Purpose: Tooth loss and its prosthetic rehabilitation significantly affect speech
intelligibility. However, little is known about the influence of speech deficiencies on
oral health–related quality of life (OHRQoL). The aim of this study was to investigate
whether speech intelligibility enhancement through prosthetic rehabilitation
significantly influences OHRQoL in patients wearing complete maxillary dentures.
Speech intelligibility by means of an automatic speech recognition system (ASR) was
prospectively evaluated and compared with subjectively assessed Oral Health Impact
Profile (OHIP) scores. Materials and Methods: Speech was recorded in 28 edentulous
patients 1 week prior to the fabrication of new complete maxillary dentures and
6 months thereafter. Speech intelligibility was computed based on the word accuracy
(WA) by means of an ASR and compared with a matched control group. One week
before and 6 months after rehabilitation, patients assessed themselves for OHRQoL.
Results: Speech intelligibility improved significantly after 6 months. Subjects reported
a significantly higher OHRQoL after maxillary rehabilitation with complete dentures.
No significant correlation was found between the OHIP sum score or its subscales to the
WA. Conclusion: Speech intelligibility enhancement achieved through the fabrication
of new complete maxillary dentures might not be in the forefront of the patients’
perception of their quality of life. For the improvement of OHRQoL in patients wearing
complete maxillary dentures, food intake and mastication as well as freedom from pain
play a more prominent role. Int J Prosthodont 2014;27:61–69. doi: 10.11607/ijp.3597