Everything About Lingual Braces
Lingual braces are a less popular orthodontic option that has a practical and aesthetic advantage when compared to alternative traditional metal braces. They are quite similar to other braces, but because they are fitted into the teeth in an entirely different way, they have some distinctions concerning comfort and how discreet they appear.
We will be exploring these unique attributes in this informative guide.
What are lingual braces?
This type of dental braces is uniquely fitted to the back of the teeth instead of the regular front position, which makes them practically invisible to the people around you. They consist of both brackets and wires, just like the conventional metal braces, but because of the way they are fitted and positioned, they appear more discreet.
Other advantages of lingual braces may include the following:
- Visible results after and during treatment
- General control over the results
- Marks left on the teeth as a result of the procedure are hidden since the braces are fitted behind the teeth
- It can be used to treat various types of misalignment
- They provide the same effective results as traditional metal braces
Unfortunately, not all dental issues or conditions can be addressed with the use of lingual braces, since the overbite might put extreme pressure on the brackets, which may make the brackets fall off. During an initial appointment with your orthodontist, he will be able to conclude whether lingual braces will work for you or not, as well as providing a better alternative for your orthodontic treatment.
Another major drawback for lingual braces is that not all orthodontist offer this type of treatment, unless with dentists having a speciality for lingual braces. Asides from that, they are often difficult to clean since the braces are placed behind the teeth
Generally, below are some difficulties that you may experience when using lingual braces:
- Food restrictions: just like traditional metal braces, you may need to avoid foods that are hard and very crunchy, as well as other sticky foods.
- Sores in the mouth: you may develop sores in your mouth when using lingual braces since your tongue will be hitting against the brackets. To help reduce such discomfort, you can rinse your mouth with warm water, or with the use of pain relief medicines, to help numb your tongue.
- Difficulties with speech: since the braces are fixed behind your teeth, you may feel a little discomfort at the initial stage, and you may experience speech difficulty until you properly get used to your braces. Well, this is because the tongue regularly hit the back of the teeth to make sounds, but because of the presence of the braces, it can’t produce a consistent tone. The good thing is that your speech will eventually become routine when you have been able to find a different place in the mouth.
How do lingual braces work?
They work entirely the same way as traditional metal braces, with the use of a wire and bracket system to gradually position the teeth to its ideal position. During your orthodontic treatment, you will need to visit your dentist at least every 6-8 weeks to have your braces properly straightened, tightened and adjusted if necessary. Your orthodontist will look out complications while proffering suitable solutions during this period.
Lingual braces are either standard or custom made to fit each patient’s specific need. A custom made lingual braces can speed up each patient’s treatment period while giving your doctor complete control over the results. They are also comfortable and slimmer than other regular brackets
Lingual braces vs traditional braces
Lingual braces are more expensive than conventional metal braces, especially for those that are custom made to fit each tooth. Asides from the manufacturing costs, you are required to pay more for your dentist’s time and speciality because the braces often take a long time to adjust during your treatment.
On the other hand, traditional metal braces are less expensive than lingual braces and are available on the NHS to both qualifying under-18s teenager, and adults with severe orthodontics treatment.
Lingual braces vs Invisalign
While lingual and Invisalign braces offer an aesthetically pleasing way of fixing misaligned or crooked teeth, their treatment process is different from the other.
Invisalign braces help to straighten the teeth without the use of wires and brackets. Instead, they make use of a series of clear aligners to move their teeth into their unique position gently. Although they are also referred to as invisible braces, they are slightly visible and can be noticed after a prolonged glance. Lingual braces, on the other hand, are designed in such a way that they are entirely hidden unless the teeth are widely opened to depict the back of the teeth.
Regardless, there are vast benefits of Invisalign braces, which make them a common alternative to lingual braces. These may include:
- Can be easily removed: Invisalign braces can be easily removed, which makes eating and cleaning much easier
- No form of restrictions: there are no form of restrictions on what you eat or drink, as long as the teeth are properly cleaned before replacing them
- Less expensive: lingual braces are generally more expensive than Invisalign aligners since they require more work than Invisalign aligners.
- Less sore in the teeth: with the absence of metal braces that can easily hurt the tongue or result to sores in the mouth, the risk of discomfort within the mouth is reduced.
Regardless, they may require a significant degree of discipline, since the aligners can be easily removed. To be sure of the best treatment option for you, it is essential to visit a dentist or orthodontist for a consultation.
You can also consider clear aligners or braces, which are slightly noticeable and subtle than the conventional metal braces. They are equally more affordable than lingual braces, hence offering a unique balance between the cost, appearance and effectiveness.
Typical cost comparison for braces
- Lingual braces: cost may range between £1,500-£10,000
- Invisible aligner: estimated cost of £1,500-£5,500
- Traditional metal braces: estimated cost of £1,500-£10,000
Type of lingual braces
Once you have made decisions regarding the nature of orthodontic options that can precisely fit your dental need, you may need to choose between the following lingual brace brands and styles that are available in the UK
- Self-litigating lingual braces: lingual braces can readily embrace the unique benefit of self-litigating technology with a wire that can automatically adjust itself gradually until the teeth are properly straightened. This allows the patient a high degree of comfort as opposed to the traditional metal braces.
- Incognito braces: this brand is specifically manufactured in Germany, with the use of advanced technology, such that each bracket is moulded to fit the teeth while making them generally flat. With this, there are fewer chances of braces interfering with your speech or resulting in any form of sore within the mouth. This lingual brace is made from a gold alloy material which helps to reduce the chances of an allergic reaction in the teeth. The cost of incognito braces is often priced between £4,000 and above.
- Non-customs system: this is specifically for patients who want to enjoy the discreet nature of lingual braces, but can barely afford the high price that is commonly attached to custom-made lingual braces. With this standard system of lingual braces, patients can easily fix their dental misalignment. The only underlying effect here is that standardised braces are used in fixing a patient’s dental misalignment. In other words, the brackets are fixed directly behind the teeth without any need for expensive customised braces.
Non-custom system lingual braces are produced in Germany, from standardised parts, and often regarded as the flattest lingual braces in the world. This type of lingual braces is ideal for patients with mild misalignments. However, we recommend you make use of custom-made lingual braces for more complex orthodontics treatment.
Are there ways to save money on hidden braces?
The cost of lingual braces is always on a high side and is generally more expensive than other braces. However, we have been able to come up with a brief guideline on how you can easily save money on your braces. They include the below:
- Try considering a cheaper alternative like ceramic and Invisalign Braces
If your primary reason for lingual braces is to ensure a discreet way of straightening your teeth, you can also consider other cheaper alternatives like clear ceramic and Invisalign aligners that can help to straighten your teeth in an aesthetically proven way.
- Mix and match: generally, our upper teeth are much more visible than the lower teeth when we smile. With this, you can easily save cost on your orthodontics treatment, by fixing lingual braces on the upper part of the teeth where people can easily notice, while traditional metal braces or clear aligners can be fitted on the lower arch. This will help reduce the cost of your orthodontic treatment. For mild dental misalignment, you can fit in braces to the areas that are commonly noticed; that is, the front teeth. Less noticeable misalignment can be left the way they are.
- Make a research for other brands: although we have been able to list some brands of lingual braces, you can also ask your dental care provider for other braces brands that are ideal but less expensive for your dental misalignment, as well as why they are recommended for you.
- Consider spreading the cost: you can ask your dental care providers on the available treatment plans that are available for you. Although they may not reduce the cost of your treatment, it can make the payment process more flexible and affordable. Ensure you go for orthodontists offering 0% interest plan, to avoid paying more than you are supposed to. Just in case your dentist does not have any available payment plan, you can decide other finance options like loan or credit card.
Getting fitted with lingual braces, what is involved?
Now that we have been able to go into the nitty-gritty of lingual braces, let’s quickly delve into what is involved in fitting lingual braces
After your initial consultation, the first thing your orthodontist will do is to create an impression of your teeth with the use of a dental mould. Specifically for custom made lingual braces, your dental impressions are sent off to the laboratory where your unique braces are created. The process will generally take at most six weeks, after which the customised braces are fitted to the teeth. Dental cement will be used to affix each brace to each tooth.
However, the process will typically take a longer time to complete and may be spread into two visits since the fitting is done behind the teeth. You are also required to go for routine checkups every six to eight weeks to ensure the treatment process is properly monitored, as well as make adjustments when and where necessary. You can also control your result because the system allows you a clear view of your teeth.
Patients may experience some form of discomfort at the initial stage but gradually smoothens during the treatment process. Your dentist will also make use of orthodontic wax to cover any irritation, while over the counter drugs are given to lessen the pain after the initial fitting of braces, and subsequent adjustments are made.
Most treatments with lingual braces are generally known to elapse after 12-18 months, depending on how severe your dental misalignments are.
Some essential tips for managing with lingual braces
If you are looking to succeed with lingual braces, here are some few tips to consider
- Make use of orthodontic wax and tissues to dry your mouth before applying your braces; your orthodontist can do this.
- Consider using Mouth wash and breath freshener
- An electric toothbrush with a unique orthodontic head can be used to clean the teeth.
- You can also make use of straws.
It may be easy to make a decision considering your orthodontics journey, but a lot harder to choose the type of braces that is ideal for your treatment.