What Are Lingual Braces?
Many people who want to undergo orthodontic treatment have concerns about the effect on their appearance. Adults, particularly, may worry that braces will affect their professional and social lives. Teens may also have these concerns. These patients may want their treatment to be as discreet as possible.
Discreet orthodontic treatment
Fortunately, there are many options for orthodontic treatment that are very discreet. Clear aligners (the most well-known of which is Invisalign) are one of these options. However, for some patients, these aren’t the best option. Some may not be certain that they could commit to remembering to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours every day. In addition, certain types of orthodontic problems don’t respond well to clear aligners. Braces can provide a better result for some patients.
Although traditional metal braces are the most well-known and are still commonly used, there are also other options that are less visible. These include clear braces and lingual braces.
Lingual braces are made of metal brackets and wires, similarly to traditional metal braces. The difference is that lingual braces are placed on the back of the teeth. In this position, the brackets and wires are nearly invisible. They don’t affect the look of your smile. All anyone sees is your smile.
Do lingual braces affect your life?
Because they’re on the same side of your teeth as your tongue, lingual braces may have some effect on your speech at first. However, most people adapt them fairly quickly, generally within two weeks. Actors, teachers, and others who speak for a living need not be concerned that lingual braces will interfere with your professional life. You will simply need a little bit of practice, and then no one will ever know that you’re wearing lingual braces.
Similarly, it may take a couple of weeks to get used to eating with lingual braces on. At first, they may rub against your tongue and cause irritation. However, as you get used to them, this usually goes away.
The difference between lingual braces and other types of braces
Because lingual braces are placed on the back side of the teeth, they require somewhat more of the orthodontist’s time and attention than traditional braces do. A computer system is also needed to create the braces, which must be custom-made for each patient.
Lingual braces move teeth differently than do traditional braces, so it’s not a matter of simply putting the brackets in a different place. Rather, specialized training is required for the placement of lingual braces. An orthodontist must understand how lingual braces exert different forces on the teeth than do traditional braces, and how to use those forces to create the desired effects on the smile.
Learn about your options
Lingual braces are one of the options for having discreet orthodontic treatment that minimally affects your appearance. Another option is clear braces, which are placed on the front of the teeth but are made of materials that are difficult to see. Clear Aligners which are clear plastic shells that fit around the teeth to guide them into place, are also a popular option. Not everyone is a good candidate for every type of treatment, and the costs of each one are also different. You should talk with your orthodontist to find out which treatments would be good options in your case, and what the advantages and disadvantages would be.