No one’s blessed with symmetrical teeth from birth, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have them, thanks to medical science. Braces are just what you need to show off perfectly aligned teeth. These days, there are many varieties of braces, and you no longer have to worry about your smile being marred by a set of wires in your mouth. Lingual braces are an orthodontic innovation particularly suited to anyone conscious about what braces look like. But what are they? For an ordinary person, this may be an unfamiliar term. So, our professionals have explained their benefits, installation and various other interesting factors so you can make a better-informed choice.
What Are Lingual Braces?
Unlike traditional metal braces that are set in front of the teeth, lingual braces are set behind. As a result, they’re nearly invisible and are also known as incognito or hidden braces. Like regular ones, though, they use metal wires and brackets to alter misalignments. This design is particularly popular among adults as it doesn’t affect their appearance. They’re also easier to adapt to for musicians who play wind instruments. However, these aren’t offered by every dentist as they need to learn the specific skills and tools required to install them.
The Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces
There are several benefits to choosing incognito braces, the most obvious one being their invisibility and subsequent lack of impact on how you look. The following are the advantages that have increased its popularity among adults and children alike:
- Decalcification or white spots on the buccal side of your teeth caused due to poor oral hygiene is a problem few patients consider when getting braces. This can be somewhat minimized by choosing lingual braces instead of traditional ones.
- External braces can become a problem for those who play wind instruments or are into combat sports. Any activity that involves direct contact with the mouth, including brushing and eating, will require removal of traditional braces which is a chronic problem if you wear them for a long time. Choosing lingual braces can relieve you from these additional efforts.
- Their greatest advantage is that you won’t lose them or need to remove them for basic oral functions. This means they stay in place at all times and do their work more effectively than traditional braces. They also don’t need to be replaced as often as traditional ones.
Lingual braces have their drawbacks too:
- The primary complaint is about tongue irritation due to constant contact between the metal and tongue.
- Many patients can’t adapt to them, even after wearing them for a long time, and experience pain and a slight change in speech which disappears with time. The pain factor varies by person and relies somewhat on the skills of your dentist. That’s why you should always seek out someone reputable and experienced.
- They’re comparatively more expensive than traditional braces and Invisalign.
How Are Lingual Braces Installed?
Brackets are customized according to the patient’s mouth after taking an impression of their teeth. They have to be placed on each tooth perfectly to correct the misalignment which makes it a time-consuming process. The primary challenge is posed by the positioning of the wire and brackets behind the teeth which isn’t easy to reach.
Lingual braces were first invented nearly 40 years ago and have evolved greatly since then. Today, orthodontists design smaller brackets to prevent irritation of the tongue, a common complaint among wearers of invisible braces.
Are Lingual Braces the Right Choice for You?
The following are a few factors you should consider before choosing lingual braces to determine whether you’ll be comfortable with them:
- Food habits
There are certain food and beverages you need to avoid with lingual braces. These include liquorice, hard and chewy foods, popcorn, chips, nuts, raw carrots and any item you need to bite forcefully. Foods that are low in sugar and don’t require much chewing are ideal, like bread, mashed potatoes, pudding, pasta, soups and cheeses.
- Other available methods
There are other dental services, like Invisalign and traditional braces, used for the same purpose. Consult your dentist about what you’re comfortable with and any oral issues that may affect their recommendation. Since these types of braces can irritate your tongue and cause temporary moderate speech impairment, it’s best to stay well-informed to make the right choice.
Since the brackets are placed behind the teeth, lingual braces are more difficult to clean than conventional ones. Unless you’re committed to maintaining absolute oral hygiene, lingual braces can become a liability and lead to poor oral health instead.
Lingual braces are slowly but steadily gaining in popularity since they don’t affect your appearance at all. On the other hand, they’re comparatively expensive and not the easiest to maintain. Being aware of all these factors will make it easier for you to choose what works best and make sure you don’t regret the treatment.