A funny thing happened to me on the way to my daughter’s wedding…I needed to go to the dentist.
It’s a twist of irony that I should find myself in such an unexpected situation on the morning of Ashley’s nuptials, but there I was in a colleague’s office receiving dental care. But before I get into the whys and wherefores of my oral predicament, a bit of context is in order.
Proper elocution and enunciation is predicated on many factors, not the least of which is the proper physical relationship of the tongue and lips to the teeth. Certain sounds require the tongue, teeth and lips to be in specific positions relative to each other.
To properly produce sibilant sounds such as “S’s” and soft “C’s”, the edges of the upper and lower teeth need to be in close proximity (without touching) while the mid-tongue should press nearly against the palate. This allows air to pass between the tip of the tongue and back of the upper front teeth and creates the requisite “hissing” sound.
Similarly, to create the fricative sounds such as “F” and “V”, the edges of the upper front teeth should lightly touch the lower lip.
Getting back to me.
About a year ago, I chipped my two upper front teeth (the result of years of grinding/bruxing). Yes, I wear a night guard; but by the time I started wearing one, much of the damage was already done. (I couldn’t bite through and incise spaghetti because my upper and lower incisors didn’t meet.)
And so, 12 months ago I embarked upon dental treatment to correct the problem. This involved Invisalign to correct the position of my teeth, which was to be followed by two porcelain veneers to address my chipped front teeth.
Two weeks before the wedding, after 40 weeks of Invisalign, I had the attachments removed and had retainers inserted. I planned to wait until after the big day to have the veneers made.
This was a well thought-out treatment plan that orchestrated orthodontic and cosmetic dentistry for optimal aesthetic results.
I labored over my father of the bride speech and when I finally had it nailed, I began to practice it. And that’s when I had my “Oh S–t” moment.
With the retainers out (I wasn’t going to wear them to the wedding) and without my front teeth restored, I had a very noticeable lisp. “Ashley Sinkin”, “Steven Satenstein” (my now son-in-law), the “Sinkin” and “Satenstein” families…SUFFERIN SUCCATASH!
I was spitting all over the place and tripping over my words. YIKES!!!!!
So I made a call to my good friend and dental buddy in Westchester County (the wedding was held in Rye, NY) and made an appointment for the morning of the big day to temporarily bond my teeth.
The wedding was beautiful, magical and wonderful. The bride was gorgeous and radiant. The groom is what all parents wish for their daughter. The weather was perfect. The ceremony was like a dream at water’s edge with a flock of low flying geese passing in the backdrop of the chupa as vows were exchanged.
And my speech was spectacular – instead of “shpectacular” – if I do say so myself.