Dear Mark,
First, sorry to hear about the painful aspect of your condition. I hope it won't last long.
Speech defects due to dental problems are not necessarily serious unless you happen to lose _most_ of your upper teeth. Human articulatory skills are surprisingly adaptable, and the tongue soon learns by trial and error to use whatever dental structure is left to produce or at least to do a passable imitation of the desired acoustic effect. If it hits upon the right configuration, a new habit develops quickly (you'll have to unlearn it with your new teeth in place, but that should be easy too). The tongue, as you certainly know, is a very busy organ, always counting the teeth and checking their condition when not otherwised engaged.
Perhaps this flexibility isn't so surprising after all, considering how often our ancestors had to speak with very incomplete teeth. Even if caries was less widespread in the past than it is now, other oral diseases were common, and eating bread from flour mixed with pulverised minerals from querns or millstones was a bit like chewing sandpaper as regards its effect on tooth enamel.
Then, there is a lot of redundancy in the phonetic encoding of phonemes. The actual range of articulations and acoustic realisations corresponding to any given phoneme is often fairly wide. All speakers have their little idiosyncrasies (which is one of the reasons why we're able to recognise a familiar individual voice), and a minor speech defect such as a slight lisp normally passes unnoticed. Do you really use your upper canines and premolars to make the "th" fricatives? Then they are probably slightly lateral (a bit like Welsh <ll>), aren't they?
----- Original Message -----
From: markodegard2000
Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 6:35 AM
Subject: [phoNet] Dental Work.

Piotor knows me. I confess to all of you I have had all of my front
teeth extracted in the process of receiving some rather expensive

Doing eff and vee are not that difficult. Thorn/edh are also easy.
Why? Well, I still have the teeth to the left and right of the
canines, upper and lower, as well as the upper canines (my lower
canines are still dry sockets; they were messy and still painful

I brux when I'm awake (I have Tourette Syndrome), and both of my
parents and all of my five siblings resent the sound of me grinding my
teeth into expensive dentistry.

Well, Piotr, I think you have some questions about what my tougue is
doing to to North Midlands (Standard) AmE. So do I. Ask me. Teach me.

Without one's front teeth, the only real loss I know of is the Spanish
interdental fricative (English has thorn and edh; Spanish has theta).
But I have my side teeth, and it's actually fake-able. All these
dentals: that you can do them without the teeth raises questions.

My family knows of my present ugly conditon. Piotr, give me questions
to ask them! What is my current phonological disability! Tell me what
noises I should attempt without any serious teeth.