Authors: H.-N. L. Teodorescu


We contribute to lay down the foundations of a field of study that we call phonetic dentistry or gnathophonics. The new field is connected, on one side, to dentistry, on another side to articulatory, acoustical and perceptive phonetics and, on the third side, to speech technology and artificial intelligence. Dentistry treatment and denture wearing may significantly alter the upper part of the vocal tract and the ability of articulating the complex sound sequences used in speech. We propose and analyze some reasoned hypothetic causal relationships between vocal disfunctions and alteration of the natural and artificial denture. Based on reasoning backed by articulatory phonetics, we put forward several hypotheses, including that that the temporo-mandibular articulation state may significantly affect the pronunciation of the diphthongs and plosives and the hypothesis that the lack of inter-dental spaces between the incisors is equally detrimental, as to the too large spaces, as in case of diastema or lack of teeth. A set of indices for the quantitative assessment of the acoustic and perceptive changes in pronunciation is suggested as an objective means to determine the phonetic quality of the treatment or the prosthetic act. The establishment of benchmarks, primarily corpuses including speech recordings and tools pertaining to phonetic dentistry is also discussed. Overall, we propose a systematic approach for building the new field.