If so, what did you do? Are braces truly the solution?
 
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Dr M

Verified Dentist
Joined
May 31, 2019
Messages
440
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Good day
It sounds to me that braces might be a good option. Correct arch alignment will minimize damage to teeth due to traumatic occlusion. It can also greatly improve speech function, depending on what other problems are also present. As to the volume of the affected tooth--depending on how the tooth looks like now, the tooth can maybe receive a crown after the ortho has been completed. This will give it more volume.
It will be a good idea to discuss your worries with the orthodontist, prior to starting the treatment, so that he can give you some advice on what the plan will be after the orthodontic phase has been completed.
 
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MattKW

Verified Dentist
Joined
Mar 18, 2018
Messages
1,491
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I wouldn't suggest braces at all based on what you have said. It would be better to:
  1. Identify and remove the causes of erosion - usually an acidic diet
  2. Rebuild the lost tooth structure (rehabilitation):
    • A good general dentist might do this with composite, or go for a consultation with a prosthodontist.
    • If that goes well over time, then you might change the composite for porcelain.
With an ageing population who are keeping most of their teeth, this is an area of treatment which is becoming very common. I've had great success with just composite alone, and the manufacturers are bringing out new materials which are ideal for the job.
 

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