Lingual braces: everything you need to know

Did you know that about 200,000 people in the UK  undergo Orthodontic treatment each year to get a beautiful, healthy smile? But many others would like to get their teeth straightened as well. However, they have a significant obstacle in front of them; Having to wear metal braces which some people dislike!

But thanks to modern cosmetic dentistry, metal braces are not the only options available to straighten your teeth! There are now less conspicuous treatment options available that are virtually invisible and won’t affect your smile and facial esthetics. If the thought of wearing regular metal braces doesn’t sound appealing, then the lingual braces are the perfect alternative treatment option for you.

Lingual Braces Versus Regular Braces

Lingual braces are essentially similar in design to the conventional metal and ceramic braces. What sets them apart from the conventional braces is that instead of being attached to the front surfaces of the teeth, they are bonded to the inner or the “lingual” surfaces of the teeth. As a result, the lingual braces are virtually invisible. They offer superior aesthetics and convenience in comparison to regular braces. Also known as the “incognito” braces, the lingual braces remain fixed to your teeth. Unlike the Invisalign aligners, they do not have to be removed whenever you eat or brush your teeth.

Eating with Lingual Braces

Owing to their location closer to the tongue, the lingual braces can pose specific challenges while eating and drinking. Generally, you should avoid hard and sticky foods as they may get entangled within the braces and result in their dislodgment.

Here are some foods that are not suitable for eating while you’re wearing braces:

  • Nuts
  • Whole apples
  • Corn on the cob
  • Sticky sweets or caramel, of course!
  • Bagels
  • Raw carrots
  • Beef jerky

The idea is to eat a soft diet such as yogurt, pasta, and soft vegetables, especially during the initial few weeks of your treatment. While it is ok to enjoy your favorite “meaty” foods orsweets once in a while, eating them regularly can affect your treatment outcome. More importantly, don’t forget to brush your teeth after you have eaten! We also recommend an interdental brush that offers better cleaning efficiency in regions where the bristles of a regular toothbrush cannot penetrate.

Although the removable Invisalign aligners offer more convenience in eating as they can be removed, they are not as effective in treating moderate to complex problems as the conventional and lingual braces.

Lingual Braces for Overbite, Crossbite and Other Orthodontic Problems

A deep bite is a condition in which there is excessive vertical overlapping of the upper teeth over the lower ones. Not only is this condition an aesthetic concern, but it can also seriously affect one’s dental health as brushing and cleaning become difficult. Lingual braces are one of the most effective options for treating complex orthodontic problems, including an overbite, crossbite, crowded teeth, and excessive teeth gaps. Similarly, if we compare the lingual braces with the Invisalign removable aligners, then the lingual braces can treat a broader range of orthodontic problems.

What’s the difference between an underbite, overjet and overbite?

What's the difference between an underbites, overjet and overbite

Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces

Pros of Lingual Braces

Lingual braces offer several advantages over the conventional fixed metal brackets or Invisalign aligners:

  • Inconspicuous – the lingual braces are bonded to the inner surfaces of the teeth. As a result, they are not visible whenever you speak or smile – and they do not affect your smile and appearance.
  • Won’t Affect Activities – a common problem with conventional braces is that they hinder various musical activities like playing the flute, saxophone, or any other instrument that requires direct mouth contact. Lingual braces eliminate this problem. Our own orthodontist, Dr Richard Williams plays the French horn and had orthodontics without it affecting his horn playing, he understands the practical problems with orthodontics and playing a wind instrument.
  • Lesser Chances of Misplacing – unlike the Invisalign aligners, the lingual braces and the conventional metal brackets remain fixed to your teeth. While the Invisalign aligners can be easily misplaced or broken, the chances of losing your lingual braces are highly unlikely.

Lingual Braces Disadvantages:

While the lingual braces overcome a lot of the discrepancies of the conventional fixed braces, they do have disadvantages as well. Some cons of the lingual braces are:

  • Not Suitable for Every Patient – not every patient is a suitable candidate for getting lingual braces. Moreover, lingual braces cannot treat all cases.
  • Oral Hygiene Issues – when the braces are attached to the inner side of the teeth, it is difficult to visualize and remove food particles that adhere to the teeth. As a result, the lingual braces demand stricter oral hygiene measures to minimize the chances of developing teeth cavities or gum problems.
  • Discomfort – one of the most common problems when you wear lingual braces is the injury to the tongue caused by the sharp edges of the braces, especially during the early days of use. However, you don’t need to worry! this is a temporary problem, and your tongue will soon get used to it.
  • Expertise – not every dentist is trained to treat orthodontic problems with braces, as it requires additional certification and training such is provided by a specialist orthodontist.
  • Cost – the lingual braces cost more than the regular braces.

Can you have a Lisp with Lingual Braces?

Lingual braces, like the conventional metal and ceramic braces, can create problems while speaking. One of these problems is the obvious lisp when you speak. This happens because the braces interfere with the unrestricted movement of the tongue to form and pronounce words clearly. The good news is that this problem is temporary; within a few days, your tongue will get used to the braces, and you won’t have any problems with speech.

When it comes to getting your teeth straightened, the lingual braces are an aesthetically attractive and effective option. If you’re thinking about getting your crooked teeth and smile fixed with lingual braces, let us know and take a step towards your dream smile!