The very first braces were created nearly 300 years ago, flat pieces of metal connected to one another with a thread. Modern technology has tremendously improved its design in recent years, making braces more effective, more durable, more comfortable to wear, and less visible. In response to people increasingly wanting “invisible” braces to improve their smiles, today there are a number of alternatives to traditional braces. You may have heard of clear aligners like Invisalign, or even clear ceramic braces, but there may be some options you aren’t familiar with, such as lingual braces.
What Are Lingual Braces?
Lingual braces work exactly the same way as traditional metal braces, with brackets affixed directly to the teeth and connected by wires. However, lingual braces have one very unique difference: They are placed on the backs of the teeth facing the tongue, rendering them almost completely invisible.
Despite their special placement, lingual braces correct teeth misalignment in the same way as traditional braces, by putting consistent but light pressure on the teeth to gradually move them. The metal wires do most of the actual moving, while the brackets have the important function of holding those wires in place.
Lingual vs. Traditional Braces: What’s The Difference?
For all their similarities to traditional metal braces, lingual braces do have some distinct differences that should be taken into consideration.
- Placement – Aside from the fact that lingual braces sit behind the teeth, they also differ from traditional braces in how they’re actually placed. Where traditional braces are made of standard-sized brackets that are placed on each individual tooth, lingual braces are custom-fit to each person’s mouth and all the brackets are placed at once using a specialized tray.
- Adjustment period – There is a bit of discomfort when someone is getting used to wearing any type of orthodontic care. Because lingual braces directly interact with the tongue, it may be difficult to speak and swallow when you first get them, though these challenges lessen over time.
- Day-to-day care – Although keeping your teeth clean is always important – especially when you wear braces – it’s even more so when it comes to lingual braces. Food particles frequently get trapped in the brackets and wires, and because you can’t easily see behind your teeth, more diligence is required when brushing and caring for lingual braces.
Who’s A Good Candidate For Lingual Braces?
The first thing to know when considering lingual braces is that not everyone who wants them is physically able to wear them. The teeth have to be long enough for the brackets to be affixed to their backsides, which rules out many children and in some cases, adults whose teeth are on the smaller side. People with severe bite issues, such as having a deep overbite, are also unable to wear lingual braces.
Lingual braces are an excellent choice for many older children, teens, and adults who are self-conscious about the look of traditional braces. According to Harvard Medical School, one in five people who get braces are adults, which may at least partially explain why lingual braces are growing in popularity.
Ultimately, there are a number of individual factors that contribute to whether or not someone is an ideal candidate for lingual braces, and the best way to determine that is to schedule a consultation with an experienced orthodontist who can help you decide if your lifestyle, oral health, and overall desired results make you a good candidate for lingual braces.
Talking To Your Orthodontist
As you’re comparing lingual and traditional braces for yourself or someone in your family, the most important thing to note is that one is not necessarily better than the other; they are simply different options. Knowing that lingual braces come with increased responsibility in terms of dental hygiene, they are an excellent choice for those patients willing to accept that responsibility.
If you have any questions or are ready to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact Valderrama Orthodontics in Melbourne today. We have flexible appointments to help your family prioritize dental care. We specialize in perfect healthy beautiful smiles and can’t wait to help you with yours! Call us today to get started! 321.425.5050