Lingual Braces a patient guide
- Cost: £3000 - £5000 depending on the system & practitioner
- Treatment length:1 - 3 years
- Used for: Bad bite, Gaps, crowding, rotated teeth
- Available: From most cosmetic dentists
Lingual braces are custom made fixed braces bonded to the back of the teeth making them invisible to other people. Braces in general are formed of two components:
- The brackets – The small metal pieces that are attached directly to the teeth
- The arch wires – that connects the brackets together
In lingual braces the brackets are cemented onto the backside of the teeth making them invisible while in standard braces the brackets are cemented onto the front side of the teeth. Hence, lingual braces are a cosmetic alternative to those who do not wish to have the unaesthetic metal look but wish to improve their smile.
The main differences between the conventional braces and lingual braces are summarised in the table below:
Like the standard braces, the lingual braces help to correct
- Bad bite occurring as a result of misaligned teeth
- Gaps, crowding, rotated teeth, hence improving the cosmetic appearance of the teeth
- Braces apply continuous and gentle pressure on the teeth causing them to shift back to their proper position.
Adults and teens who wish to improve their smile but do not want the metal work to be visible to others.
- It is not suitable for people with very small teeth or with certain bites
- Smaller children who still retain some of their milk teeth
Lingual braces can be worn for both the upper and lower teeth. However, since the lower teeth are less visible, one can go for a combination of lingual braces on the upper teeth and standard braces for the lower teeth.
It takes 2 visits to fit in the lingual braces at 3 to 5 days interval:
During the first visit
- Impression of the teeth are taken by the dentist using a plastic mould
- The plastic mould is sent to a laboratory where customized brackets for each tooth are made based on the mould
- The brackets are removed from the mould, set in wax and placed into a small plastic applicator. This helps to keep the brackets aligned at the time of application.
- Cement is applied to the back side of each bracket by the orthodontist
- The entire set is then pressed into place
- The plastic applicator is broken off once the cement sets in. The custom made lingual brackets remain in their place
- Next the orthodontist installs the arch wire by threading it through the brackets behind the teeth. The arch wire has been shaped for the ideal position of your teeth, and therefore tries to shift back into its original position pulling the teeth into place in the process
- The patient may experience some temporary soreness of tongue and speech impairment such as lisping initially. The braces have been designed such that the tongue gets easily adapted to them.
- Mild discomfort in the form of a mild ache or tenderness of teeth during chewing may be experienced.
- Tongue thrusting for swallowing would not be possible initially and you may have to learn some new swallowing techniques.
- You may require 1 to 4 weeks to get comfortably adjusted to the lingual braces.
- Rinse the mouth using salt water to help avoid initial discomfort.
- Learn to swallow without tongue thrusting by adopting new swallowing techniques.
- Speak more and over enunciate to aid in speaking more clearly
- Eat soft and soothing foods for the first few days.
- Maintain good oral hygiene – Brush after every meal. Use a water pick or electronic toothbrush
- Regular dental check ups – Have regular dental examinations to monitor the health of your teeth and development of plaque. Follow the instructions given by your dental hygienist to the T.
They take typically the same time as traditional braces to show the positive results, generally 1- 3 years.
- Food caught in between the brackets or wires are often hidden from your view. Hence in the absence of a thorough dental routine, the chances for plaque formation and subsequent dental damage are higher for lingual braces.
- Longer time to adjust to than traditional braces
- Since lingual braces make use of customized lingual brackets designed using CAD/CAM technology in the lab, they are more expensive.
- Since the procedure requires specialized training in the development of customized brackets, orthodontists who are familiar with the procedure are often difficult to find.
Only in severe cases will teeth extraction be required; extractions are avoided in more than two-thirds the patients.