You finally decided to stop hiding your smile and get your crooked, crowded teeth straightened. Congratulations! Your orthodontist is helping you choose the best orthodontic device to use, so you are sorting through the types of braces available. You are probably familiar with traditional metal, ceramic, or porcelain braces, as well as clear aligners. The one type of braces you may not be familiar with is lingual braces.
In this article, we break down everything you need to know about this type of orthodontic treatment, including how they work, their pros and cons, their care, and how they compare in cost with other types of braces.
So, What are Lingual Braces Exactly?
Lingual means “lying near or next to the tongue.” That’s exactly what lingual braces do: They lay on the backside of the teeth facing the tongue. This makes them the most aesthetically pleasing braces option since, when looking at someone, they are totally invisible because they do not attach to the front of the teeth at all.
Many people in professional work positions or older adults choose lingual braces for this reason. Teens who are self-conscious about metal brackets and wires on their teeth love them, too. Musicians find it easier to play their instruments with lingual braces and athletes don’t have to worry so much about suffering significant injuries if they are hit in the mouth.
But, do they work as well as the other types of braces? It’s a good question. Lingual braces do correct crowded teeth, crossbites, and underbites, but there are some limitations. Children’s teeth are usually too small for lingual braces and anyone with an excessive overbite will probably need to choose another type of device. The overbite puts too much pressure on the lingual braces brackets, and they can come off or break off because of that.
Discuss this with your orthodontist so they can advise you about any limitations you may have–or not!–with lingual braces. They will be glad to answer any questions you may have about braces in general, as well as lingual braces.
Now, let’s find out how these braces work.
How Do Lingual Braces Work?
Although the appearance of lingual braces is different, the process doesn’t differ from other types of braces. If you choose this orthodontic device, the first thing that will happen is an impression or 3D digital scan will be made of your teeth. From that, a set of brackets will be chosen for your braces, and these brackets are cemented to the back of your teeth.
Wires will then be connected to the brackets. With each visit to the orthodontist, these wires are gradually tightened so that continuous, gentle pressure is applied to move the teeth into their proper positions. The entire treatment plan for lingual braces can range from 18 to 36 months, depending on how much movement is required.
Is this the right choice for you? Read on!
Lingual Braces: Advantages and Disadvantages
As you get closer to making a decision on which type of braces to use, here are some additional pros and cons to consider:
Advantages of Lingual Braces:
- They are even more invisible than clear aligners.
- They are a good choice for correcting overbites and closing spaces between teeth.
- They require less maintenance than clear aligners.
- You are free to eat foods that other braces don’t allow.
Disadvantages of Lingual Braces:
- There is sometimes a longer adjustment period than other braces, including eating.
- Some patients develop a temporary lisp while wearing their lingual braces.
- They are harder to clean than traditional braces.
- The price tag is usually higher for lingual braces.
- Fewer orthodontists are trained in the use of lingual braces.
- Office visits usually take slightly longer with lingual braces.
The kind of braces you choose may rest on appearance and ease of upkeep. First of all, as we have seen, they are not visible to anyone. Lingual braces, like any other attached braces, won’t get lost and they are not removed until your treatment is over. Clear aligners are nearly invisible. They are removed to eat, brush, floss, and to be cleaned. For this reason, aligners are sometimes lost or damaged while out of your mouth.
Are Lingual Braces Expensive?
They are usually more expensive for a few reasons:
- They require specialized training for orthodontists.
- They are chosen less often which then results in higher costs to cover the training and materials.
- There are usually more office visits required and the visits take longer.
Like any other type of orthodontic treatment, the exact cost of lingual braces varies depending on the specific case.
Unfortunately, most insurance plans won’t cover lingual braces. You may want to consider lingual braces for the upper teeth and traditional braces on the bottom. Make sure to talk through the financial aspects of the different treatment options with your insurance company, your orthodontist, and the orthodontist’s office manager before you begin your treatment.
But only you can decide if the expense for lingual braces is the right choice for you.
How To Care For Lingual Braces
No matter what type of braces you choose, a solid daily oral hygiene routine is critical. Metal/ceramic braces (including both lingual braces and traditional braces) make this routine more challenging, but it will be worth it when you see your new smile!
The brackets and wires can trap food, so brushing, flossing, and rinsing are necessary at least twice a day. Initially, you may avoid this because your mouth will be adjusting to the braces and you will have some soreness. That will pass quickly, so keep at it.
The biggest challenge you will have with lingual braces is reaching all the nooks and crannies behind your teeth and the braces. Get a toothbrush with a narrow tip, because if food gets trapped in the braces it is a breeding ground for bacteria which then turn to plaque.
Source: TePe Oral Health Care
Lingual Braces May Be Right For You!
Lingual braces have several advantages over any other type of braces, especially for anyone who needs/wants braces that can’t be seen. This is why many adults and teens choose them for their orthodontic treatment. There are some disadvantages, especially the higher cost, so this is a decision that must be made after consideration of all the pros and cons.
Here at Swiatek Orthodontics, we specialize in orthodontic treatment with a variety of appliances, including lingual braces. Consider us part of your team as you work to create the beautiful smile you have always wanted.
Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation!