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Unlocking the Secrets of Lingual Braces!

by | Dec 11, 2023 | Dental Braces, General Orthodontics, Oral Health, Orthodontic Treatments | 0 comments

10 min reading time

Ever heard of orthodontic appliances that hide out behind your teeth while working their magic?

Yes, we’re talking about lingual braces!

Unlike the shiny metal braces conspicuous to everyone, these orthodontic appliances are all about keeping things on the down low. They’re an effective treatment for getting that beautiful smile without announcing to the world that you’re in the middle of the process.

Let’s discover what makes lingual braces a practical option for teeth straightening. Stick around, and you’ll learn a thing or two that might surprise you!

First Off, What Are Lingual Braces?

Lingual braces represent a uniquely innovative approach to orthodontic care.

Unlike traditional braces, which are placed on the front of the teeth, lingual braces are positioned on the inside surface of the teeth. They sit closer to the tongue—that’s where the term “lingual” comes from.

How Do Lingual Braces Work?

The core principle of lingual braces is similar to traditional ones. They apply consistent pressure on the teeth to move them to the desired position.

However, the difference lies in their placement.

Lingual appliances are custom-made to adhere to the back surfaces of the teeth, ensuring they are hidden from view. This provides an aesthetic advantage, especially for adults and teens who are self-conscious about wearing braces.

Each bracket of the lingual appliance is meticulously crafted to match the shape and size of each tooth. The wires connecting these brackets are also shaped to ensure they remain concealed behind the teeth and still exert the necessary pressure for movement.

How Do Orthodontists Install Lingual Braces?

The installation of lingual braces is a blend of art and science.

Orthodontists initiate the process by taking an accurate mold or impression of your mouth. This is vital because each patient’s teeth differ in shape and size. The mold ensures the braces are tailored to your unique dental structure.

Using this mold, specialized dental laboratories craft customized brackets for each tooth. They are meticulously designed to fit snugly on the lingual side of each tooth.

Once the customized brackets are ready, the orthodontist schedules an installation appointment. During this session, they will thoroughly clean your teeth to ensure the bonding agent will adhere properly. Then, with precision and care, the orthodontist places each bracket behind the teeth.

After the brackets are securely in place, the orthodontist threads a wire through them, which will apply the necessary pressure to gradually move the teeth.

6 Factors Qualifying Patients for Lingual Braces

6 Factors Qualifying Patients for Lingual Braces

  • Age Factor: Generally, lingual brackets are more suitable for adults and teenagers. Their teeth have reached full growth, which provides a stable foundation for the brackets.
  • Oral Health: You must be free from periodontal diseases and have healthy gums. Any preexisting dental issues must be addressed before considering lingual braces.
  • Complexity of Dental Issues: Lingual braces address a range of orthodontic concerns. From correcting crooked teeth to closing gaps, these orthodontic appliances are up to the task.
  • Deep Overbites: The positioning of the braces, when combined with a significant overbite, might lead to increased friction or even damage to the orthodontic appliance.
    Your orthodontist will be able to assess the severity of the overbite and determine if lingual braces are the optimal choice for you.
  • Commitment to Dental Hygiene: Wearing lingual braces requires a commitment to maintaining excellent oral hygiene.
  • Motivation for Discretion: Any patient aiming for discretion is an excellent candidate for lingual braces.

The Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces

Pros

Pros of Lingual Braces

Lingual Braces Are an Invisible Option

One of the top advantages of wearing lingual braces is their invisibility. Positioned on the inner side of the teeth, they are virtually undetectable from the outside. This means patients may undergo lingual orthodontic treatment without anyone noticing they wear such an orthodontic appliance.

Lingual Braces Are a More Comfortable Option

Although there’s a short adjustment period, numerous patients find that lingual braces differ in comfort from traditional ones. Because of their positioning close to the tongue and the absence of prominent front brackets, the risk of lip and cheek irritation is reduced.

Bespoke Orthodontic Treatment Option

Lingual braces are tailored to fit each patient’s mouth. Their customized design ensures the braces work while providing optimal comfort.

Lingual Braces Come with Smaller Brackets

Customized lingual brackets are smaller compared to the ones in traditional braces. Smaller brackets mean a smoother experience and less irritation for the patient.

Cons

Cons of Lingual Braces

Adverse Effects on Speech Performance

Due to their unique placement behind the teeth, lingual braces can sometimes affect speech, especially during the initial period after placement.

Some lingual orthodontic patients report a slight lisp or difficulty pronouncing certain words.

Fortunately, many patients quickly adapt to the new reality and find their speech returning to normal.

Increased Costs

When comparing the cost range of different orthodontic treatments, lingual braces tend to be pricier. The customized design and specialized training required in installation make their price tag higher than conventional braces.

Having a Harder Time Keeping Your Teeth Clean

Lingual braces’ positioning makes them trickier to clean compared to conventional braces. Food particles may get caught behind the teeth, demanding extra attention during brushing and flossing. Maintain impeccable oral hygiene to prevent issues like cavities or gum disease.

Working Slower Than Conventional Metal Braces

Lingual braces may take longer to achieve the desired results than conventional ones. The treatment’s customized nature and the braces’ positioning mean a slightly extended time frame for teeth straightening.

FAQ about Lingual Orthodontics

How Do Lingual Braces Fare against Traditional Metal Braces?

While both lingual and traditional metal braces give patients a straighter smile, their differences lie in visibility, cost, comfort, and sometimes treatment duration.

Traditional metal braces are what most people think of when imagining these orthodontic appliances: metal brackets bonded to the front of each tooth with a wire running through them. They are tried-and-true, having successfully straightened countless smiles over decades.

Lingual braces constitute a more recent innovation. While they function similarly to traditional braces, they are placed behind your teeth.

This positioning makes them virtually invisible to others, offering a discreet orthodontic solution.

However, this discretion comes at a cost.

Lingual braces are more expensive than traditional metal braces. The process of placing them behind the teeth requires specialized training and more time, bumping up the price tag.

There’s also the matter of comfort and adjustment.

Some patients find that lingual brackets are slightly uncomfortable, especially regarding tongue movement, as it may touch the braces more frequently.

On the contrary, traditional metal braces, being on the front, may cause discomfort to the lips or cheeks until patients get used to them.

How Much Do Lingual Braces Cost on Average?

On average, lingual braces are more expensive than their traditional counterparts. The reason? Their design is quite intricate, and the process put into making them is more detailed.

Lingual braces are custom-made for each patient’s mouth, ensuring a perfect fit for every tooth. This customization requires advanced technology and more time from the orthodontist, both of which contribute to a higher cost.

Now, when we talk numbers, the cost of lingual braces varies based on several factors: where you live, the orthodontist of choice, the complexity of your dental issues, and treatment duration.

To give you a ballpark figure, lingual braces range from $6,000 to $13,000. In comparison, traditional braces typically cost between $3,000 and $10,000.

Some dental insurance plans cover a portion of orthodontic treatments, including lingual braces. Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer any coverage or benefits.

Lastly, numerous orthodontists understand that lingual orthodontics constitute a significant investment. As such, they often provide flexible payment plans or financing options to make the treatment plan more affordable for their patients.

How Long Will Lingual Braces Take to Straighten My Teeth?

The duration for straightening teeth using lingual braces largely depends on the complexity of the dental issue.

For minor misalignments, the lingual braces treatment time will be shorter, often around 6 to 12 months.

However, for more complex situations, like severe crowding, underbites, or overbites, the orthodontic treatment may extend to two years or longer.

Factors such as age, tooth and gum health, and how closely you follow the orthodontist’s instructions all impact the duration of your treatment.

Do All Orthodontists Provide Lingual Braces?

Factors Determining the Choice between Lingual Braces and Clear Aligners

The short answer is no—not all orthodontists provide lingual braces.

Within the orthodontics specialty, lingual braces represent a peculiarly specialized technique. While all orthodontists have the skills to straighten teeth, not all are trained in the specific technique of fitting and adjusting lingual braces.

Placing braces on the backside of the teeth demands precision, as there’s less room to work with, and it’s a bit more complex. Moreover, the tools and technology associated with lingual orthodontic treatment are unique.

Do Lingual Braces Work Better Than Invisalign Clear Aligners?

Neither lingual braces nor Invisalign or SPARK clear aligners can be crowned the absolute winner in the battle of teeth straightening. The best choice depends on your individual needs, the complexity of your dental issues, and your personal preferences:

  1. Visibility: Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth, and clear aligners are … clear!
  2. Effectiveness: Orthodontists recommend lingual braces for complex dental issues because they provide more control over tooth movement. Clear aligners, while effective for many cases, are not the ideal choice for complicated dental issues.
  3. Comfort: Some patients find clear aligners more comfortable since they lack brackets and wires. However, others notice a bit of pressure when they switch to a new set of aligners. Lingual braces might take some getting used to, especially since they’re installed close to your tongue.
  4. Maintenance: With clear aligners, you’ll need to take them out before eating or drinking anything other than water. They also need to be cleaned separately from your teeth. Lingual braces stay on, so you’ll brush them just like regular braces. Also, you won’t need to put them back on after a meal.
  5. Treatment Duration: Both options take a similar amount of treatment time, with some cases being faster with clear aligners and others with lingual braces.

Discover Your Hidden Confidence: Lingual Braces at Loudoun Orthodontics!

Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if orthodontic care is the solution to your dental woes. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of orthodontic care or have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today and book a complimentary orthodontic consultation!

Our office—located at 19465 Deerfield Ave. Suite 304 Lansdowne, VA 20176—proudly serves the Lansdowne, VA area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Sterling, or Leesburg and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office!

We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining your perfect smile, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to become a part of our smiling community!

References

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  5. Stanborough, Rebecca Joy. “Lingual Braces: Pros and Cons, Cost, Comfort, Lisping, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 June 2019, www.healthline.com/health/lingual-braces-2. Accessed 1 Nov. 2023.
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