Lingual Braces Lingual Braces
Lingual Braces

Lingual Braces

For every orthodontics patient with dental misalignment, braces can be crucial in the journey to correction and recovery of misaligned teeth. However, they do come with a price to pay as well. We can almost agree that traditional metal braces are nowhere close to being attractive as they may result in drastic change in the patient’s appearance.

At this stage, every orthodontics patient who must have tried the traditional metal braces will continuously have to face self-esteem issues. This is precisely where lingual braces come in. Lingual braces, although made from metal just like conventional braces, they are hidden behind the teeth, such that they are barely noticed. Other benefits of lingual braces may include quick results during treatments, useful in treating nearly all types of malocclusion.

They are not left without drawbacks as well. However, we will be covering not just the benefits of lingual braces but also their drawbacks and other suitable alternatives as we progress.

If you are considering lingual braces for yourself or ward, stay glued to the information we are about to dish out, as we will be covering the nitty-gritty of everything you need to know about lingual braces.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What exactly are lingual braces?
  3. How does lingual braces work
  4. Braces comparison
  5. Types of lingual braces
  6. Is lingual braces always expensive?
  7. Different ways to save money on hidden braces
  8. Treatment procedure for lingual. Braces
  9. Caring for lingual braces
  10. Conclusion

What exactly are lingual braces?

We already know that the word ‘lingual’ is related to the tongue and its surrounding areas. Thus, the term lingual braces connote “behind the teeth”. Hence, lingual orthodontic appliances are placed at the back of the teeth where the tongue rests; this makes them hidden from the rest of the world and can be only noticed if the affected patient opens their teeth wide enough such that the other part of the teeth can be clearly seen.

Benefits of lingual braces

  • Lingual braces are discreet: They are generally hard to spot; this makes them ideal for people who want to straighten their teeth without letting people know. This could be an adult who wishes to maintain their professional look or teen that does not necessarily need to worry about being bullied in school.
  • The best shot for Special event: For an orthodontics patient looking to attend a big event, they may want braces that are barely seen by attendees. However, lingual brace would normally be a great option in situations like this because of its discreet nature.
  • Self-esteem remarkably intact: Some patients don’t ever get to smile in pictures when wearing traditional metal braces. In some cases, others may feel a little self-conscious when using traditional metal braces. Thus, since lingual braces are only placed behind the teeth, patients do not necessarily need to worry about their self-esteem going down the drain.
  • Watch your teeth move into line: With lingual braces, patients have the benefit of seeing their teeth take their exact places. Metal braces may allow lingual wearers the access to easily see how their teeth are taking shape during their treatment process.

Drawbacks of lingual braces

While the benefits of lingual braces are exceptional, there are still some drawbacks of lingual braces that are worth considering; this may include the following below

  • Speech changes: Lingual braces are often fitted inside the teeth, and just exactly the place the tongue sits to produce speech effect. This may make it difficult for lingual patient to produce notable sounds. Nevertheless, it will only take few days of little practice for the tongue to find a new position.
  • Lingual braces and teeth cleaning: Just like the conventional metal braces, it takes time to adjust to new brushing techniques and styles with lingual braces. However, after a while, you don’t need to worry about brushing and flossing your teeth as your orthodontics will provide you with suitable directions and guideline on how to brush and floss your teeth
  • Eating and drinking with lingual braces: Initially, it may be difficult to eat when you recently have your lingual braces fitted in. Just as it is with lingual braces, some foods can get stuck inside the braces, and you may need to make some minor change concerning the type of food you consume as well. Your dentist will provide you with suitable guidelines on the type of food that should be avoided when you are getting your teeth straightened with lingual braces as this food and drinks can lead to tooth decay if the teeth are not properly cleaned
  • Cost of fitting lingual braces: Lingual braces are more expensive than wire or ceramic braces. However, this is often linked to the fact that they are specifically customised to fit each patient teeth and misalignment.
lingual braces

How Does Lingual Braces Work?

Just like the conventional metal braces, lingual braces use wire and a bracket system to gradually fit the teeth into their desired position. You will need to visit your orthodontist routinely, every 6-8 weeks to have your braces properly tightened and adjusted as well.

Although some lingual braces make use of standard brackets, a lot of others make use of custom-made brackets, which are designed to fit each specific tooth.

Custom-made lingual braces are also fast and can speed up the treatment process while giving you and your orthodontist greater control over the results. Custom made lingual braces are also more comfortable to wear as they are generally slimmer than the normal standard brackets. However, because each piece is custom made, they are more expensive than other lingual braces with standard brackets.

Lingual Vs Traditional Metal Braces

Generally, lingual braces are often more expensive than traditional metal braces. This is specifically true for those who are unique and custom made to fit each patient’s tooth and dental issues. Asides from the manufacturing cost, they take longer time to adjust at each checkup. As a result of this, you do not only need to pay for the services, you are also required to pay more for your dentist time during the treatment process.

Children and teens can wear lingual braces, provided their teeth are large enough to affix the bracket. Regardless, there are other affordable alternatives to lingual braces for children.

Lingual Braces vs Invisalign

If you are looking for another suitable way to straighten your teeth, without having to worry about them being noticed, then you may have to consider invisible braces like Invisalign.

Invisalign braces are completely different from other braces, providing a unique solution to straighten the teeth without the use of wires and brackets. Instead, they make use of series of clear plastic aligners to gently guide the teeth into their desired position.

Although aligner tray braces are not entirely discreet, they are technically invisible and may be hard to spot unless you get very close. Lingual braces, on the other hand, are designed in such a way that they are completely hidden unless you open your mouth wide enough. Hence, you may decide to consider clear braces, which may be noticeable only with a clear view but are more subtle than traditional metal braces.

There are varieties of benefits which are linked to Invisalign clear aligners. With these underlying benefits, they are often considered as one of the best alternatives to lingual braces.

Some of the benefits may include the following:

  • Less noticeable than traditional metal braces
  • The aligners can easily be removed, so it is always easier to clean your teeth and braces
  • There are barely any restrictions regarding what you should eat or drink, as long as you get to clean your teeth before replacing the aligners
  • Unlike the traditional metal braces, there are no metal parts that may hurt your tongue
  • More so, Invisalign clear aligners are generally less expensive than lingual braces

Although they come with varieties of benefit, they do require a higher degree of discipline since the aligners are supposed to be kept in for at least 20-22 hours per day.

Generally, how severe your teeth are misaligned may affect the type of braces you can wear. In other words, not all braces are fit for all types of dental misalignment.

Invisalign clear aligners, for example, are quite suitable for about 90% of all dental cases. But for cases where the affected patient has severe malocclusion, you may need to go for fixed braces.

To find out what is most suitable for you (lingual braces or Invisalign clear aligners); schedule an appointment with us today. Call us on 020 71834091 for an appointment with us.

lingual braces design

Braces comparison

The following is a simple comparison for the three types of braces already discussed above

  1. Lingual braces
  • Appearance: generally hidden behind the teeth
  • Estimated cost: £1500-£10,000 depending on the severity of your dental condition and the type of lingual braces used
  • Treatment length: treatment length will normally range between 12-18 months
  • Appointment frequency: 6-8 weeks depending on your dentist’s preference and your dental condition
  • Appointment duration: 30 minutes
  • Cleaning may require special effort
  1. Invisalign aligner
  • Estimated cost for treatment: £1500- £5,500
  • Appearance: barely noticeable
  • Treatment type: suitable for 90% of all dental misalignments
  • Treatment length: 12-18 months
  • Appointment frequency: 4-6 weeks depending on the severity of your condition
  • Appointment duration: 15-20 minutes
  • Cleaning: clear aligners can be removed to clean the teeth properly
  1. Traditional metal braces

Estimated cost: treatment cost will normally range from £1500-£3000

  • Appearance: easily noticed
  • Treatment type: suitable for all cases
  • Treatment length: treatment length generally depends on how severe your misalignments are. However, the treatment period will typically range from 12-18 months
  • Appointment frequency: 6-8 weeks
  • Appointment duration: 15minutes
  • Cleaning: require special attention and effort to clean properly

Just like we have stated earlier, lingual braces are much more expensive than other treatment options for misaligned teeth, and they require longer appointments. However, if you are looking for braces that are barely noticeable but don’t cost as much as lingual braces, then Invisalign aligners should be your best shot.

Types of lingual braces

Once you have chosen a type of brace or treatment option you would like to go with, you will need to choose between various brands of lingual braces.

  • Incognito lingual braces

They are made from a gold alloy. Because of this attribute, there are little or no chances of an allergic reaction. The cost of incognito braces in the UK will normally range from £4000 and above for a full set.

  • Self-ligating lingual systems

Wearers of lingual braces can also take advantage of self-ligating technology with wire. This system automatically adjusts the teeth in a gradual process until they are properly straightened. This allows for a more comfortable experience when compared to other means of tightening the teeth every few weeks.

  • Non-custom lingual systems

This would normally be the best shot for patients who wants to straighten their teeth discreetly but can’t afford the high price tag that is often attached to custom-made lingual braces. Nevertheless, this style of lingual braces will be more effective for patients with mildly misaligned teeth. For more severe cases, it is recommended that you go for a custom-made brand to ensure your teeth are properly straightened

Is lingual braces always expensive?

Just like any other type of dental treatment, lingual braces can vary greatly. Depending on your area, the severity of your dental misalignment, and the type of lingual braces chosen, the price of lingual braces may vary largely. That being said, the cost of your treatment will normally correspond with the cost of living in a given area, as well as the price of running a business in that location. Hence, lingual braces may cost more in London, when compared to other parts of the country.

lingual braces looks

Different ways to save money on hidden braces

  • Look beyond your local dental surgery: Since the price of lingual braces can vary significantly in different locations, getting quotes from several dentists should be able to save you hundreds of pounds. However, when choosing your location, ensure you keep the distance close enough since you will need regular checkups during your treatment process.
  • Mix and match: One of the best ways to save money on your orthodontic treatment is to mix and match. In other words, you can decide to have braces behind the teeth on your top arch which are often noticed, while clear or traditional metal braces are fitted on the lower arch. In cases where you need only minor tooth correction, another thing to consider is to have your lingual braces fitted in the front teeth which are commonly noticed than other parts of the teeth.
  • Ask your orthodontist for cheaper alternatives: Depending on what you want to achieve, you can ask your orthodontist for other more affordable options to lingual braces. For example, if your primary concern is hiding the fact that you are getting your teeth straightened, there are other cheaper alternatives you can always opt for. Ceramic braces and Invisalign braces are less noticeable than metal braces. You can also ask your orthodontists for different brands that are less expensive and why they are recommended.
  • Ask for payment plans: You can ask your orthodontist for payment plans they offer. Although this may not reduce the treatment cost, it is sure a better way to make the treatment more affordable
  • Insurance plans: Insurance plans are surely another way to cut your cost. If you have an ongoing dental insurance plan, you should check if your plan covers part of the cost of your orthodontic treatment. However, basic insurance plans may cover essential dental work, but orthodontics patients with premium plan may be eligible for a broader dental work.

The treatment procedure for lingual braces

Now that we have been able to walk you through the nitty-gritty of all that lingual braces entails, let us also look at what the treatment process entails. The treatment will normally follow the procedures below.

  • After you have scheduled an appointment with an orthodontist, the first thing your orthodontist will do is to create a dental impression of your teeth. This is usually done with the help of your orthodontist using a dental mould
  • For standardised brackets, the bracket should be ready to fit in while for braces that are custom-made, your dental impressions will be taken and sent off to a laboratory where your unique braces are created. This process will typically take approximately six weeks, and then they are ready to be fitted.
  • Next, your dentist uses dental cement to securely affix each bracket to the correct tooth. This process may be spread over two visits.
  • You will have routine checkups every six to eight weeks. During these checkups, your orthodontist will check the progress of your treatment to ensure your teeth are straightened as expected.

Lingual wearers may experience some discomfort when their braces are initially fitted, but as time goes, they adjust soon enough. Orthodontist’s wax can also be used to cover the parts which are known to continually irritate the tongue.

Some lingual wearers may also develop a lisp after their braces are fitted but this usually disappears after a few days

Caring for lingual braces

When you have dental braces on, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene. This will help mitigate against tooth decay and gingivitis that might creep in. Brush and floss your teeth twice a day regularly for at least two to three minutes, this will help remove anything that might get caught in the braces. Sometimes, oral irrigation device can also be used to get rid of stubborn food particles that might get stocked around the brackets and other areas in the teeth.

Conclusion

With an increasing interest in lingual braces, orthodontists and dental professionals are beginning to look into this treatment option as another effective alternative to both traditional and ceramic braces. However, not all dental professionals are experienced when it comes to fitting braces behind the teeth. Be sure to seek the help of an experienced orthodontist

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