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Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces

Published: Jun 25, 2024 Last Updated: Jun 26, 2024
The Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are a discreet orthodontic treatment that is virtually invisible. Orthodontists attach the brackets and wires to the back surface of teeth instead of the front of the teeth. The result is an almost invisible orthodontic treatment. Lingual braces are a popular option for those who want to enhance their smiles with a treatment that isn’t visible to others.

How do lingual braces work?

Lingual braces work in a similar way to conventional braces. An archwire connects the brackets to reposition crooked or misaligned teeth gradually. Using a detailed treatment plan, your orthodontist carefully plans and adjusts the position of each tooth during treatment.

As treatment progresses, archwires and elastics are replaced to ensure continued improvement in the position and alignment of teeth. Once treatment is complete, a retainer helps to keep teeth in the optimal position.

Are lingual braces for you?

Visiting an orthodontist is the first step in understanding if lingual braces suit your case and circumstances. Your orthodontist will carefully assess the following elements to determine the best treatment:

  1. Case complexity. Lingual braces work well for many orthodontic issues but aren’t ideal for more complicated cases. Severe crowding and bite misalignments generally require traditional braces.
  2. Dental anatomy. Your orthodontist will carefully assess the shape and size of your teeth to ensure lingual brackets can be securely attached to the rear of the teeth.
  3. Cost of treatment. Lingual braces tend to be more expensive than traditional braces. As a result, they may not be suitable for individuals seeking the most cost-effective treatment.
  4. Treatment time. While lingual braces are effective at discreetly correcting crooked teeth, treatment length may be longer than traditional metal braces.
close up of lingual braces fitted to the lower dental arch at MP Orthodontics.

Cost of lingual braces

The average cost of lingual braces is usually a little higher than normal braces. The differences that contribute to the price difference include:

  1. The size and shape of brackets. Compared to normal brackets, lingual brackets are smaller and often need to be custom-made to suit the exact shape of a patient’s teeth.
  2. Archwire shape. Lingual archwires are robotically bent to a custom shape for each patient. Traditional braces use a uniform shape archwire which is cheaper to produce and more readily available.
  3. Application of braces. The application process takes more time and requires special training to achieve optimal results.
  4. Treatment duration. Lingual braces treatment

Overall, lingual braces treatment is more complicated and results in a higher treatment cost when compared to traditional braces.

Speaking while wearing lingual braces

All orthodontic appliances affect speech initially. Positioned between the tongue and teeth means lingual braces can affect the way we pronounce certain words and sounds. Most patients find it easy to adjust to lingual braces. However, some patients may have difficulty speaking initially.

Patients who play woodwind instruments may find it easier to adjust to lingual braces than regular braces.

Discomfort level while wearing lingual braces

Most braces will cause some initial discomfort. Generally speaking, there are 2 types of discomfort with braces. This typically lasts for a few days and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication if required.

Dull ache of teeth and gums

Tooth and gum aches are common for most patients following the initial application of braces. This is caused by the continuous pressure applied to move the teeth into the desired position. This discomfort typically only lasts a few days and is well tolerated by most patients. A similar discomfort may be experienced following adjustments and is a normal part of orthodontic treatment.

Choosing soft foods can help to reduce the severity and duration of discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used to manage the discomfort as needed.

Soft tissue discomfort

Soft tissue soreness is common for patients with lingual braces. Most patients find this improves significantly following the adjustment period. Orthodontic wax is an effective way to smooth sharp edges and reduce tongue soreness. Patients with higher levels of sensitivity can use warm salt water rinses to soothe irritation during the adjustment period.

Are lingual braces worth it?

The main benefit of lingual braces is that they can straighten teeth while being almost invisible. This is the most important consideration for many patients when choosing from the range of orthodontic treatment options. The main disadvantage is they are more expensive and can cause more discomfort than traditional braces or clear aligners.

If you’d like to speak to our orthodontics about the advantages of lingual braces, speak to our team today.

MP Orthodontics is an orthodontic practice based in Cheltenham, Melbourne. Working from the belief that orthodontic treatment is much more than working with teeth and creating smiles, treating orthodontists – Dr Martin Poon and Dr Geoff Hall – approach patients as people first. Their approach is to work together and plan and implement treatment that meets each individual’s needs. Drawing on 30-plus years of experience of helping children gain confidence through tailored treatment, MP Orthodontics is a truly unique orthodontic practice.

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