What Are Lingual Braces?

Posted | General Orthodontics

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People are appropriately concerned about the quality on the straightness of their teeth. In the United States alone, it is estimated that more than 4.5 million people use braces or some other appliance in order to straighten their teeth. Contrary to what some may believe, braces are not just for teenagers or for children. It is estimated that 25 percent of people who use braces or appliances to straighten their teeth are adults. In Dr. Tisseront’s office, it is even higher.

There are a lot of different options that are available for individuals who want to straighten their teeth. The most recognized system of teeth straightening is traditional braces. Another option that many people have used is Invisalign invisible braces. There is a third option that many people have not heard of and that is lingual braces.

What Are Lingual Braces, and Why Are They Different from Other Types of Braces?

The word lingual makes reference to the tongue. This is an apt term to describe these types of braces because instead of being put on the front of the teeth, they are put on the back of the teeth or on the side of the teeth near the tongue and the pallet. Lingual braces are a great option for people who want to straighten their teeth while at the same time not having their braces visible to the rest of the world.

The first step in applying lingual braces is to take an impression of a patient’s teeth. That impression will be sent to a lab and used as the basis for creating customized brackets. Patient should expect the entire process to take between 5 to 6 weeks. Once the brackets have been designed, the doctor will then use a specific technique and bonding agent to cement the braces to the back of the teeth.

Lingual braces straighten teeth in a way that is very similar to traditional braces. They apply a very gentle yet constant pressure on the teeth. This forces the teeth to slowly move into their proper position over time. This treatment can take from between 18 months and 36 months. The duration of treatment will vary depending on how severe the overcrowding of the patient’s teeth is or how crooked their bite is.

Lingual braces are a worthwhile investment for someone who wants to straighten their teeth without having it affect the appearance of their mouth. There are certain requirements that a patient must fill in order to qualify for these braces.

Since lingual braces are custom-made to match the mouth of the patient, they do cost more than traditional braces, and the treatment is more complicated. One of the biggest factors leading to the additional cost is the materials. Every tooth will have a specially designed bracket and arch wire installed.

It can be a challenge to find an orthodontist who can install lingual braces because they require technical training and expertise that not all orthodontists have.

Types of Lingual Braces

When determining the type of lingual braces that you or your family member will use, it is going to be important to first sit down with the orthodontist and hear their recommendations. They will also be interested in talking with you to get your preferences. There are different companies that manufacture lingual braces, but they all basically work in the exact same way. The primary difference is the design of the bracket and the way that the brackets are attached to the back of the teeth. Some of the more popular Brands of invisible braces include Incognito, iBraces, and STb Light Lingual System.

Properly Caring for Lingual Braces

Any orthodontic appliance will only work if the patient maintains good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene is important if a patient is going to guarantee that gingivitis and tooth decay do not affect their teeth. Proper hygiene would include things like:

• Spend at least two minutes twice a day to brush your teeth
• Brush your teeth and gum lines using a soft bristled toothbrush
• Floss teeth daily to remove plaque and food debris
• Flush out food debris from around the brackets and on the teeth using an oral irrigation device
• Use a fluoride rinse to strengthen your teeth

Since lingual braces are put on the back of the teeth, they may irritate your tongue and cause your tongue to feel tender. Patients can use a wax that is applied to the lower teeth that will cover the braces and help remove some of the soreness.

For some people, being able to speak clearly and enunciate while wearing lingual braces is a challenge. However, after a few weeks of practice, the majority of the wearers are able to get a feel for how to speak clearly even though the braces on the back of their teeth.

It is recommended that patients visit their orthodontist every six months to get a professional cleaning. This is essential for any patient looking to maintain good oral health while wearing lingual braces. Regular flossing will stop plaque from building up and will fight against tooth decay. Fluoride rinses and specialized toothpaste should be used to fight against gum disease.

As with all orthodontic procedures, there is some minor discomfort and inconvenience that comes with wearing lingual braces. Over time, a person will become accustomed to these braces and the feeling of discomfort will diminish. Additionally, there is some expense associated with wearing these braces. However, temporary discomfort and a small expense is worth it if it means that a patient can have a smile that they are proud of.

Many people are reluctant to wear braces even though they know that braces would make a drastic difference in their appearance. They are usually worried about how braces will look to other people. For individuals in this circumstance and who are not sold on the idea of Invisalign braces, lingual braces are the solution to the problem.

Contact us and set up an appointment today to learn about the teeth straightening options that are available for you. A beautiful smile and healthy straight teeth are worth any effort.

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