Early Missing Teeth and Speech Development

By Pam Marshalla

Photo by ZardozSpeaks

Q: My 2-year-old daughter has to get her four front teeth extracted because of decay. The doctor told me that there could be speech disorders. She doesn’t speak as much as other kids of her age and she started walking a little late. After these teeth are extracted I am worried that she is going to stop trying to talk and become even more timid. What can I do?

You have two things going on that have different impacts on speech and language development: Missing teeth and slow development.

Missing teeth impact a child’s development of certain sounds like S, Z, Sh, Ch, and so forth (the sibilants).  It will make them distorted.  But that should improve when her permanent teeth come in.

Slow development in walking and talking worries me more. I would have her seen by a speech-language pathologist now to help you begin to monitor her speech. She doesn’t necessarily need therapy now. But the speech therapist’s job will be to make sure she continues to move forward 🙂

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