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Once upon a time, if you needed braces, you only had one option – the sort that tended to get kids called “metal mouth.” Made from metal, attached to the teeth and glaringly obvious, many people avoided this treatment despite its benefits for all ages. Advances in orthodontia mean that today you have multiple options, one of which is lingual braces.
Why Lingual Braces?
The cosmetic advantages of braces are immediately obvious (once the braces come off, of course). However, the real reasons for braces are improved function and oral health. Crooked teeth, whether jammed too close together or spaced too widely apart, are harder to keep clean and increase the risk of tooth decay. Badly decayed teeth may need to be removed, which can mean the remaining teeth shift, causing, even more, problems with alignment.
Teeth that are not properly aligned increase the risk of bite problems as well as the potential to chip or crack a tooth; they also wear unevenly. Crooked, badly spaced teeth can also contribute to jaw pain and headaches.
Why an Orthodontist?
Dentists are not generally trained to apply braces, although some may attend a few orthodontia classes. That responsibility falls to orthodontists, who complete regular dental training and go on for extended training in the specialty of orthodontia. An orthodontist must complete an additional two years of post-doctoral training to become qualified.
They study craniofacial anatomy and orthodontic theory, perform research projects and spend many hours in hands-on clinical training. An orthodontist knows all about the different kinds of braces and can recommend the one that is right for you.
Discover Lingual Braces
The word lingual means “tongue,” and these braces are placed on the tongue side of the teeth. Although they were invented in 1976 and they’ve been around since the 1980s, many orthodontists don’t offer them, because special training is required to place and fit them correctly. Since the brackets fit on the inside of the teeth, they require additionally customized fitting beyond that needed for conventional braces. Learn more by reading this article.
There are also different systems of these kinds of braces and each requires training. Like traditional braces, they can be made of ceramic, metal or a mix of both. Ceramic braces can be custom-colored to match your teeth or made of clear material so that they are even less visible. Metal braces are typically made of stainless steel.
Just because you’re wearing braces doesn’t mean you want the whole world to know it. Since all of the brackets and wires are attached on the back side of the teeth, these braces are essentially invisible. The braces are custom-created and individually fitted to each tooth. They are very specific to the shape of your teeth and jaw. Some kinds of braces or orthodontia treatments are not effective for all kinds of orthodontic problems, but these braces can be used effectively in almost any situation.
Once you become used to them, discomfort is minimal and most people have no problems with their speech. Traditional braces, attached to the front of the teeth, can be harder to clean and increase the risk of stains and discolorations when they are removed. Braces mounted on the lingual side may cause stains, but at least they aren’t visible. If you play a musical instrument like a saxophone or trumpet, these braces might be better for you.
This treatment sometimes takes longer than other dental brace treatments because these braces move the teeth more gradually. It may take a few weeks for your teeth to get used to the braces. Sometimes the brackets and wires may feel a little rough and affect your speech slightly. Adjustments and check-ups may take a little longer because the braces are not readily visible and are slightly less accessible than traditional braces.
Since they are behind the teeth, these braces may be a little more difficult to keep clean. Although these braces work in many situations, very complex dental problems such as severe misalignment may be better treated with conventional braces.
What’s the Procedure Like?
The complex fitting process requires four steps. First, the orthodontist will take impressions of your teeth using a special plastic mold. The mold is sent to a dental laboratory, which creates customized brackets for the individual teeth. When you come back for your second visit, the orthodontist will clean your teeth with a special bonding solution and then cement the brackets in place.
An archwire installed to provide the necessary tension to move the teeth. The archwire connects all the brackets together and as it is adjusted, the teeth gradually move into the new positions. After the braces are removed, you’ll need to wear a retainer for a year or more to ensure the teeth don’t shift back. Some people may also need additional procedures, like a tooth extraction to allow room for teeth to move, or need to wear headgear at night.
Braces can make it harder to clean your teeth, no matter which side of the teeth they’re placed on. It’s best if you pay special attention to your diet and avoid foods that might increase the risk of breakages. Foods such as popcorn or hard candies. Also, foods that might promote tooth decay, such as foods with a lot of sugar. Sticky candies such as toffees are particularly problematic. They take a longer time to dissolve and the sugar remains in contact with the teeth for a longer period.
Rinse with water after eating if you can’t brush after every meal and floss daily. Brush your teeth twice a day (after each meal is even better). You may find an electric toothbrush is more effective and a WaterPik is another cleaning method that can help. See your dentist for routine check-ups and cleaning in addition to your orthodontic treatments.
Compared to traditional braces, lingual braces can be more expensive. This is partly because of the additional training and expertise required of the orthodontist. It is also due to the amount of custom work required to make them fit properly and work correctly. Most orthodontists have payment plans and can assist you to find other ways to help pay for braces.
In most cases, treatment takes one to three years. It may take longer for some adults, the same as with other braces. There is no more discomfort with these braces than traditional braces in most cases. Results are equivalent to those seen with traditional and other kinds of braces.
Poorly aligned teeth can cause oral health issues. It’s important to remember that while braces are often seen as a rite of passage for teens, adults may also need braces. These less visible braces are often a good option. Especially for the adult who has a job in which appearance is important or who spends much time working directly with the public.
Contact Us Now
If you’ve always wanted to improve the look of your smile (or if your dentist recommends you get your teeth straightened) now is the perfect time to discover these invisible braces. You can easily find your nearest lingual braces expert with us.
Lingual Braces Discover The Amazing Truth
I feel very fortunate to have found a profession as rewarding as the field of Orthodontics! For over ten years, I have enjoyed creating custom, beautiful smiles for our family of patients. You can even find some of our loyal patients across the country and abroad!