Lingual braces

This is a conventional type of metal brace but if differs in one aspect: it is attached to the back surfaces of your teeth which means that it is not visible to anyone that looks.

It is a custom made, fixed type of brace which consists of two elements:

  • The archwires
  • The brackets

This brace is fixed using dental cement to the rear side of your teeth which is a vast improvement on the ugly metal type of brace. One of the things that people find unappealing about braces is that they resemble a set of ‘train tracks’ which not a selling point!

However, the lingual brace is fitted on the back of the teeth, not the front which makes them a more attractive prospect.

What are the differences between the lingual brace and the conventional brace?

The main differences are:

  • Not visible unlike the conventional brace (that is fastened to the front of the teeth)
  • It is more expensive than the conventional brace
  • The brackets have to be custom made, whereas they can be ‘mass produced’ for a conventional brace
  • Not suitable for patients with a small mouth or certain problems with their bite
  • Not recommended for children with milk teeth
  • Lengthy treatment time
  • Not every orthodontist can fit a lingual brace

There are advantages and disadvantages with both types which you have to consider very carefully.

What can a lingual brace treat?

A lingual brace is good at treating ‘malocclusion’ or a ‘bad bite’. It can also treat an overcrowded jaw (too many teeth) or a mouth with too many gaps.

A lingual brace can be fitted on both the upper and lower teeth. However, some people opt for a combination of a lingual brace on the upper teeth and a conventional brace on the lower set.

What is the procedure?

The procedure involves two visits with an interval of 5 days between them.

First visit:

The orthodontist will check over your teeth before taking an impression of them. An impression is created via means of a plastic mould filled with dental putty which you bite into. This mould is used as a template for the dental laboratory to make your brackets. These brackets are then set in wax and placed into a plastic applicator which keeps them perfectly aligned.

Second visit:

On your second visit the orthodontist will apply dental cement to the brackets before fixing them in place. He or she will use the plastic applicator to do so which will snap off once the cement has hardened.

He/she will thread the archwire through the brackets which will help to move the teeth into their designated position.

And afterwards?

You may find that your mouth feels sore or swollen afterwards. This is entirely normal and will disappear once you have adapted to the brace.

Many patients find that they slur or lisp to start with but, this too will ease and you will speak as normal.

It can take up to 4 weeks to become used to a lingual brace. Your orthodontist will best advise you about this.

What should I do after the procedure?

You may notice that your speech is affected so try speaking more slowly and clearly. Rinse the mouth out with salt water to ease any discomfort and eat soft foods only for the first few days.

Follow a normal daily oral hygiene routine and have regular check ups.

How long does the treatment take?

This can take from a year up to 3 years.

If this seems too long then consider a quicker form of treatment such as ‘6 month smiles’ or Invisalign Express.

Other alternatives include Damon braces, Invu braces and Inman aligners.

Learn more about orthodontics….

Orthodontics Index:

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