If the thoughts of traditional metal braces to straighten your teeth don’t sound appealing, you’ll be glad to know you aren’t out of options. Lingual braces provide an alternative that is changing the world of orthodontics.
But what exactly are lingual braces and how much do they cost?
Simply put, lingual braces look just like traditional metal ones but are placed behind your teeth out of the public eye to give you a more discreet smile-correcting experience.
We explore this relatively unknown orthodontic treatment option and give you all the facts to help you make an informed decision.
What are Lingual Braces?
Lingual braces – also known as “inside” braces – are teeth straightening treatment that has proven to be popular with adults thanks to the fact that they’re practically invisible.
To help keep your treatment concealed, lingual braces are attached to the inside of the teeth rather than the outside, making them invisible when you smile.
Lingual braces are custom-made for your teeth. The orthodontist takes an accurate impression or digital scan of your teeth, which is then used to create customized wires and brackets that will snugly fit along the line of your teeth and help to gradually move them into the desired position.
How Are Lingual Braces Applied?
Sometimes called hidden braces or incognito braces, lingual braces use the same hardware and straightening methods as traditional “outside” braces. Incognito braces are applied to the teeth, unlike invisible braces that you must remove when brushing your teeth or eating. In addition, lingual braces take about the same amount of time to correct your dental problem that other braces do.
The application process stays pretty much the same, along with similar food and beverage rules that you must follow with regular braces. That means gum, hard foods, and popcorn should still stay out of your diet until your braces come off.
Incognito Lingual Braces
As with toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste, braces also come in different brands. For instance, Incognito Hidden Braces, a popular choice among orthodontists, are easily customized by the orthodontist to ensure the lingual braces work to fix your unique problem. Regardless of what brand your orthodontist chooses, you should realize that each patient’s experience with braces will look different based on whatever issue needs correcting. Incognito braces help deliver a wide range of treatments for every viable candidate.
Incognito braces are formed specifically to fit each patient’s teeth. Once the brackets are fabricated, the orthodontist cements them into place all at once. To get measurements, your orthodontist will take impressions of your teeth and send them to the fabrication company.
From there, your orthodontist will create a mockup of what your teeth should look like after wearing braces. The company will create your brackets and wire based on the detail in the impressions.
To put this in perspective, getting conventional braces applied looks much different. The brackets are usually stock parts, rather that custom fabricated ones. The brackets are then individually set in place on the patient’s teeth.
Incognito braces were first developed over 40 years ago, and there have been many advances made since the first application. Companies are now creating smaller brackets to lessen the irritation.
How will lingual braces affect my lifestyle?
While lingual braces might be a subtler option than traditional “outside” braces, they are still braces! Therefore you will still have some restrictions when it comes to the foods you can eat throughout your treatment.
The wire might be made of metal but it is not indestructible, so you should always take care when consuming anything particularly hard or chewy as this can bend or break the wire. You will need to be sure to gently brush the teeth and gums twice a day and floss to remove any food build up that can cause plaque to form.
How much do Lingual braces cost?
Lingual braces tend to cost more than traditional braces because they’re an entirely custom solution that has been made in a dental laboratory to perfectly fit your teeth. Treatment with lingual braces also requires more frequent appointments and much longer appointment times than regular braces, thus also increasing the cost. A full 18 – 36-month treatment will be more expensive than traditional “outside” braces, however, the costs will vary on a case-by-case basis.
The only way to assess your suitability for lingual braces and get an accurate quote for the cost of treatment is to first have a face to face consultation with an orthodontist so that they can closely assess your needs, concerns and treatment expectations.
Advantages of Braces Behind Teeth
The most obvious advantage to the braces behind teeth approach is the fact that they’re virtually invisible. Unless someone closely watches you speak, they will never know your mouth houses braces.
Something that many people don’t consider when deciding on braces is the sign of decalcification. If you have poor oral hygiene, your teeth stand a higher chance of showing white spots on the buccal side of your teeth if you choose traditional braces.
Lingual braces can help a variety of dental issues, so there’s a strong chance you would be a candidate for hidden braces. Orthodontists will give consideration to your unique bite condition, but most children and adults find lingual braces present a viable solution.
Are there any drawbacks to Lingual braces?
As appealing as it sounds to avoid flashing a metal-filled smile while your teeth get straight, are lingual braces the right choice for you?
Let look at the various pros and cons before you decide. The advantages are obvious, but lingual braces are not the end-all solution for many braces candidates.
Many patients who have tried hidden braces complained about tongue irritation from the constant contact between metal and tongue. Even with the smaller bracket profile developed to lessen this irritation still does not eliminate it completely. Some patients have also reported pain or discomfort while wearing hidden braces that they never fully got used to.
You may find your speech temporarily changes as you get used to having incognito braces. Typically, any speech impairments dissipate after 2-3 weeks of wearing the braces.
Adding braces behind teeth, rather than in front, can create hygiene and cleanliness issues you wouldn’t experience otherwise. With front-facing braces, you can better determine if you have food stuck in your brackets, and clean accordingly. It’s much more difficult to clean hidden braces since you can’t see areas that need attention.
Despite the fact that incognito braces look and act much like traditional braces, they cost quite a bit more than both regular braces and Invisalign.
Not every orthodontist will offer lingual braces, as the procedure requires additional training and certification. If you decide lingual braces provide your best option, you will need to find an orthodontist who is specially trained to apply them.