If the thoughts of traditional metal braces or invisible liners to straighten your teeth don’t sound appealing, you’ll be glad to know you aren’t out of options. Lingual braces provide an alternative that is changing the world of orthodontics.
Simply put, lingual braces look just like traditional metal ones, but are placed behind your teeth out of the public eye to give you a more discreet smile-correcting experience.
But, as appealing as it sounds to avoid flashing a metal-filled smile while your teeth get straight, are lingual braces the right choice for you?
Let look at the various lingual braces pros and cons before you decide.
But first –
What exactly are lingual braces?
Though still not as popular as traditional metal braces, lingual braces evolved in the 1970s, but started gaining mass attention in the 1980s.
Sometimes called hidden braces or incognito braces, lingual braces use the same hardware and straightening methods as traditional “outside” braces. Incognito braces are applied to the teeth, unlike invisible braces that you must remove when brushing your teeth or eating. In addition, lingual braces take about the same amount of time to correct your dental problem that other braces do.
The application process stays pretty much the same, along with similar food and beverage rules that you must follow with regular braces. That means gum, hard foods, and popcorn should still stay out of your diet until your braces come off.
As with toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste, braces also come in different brands. For instance, Incognito Hidden Braces, a popular choice among orthodontists, are easily customized by your orthodontist to ensure the lingual braces work to fix your unique problem. Regardless of what brand your orthodontist chooses, you should realize that each patient’s experience with braces will look different based on whatever issue needs correcting. Incognito braces help deliver a wide range of treatments for every viable candidate.
How Are Incognito Braces Applied?
Incognito braces are formed specifically to fit each patient’s teeth. Once the brackets are fabricated, the orthodontist cements them into place all at once.
To get measurements, your orthodontist will take impressions of your teeth and send them to the fabrication company.
From there, your orthodontist will create a mockup of what your teeth should look like after wearing braces. The company will create your brackets and wire based on the detail in the impressions.
To put this in perspective, getting conventional braces applied looks much different. The brackets are usually stock parts, rather that custom fabricated ones. The brackets are then individually set in place on the patient’s teeth.
Incognito braces were first developed over 40 years ago, and there have been many advances made since the first application. Companies are now creating smaller brackets to lessen irritation,
Advantages of Braces Behind Teeth
The most obvious advantage to the braces behind teeth approach is the fact that they’re virtually invisible. Unless someone closely watches you speak, they will never know your mouth houses braces.
Something that many people don’t consider when deciding on braces is the sign of decalcification. If you have poor oral hygiene, your teeth stand a higher chance of showing white spots on the buccal side of your teeth if you choose traditional braces.
In addition, buccal braces can affect a variety of actions, such as playing a musical instrument. If you play the flute, saxophone, or another instrument that requires direct contact with your mouth, you might find it difficult to play as well as you’d like.
But perhaps its biggest advantage over other invisible solutions, like Invisalign, is that lingual braces remain on your teeth at all times. You don’t have to worry about losing them, removing them to brush or eat, or getting a new one every couple weeks. Hidden braces are always working, even when you’re eating.
Lingual braces can help a variety of dental issues, so there’s a strong chance you would be a candidate for hidden braces. Orthodontists will give consideration to your unique bite condition, but most children and adults find lingual braces present a viable solution.
Disadvantages of Lingual Braces
The advantages are obvious, but lingual braces are not the end-all solution for many braces candidates.
Many patients who have tried hidden braces complained about tongue irritation from the constant contact between metal and tongue. Even with the smaller bracket profile developed to lessen this irritation still does not eliminate it completely. Some patients have also reported pain or discomfort while wearing hidden braces that they never fully got used to.
You may find your speech temporarily changes as you get used to having incognito braces. Typically, any speech impairments dissipate after 2-3 weeks of wearing the braces.
Adding braces behind teeth, rather than in front, can create hygiene and cleanliness issues you wouldn’t experience otherwise. With front-facing braces, you can better determine if you have food stuck in your brackets, and clean accordingly. It’s much more difficult to clean hidden braces since you can’t see areas that need attention.
Despite the fact that incognito braces look and act much like traditional braces, they cost quite a bit more than both regular braces and Invisalign.
Not every orthodontist will offer lingual braces, as the procedure requires additional training and certification. If you decide lingual braces provide your best option, you will need to find an orthodontist who is specially trained to apply them.
Still unsure if lingual braces are right for you?
Even if you understand the benefits and disadvantages of lingual braces, that might not be enough to decide whether you should choose the “braces behind teeth” method.
To make the best decision, make sure you weigh your options. Know what benefits other options provide, along with associated costs and the time it takes to correct your problem.
Dunn Orthodontics can also guide you through the decision-making process. We have three convenient locations in the Phoenix area: Arcadia, Litchfield Park, and Phoenix. We are happy to address all of your questions about each option to give you an idea of how lingual braces can serve you best or if they’re right for you. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to discuss your specific circumstance and options.