Lingual Braces are also know as “Behind the Teeth Braces”
Lingual Braces are A Different Approach to a Straighter Smile
Even for kids and teenagers, braces can be a hassle because of how visually obvious they are. Braces usually involve metal brackets adhered to the front of the teeth, with a visible wire connecting them. Clear ceramic brackets are available as an alternative to metal brackets, but the wire is still visible across the teeth. Some patients opt for clear aligners like Invisalign, but there are many dental problems that can’t be corrected effectively with these devices.
Lingual braces are an alternative to traditional braces that aren’t readily visible. Instead of attaching to the fronts of the teeth, the brackets are adhered to the backs, keeping them out of sight. Using braces to correct crowding, crooked teeth, incorrect spacing, overbite, and other dental problems can contribute to higher self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as preventing problems with tooth and jaw pain that can arise later on as a result of incorrect tooth alignment. Lingual braces provide a way to repair your teeth and improve the appearance of your smile, without feeling self-conscious about visible metal in your mouth.
Are Lingual Braces Right for You?
Lingual braces can confer many advantages over traditional types of braces. One of the main benefits is their relative invisibility. With lingual braces, you don’t have to worry about everyone knowing that you have braces. When you smile, it looks the same as ever. This can be especially useful for adults who didn’t have braces as children or teenagers, but who would like to straighten their teeth. Kids and teens have a precedent for wearing metal braces; it’s normal and commonplace for those age groups. On an adult, however, braces are much more uncommon, and so it’s more likely to draw unwanted attention if your smile reveals a mouth full of metal.
Despite their appealing invisibility, lingual braces do have a few challenges that you should be aware of if you’re considering this option. They can be somewhat challenging to glue onto the backs of the teeth, and they may not be the best option for people with particularly small teeth. They’re also not particularly effective for correcting an overbite, although they work very well for correcting misalignment and crowding. They can also be somewhat challenging to clean, and can take some considerable getting used to. As you adjust to your new braces, swallowing and talking may prove difficult at first, although you’ll get used to it fairly quickly. A soft diet is recommended after you first have your braces installed, to help you adjust to chewing with your new hardware in place.
Because lingual braces require smaller, lighter wire, the treatment time can also be slightly longer than it might be with traditional braces. For many patients, their low visual profile is worth that trade-off.
Cleaning and Caring for Your Lingual Braces
Proper cleaning techniques are essential for keeping your lingual braces from accumulating food particles and other debris, which can cause bad breath and bacterial growth. The challenges of cleaning and caring for lingual braces are part of why they’re more well-suited for older teenagers and adult patients than for younger children.
Sticky or fibrous foods are the most likely to get caught in your braces. It might take a while to figure out which foods you’re most comfortable eating. Techiques like cooking or mashing vegetables to soften them can help make fibrous, tough foods more palatable and less likely to get stuck. Other foods may also be too hard to comfortably eat without breaking brackets or wires accidentally. Your dentist can further advise you on what foods you may want to avoid to prevent damage to the braces.
When cleaning your teeth with lingual braces on, it’s important to brush along the gum line, both above and below the braces, to scrub out any material that’s gotten stuck. Toothbrushes with a particularly narrow tip generally work the best for this.
Lingual braces are an alternative to placing braces on the front of your teeth, instead hiding them invisibly on the back against the tongue. They can be relatively high-maintenance, but they’re one of the best options for correcting your bite and tooth alignment without conspicuously visible metal braces in your mouth. Especially for patients with tooth issues that can’t be easily fixed by clear aligners, lingual braces are a great option for invisibly correcting your smile.