Braces are dental appliances which are placed on the teeth with a wire running through the brackets that are bonded to the front of the teeth with a dental glue, creating tension on the teeth to move in a desired direction.
Lingual braces work on the same principle but instead of the front of the teeth, the brackets are bonded on the back of the teeth, on the tongue (lingual) making them totally invisible to other people.
Whoever wants to look more attractive while smiling can opt for lingual braces with a few exceptions. There are millions of people all over the world who opt for braces and with each passing year more millions are added to the list. People who have crooked teeth or malocclusion (improper bite) can straighten their teeth to acquire a beautiful and pleasant smile. But many people hesitate to opt for braces because of the way it looks for a certain amount of time till the teeth acquires the shape they want. And it may also make the wearer feel self-conscious.
Many image conscious people who are in the field where they have to meet people all the time, or work in front of the people, like media, and others who do not like to draw attention to their faces while the braces are on, want to opt for a method where dental work is going on but it is not visible.
Are lingual braces for you?
Everyone who wants to wear braces cannot opt for lingual braces because there are certain preconditions or challenges related to them which are not present in usual braces. For one thing, the teeth should be long enough for the braces to be glued on to the inside of the teeth. If there is not enough room on the inside of the teeth, then they cannot be fixed.
Children and people with short teeth cannot hope to wear lingual braces. For another thing, people with a severe bite problem or malocclusion cannot wear braces on the inside of the teeth because they may get dislodged with improper bite. One more disadvantage of lingual braces is that it touches the tongue all the time, and it will take longer to get used to the braces in the mouth.
It is more common among adults than children. Lingual braces are also useful for people who play wind instruments because these braces adapt more readily than traditional braces. Lingual braces are catered for by fewer practices than traditional practice and are also relatively a little more expensive.
Visit your orthodontist to see if you are a suitable candidate
You must visit your orthodontist before any decision can be made. Your orthodontist will put you through a series of questions and discuss all the options available to you about your treatment.
At this time, you need to talk about your preference for lingual braces if that is your choice. If your orthodontist deals with lingual braces, then he or she will ask you to get a series of tests done.
Not all orthodontists deal in lingual braces, and if your orthodontist does not do this treatment, they can refer you to someone who does.
Cost of lingual braces
The cost of the lingual braces is usually a little higher than the regular braces, but it also depends on a lot of other factors like, the length of the treatment, and the appliance type you choose. Lingual braces cost more because the application of them is more time consuming and are customised according to the need of the individual patient.
The parts of lingual braces are also different than normal braces. The wires of normal braces are bent in a uniform shape of a horse shoe. For lingual braces the wires are bent robotically bent to fit onto the contours of an individual’s teeth. These custom created pieces shorten the treatment time but proves more expensive.
Speaking while wearing lingual braces
Lingual braces are put on the back of the teeth and literally in contact with the tongue. This makes it difficult to speak and initially the patient develops a lisp. When we speak, certain sounds are created by touching the tongue to a particular point, which the lingual make difficult and the person cannot speak properly. In fact, all braces affect speech initially, but the lingual braces may make it more so and will take longer to get used to. There are many brands available for lingual braces, some of which make the speech more difficult than others. It is best to discuss with your orthodontist to decide on the brand you choose for your lingual braces. It is only a question of time before which you will surely get accustomed to the braces and speak normally.
Discomfort level while wearing lingual braces
Any kind of braces will bring discomfort initially. Same will happen with lingual braces also. As your teeth begin movement in a desired direction, the pain and discomfort will be there for a short period of time. This pain will be felt as a dull ache and can be relieved with any medicine or painkiller over the counter.
Soft food will ease the pain for a while till the pain subsides, avoid eating hard foods.
Pain while wearing lingual braces
Pain is also felt when brackets touch the soft tissues of the mouth. Any braces will make you feel some pain but in the case of lingual braces, the tongue keeps on touching the braces and will bear the brunt of brackets.
The pain associated with lingual braces has prompted many manufacturers to make smaller and smoother lingual braces so that pain can be controlled.
Lingual braces can be customised to decrease the pain and discomfort. Some dentists advise topical pain relief like gels. A tiny amount of wax over your braces may also limit the sharp edges from coming in contact with your tongue.
Basically, the major advantages of lingual braces are, that they are invisible, correct most bite problems and can be customised to restrict pain.
The major disadvantages of lingual braces are that they are more expensive, are more painful, and may cause a temporary lisp.