Lingual braces are part of an orthodontic treatment, which is used to correct the dental discrepancies in the mouth like other braces, but the difference between other braces and lingual braces is the visibility of the braces. All normal braces are devices which are used to correct the inconsistencies of growth of teeth, and move the teeth to a desired direction. Lingual braces do the same job but they are not visible to others because they are discreet.
Like traditional braces, lingual braces too have wires and brackets installed in the mouth and teeth. These wires and brackets do the job of realigning the teeth in set ways so that the teeth can move into directed way and the result would be a set of perfectly aligned teeth. Lingual braces do the same work but from behind the teeth and tongue so that the fittings are at the back, out of view of others. Since it is discreet, many people opt for it, who are made self -conscious with the metal brackets and wires.
The procedure to fix lingual braces
The procedure to fix lingual braces begin by taking measurement of each tooth. Then the bracket is ordered from the lab, which comes custom made for each individual tooth, which has to be moved in pre decided direction. After getting the order, the braces are fitted into the mouth at the back of the teeth from which wires pass through connecting each bracket. The wires are also customised according to the individual’s formation of teeth and the direction they need to move to.
Fitting the lingual braces perfectly is a challenge to the dentist because the back of the teeth is harder to reach than front of the teeth. Since the place available for the dentist to work in is limited by the cavity of the mouth, it is a difficult task. There is less room for the orthodontist to place the individual brackets on teeth which is a perfect fit. To achieve this kind of perfection in fitting each tooth with a bracket, the orthodontists use a mouth guard like tray. The tray holds all the brackets at distances measured and worked on with perfection. The orthodontist then cements the individual bracket from the tray at the same time onto the tooth.
Advantages of lingual braces
The major advantage of the lingual braces is the discreetness of the treatment. Since these braces are not visible, people who are no longer young or in their teens can avail of this. Many adults opt for this treatment because it is out of sight of other people. In professional situations the adults may find it odd to wear braces for years. Even in social life, braces make people stand out. Lingual braces are not obvious and therefore do not make people stand out in a crowd.
Lingual braces are as effective as other braces when it comes to correct the dental conditions of misalignments and spacing of teeth. Lingual braces are fitted for each individual, which provides for a higher comfort level for individual patients.
Conditions that can be corrected by lingual braces include: uneven teeth, underbite, overbite, cross bite, crooked teeth, misshapen teeth, overlapped and crowded teeth.
Limitations of lingual braces
Speech is one aspect of the treatment with lingual braces which makes patients concerned. When the lingual braces are installed, initially the tongue keeps touching it since it is a new in the mouth. While speaking the mouth, the tongue and the teeth play an important role in forming the words in the mouth. The new device in the mouth makes it difficult for forming words and sentences in the mouth. But, within a few days, the individual gets used to the braces and the lisp will disappear.
Patients with deep overbite may find some issues with lingual braces, because overbite exert too much pressure on the brackets at the back of teeth which can make them come undone. But the orthodontist will know about this problem if you have one and will try to work around it.
Since the braces are inside, the tongue and gums may get sore and you may feel a little discomfort. The discomfort will be felt while eating and talking. But as it happens in most cases, the pain and soreness will go away in a few days after you get accustomed to the new device.
Are you a good candidate for lingual braces?
Like any other orthodontic treatment, lingual braces need to be installed only when you have no teeth or gum disease. If you have tooth decay, get the decay cleaned and the cavity filled and capped before going for lingual braces. Any kind of infections in the gums will hamper the progress in your treatment. It is vital that you get the gum disease treated before starting lingual braces treatment.
Before getting lingual braces fixed, it is best that you discuss your medical history with the orthodontic surgeon. Any kind of disease in the body will interfere with lingual braces because you may have to take some pain killers for the discomfort felt in the beginning of the treatment. General good health makes you positive and little changes in the mouth will be taken in stride if you are healthy.
Some sort of problems can be encountered while you eat. This has to be discussed with your dentist before you start the treatment. The changes will be not permanent but you need to adjust to these changes in eating habits for as long as the treatment continues.
As discussed earlier, speech will be slurred for a little time, till you get used to the device. If you are in a profession where you have to talk publicly, or have to attend social gatherings, then speech problems for a while have to managed.
Individual needs differ an everyone has to decide what to opt for according to their priorities and their lifestyle.