We all want to have a beautiful, healthy smile. Fortunately, we live in a day and age where orthodontic treatments are available, allowing us to correct crooked or overcrowded teeth. Many people do not want to wear the traditional metal braces, feeling self-conscious and fearing what other people might say. Lingual braces serve the same purpose, the difference lying in them being fixed to the back of the teeth. This is called the lingual side, hence the name. Given that they are behind the teeth, most people do not even notice them. If you are interested in discovering more on this topic, do not hesitate to keep on reading.
Lingual braces are commonly made of stainless steel, but modern versions are made of innovative materials, such as titanium. Titanium alloys might be used as well, depending on the dental laboratory.
The cost of lingual braces is influenced by various factors, including the type of braces, dental insurance plans, region, and treatment length. Insurance plans might provide partial coverage for braces, but it is for the best to check with your provider first. As the procedure is more complex than the one for traditional metal braces, you can expect the costs to be higher as well. In addition, lingual braces can nowadays be customized, which automatically translates in higher costs. Depending on the dentist practice and the additional factors presented above, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $13,000 for lingual braces.
Cons of lingual braces
It is worth mentioning that lingual braces might not represent a suitable choice for all patients. For instance, if one has a deep overbite, it is possible that the brackets will pop off frequently, with better alternatives being sought. When it comes to costs, it is important to remember that these are more expensive than traditional braces. They might also take longer to work, so you need to be prepared for the extended treatment duration.
Due to their position, lingual braces might give you a lisp. This is because the tongue touches the back of the teeth when certain sounds are pronounced. The speech will be affected by the lingual braces, but the effect is only temporary. Your tongue will gradually get accustomed to the braces, with the speech returning to normal. In the meantime, you might attempt to correct the lingual lisp, scheduling an appointment with a speech therapist.
Lingual braces can be uncomfortable, but most patients gradually accept this side-effect. Some might need pain relieving medication to deal with the dull ache caused by these braces. The effect might be more intense during the first days, with the orthodontist recommending you eat only soft foods. You might also experience tongue pain, due to the location of the brackets. A pain relief gel might help with such issues.
Pros of lingual braces
Lingual braces can correct alignment issues, just like traditional metal braces. However, they are not as visible, as they are placed on the lingual part of the teeth. For those who are worried about their appearance, this is a significant advantage to consider. Most bite problems can be correct with these braces.
Modern lingual braces are not smaller in the size and smoother, two changes that have greatly improved the level of comfort. In addition, it is possible to customize the brackets, in order to minimize any potential discomfort. To make the discomfort or pain less pronounced, the orthodontist might recommend you apply a small amount of wax over the sharp edges of the brackets. However, if you still feel uncomfortable, you might want to schedule an appointment with the specialist and inquire about potential solutions.
Another advantage is that lingual braces can be worn by both children and adults. They are also known as hidden braces, but they are made just like traditional braces, with brackets and wires. For instance, those who play contact sports might benefit from such braces, as well as those who play wind instruments, such as flutes. As always, the treatment choice depends on each individual case, and most importantly on the actual teeth alignment.
How does the procedure work?
First, the orthodontist will perform an initial assessment, in order to determine your oral health status and the best line of treatment. Lingual braces can only be applied on healthy teeth, so you might need to have other dental treatments first. Several appointments might be necessary, with the wires being tightened and adjusted every few weeks, until the desired result is achieved.
The orthodontist will apply a special gel and a bit of cement to the back of the teeth, applying the brackets afterwards. A strong arch wire will be threated through the respective brackets. Over time, the wire will actually pull back to its original shape, which will cause the teeth to shift in the right position. The teeth are no longer crooked, with a visible improvement whereas the dental arch is concerned. Depending on the severity of one's misalignment, the lingual braces might be worn between several months and two years. The first differences are usually noticed within a few months.
If you are not certain whether lingual braces are right for you or not, be sure to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist. The specialist will describe the procedure in detail, highlighting the benefits. Keep in mind that lingual braces can serve the same purpose as traditional metal braces, especially when it comes to alignment issues.
The answer is yes. There are two types of lingual braces, each serving different purposes. The social lingual braces are mostly recommended as a “cosmetic fix”, correcting small gaps. With such braces, the front teeth are often straightened, with the results becoming visible within months. The standard lingual braces are recommended for misaligned or overcrowded teeth, with the treatment taking up to two years. Gapped teeth might also be corrected with standard lingual braces. These are designed to straighten the whole mouth or a whole arch if necessary.
The aftercare process is highly important, as it can make a genuine difference whereas the success of the treatment is concerned. You might have to avoid specific foods, particularly those that are either hard or crunchy. Chewy foods, such as candy or caramels, will have to be avoided as well. You have to pay attention to anything that might damage the braces. The orthodontist might give you a list with allowed and forbidden foods, but anything with sugar should be generally avoided. You do not want for plaque to accumulate around the brackets, causing additional problems.
Especially in the first months of the treatment, you might be recommended to stick with soft foods. Of course, you will have to refrain from consuming crackers, hard cookies, pretzels, ice, gum, sticky and hard candy, nuts, popcorn. Avoid biting into hard foods, as you might cause the braces to come off. Cut your food into small pieces and opt for anything that is soft, including yoghurt, soft fruits, pasta, pureed veggies, etc. It goes without saying, but a healthy diet will also help you maintain excellent oral health. In turn, this will support your orthodontic treatment.
Maintaining oral hygiene is excellent while wearing lingual braces. To ensure that your braces work and no dental issues bother you, brush and floss as recommended. The main goal is to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. The orthodontist might give you a special brush to clean the braces, with advice on how to brush and floss around these. Do not forget about the follow-up appointments, as these are necessary to adjust the braces. The discomfort might be present, but you have to think of the bigger picture.
You have to brush your teeth at least two times per day, but for the best results, do it after every meal. This is necessary to remove the food particles from around the brackets and wires. You might also rinse your mouth to remove the larger debris. Brush your teeth gently, so as not to damage the braces. When flossing, do your best to cover all the surfaces of your teeth. For many people, flossing is a challenge, given all the brackets and wires. Remember, practice makes perfect, and flossing can really help you reduce the risk of cavities and other dental problems.
If you fail to take care of your oral health, plaque will accumulate around the brackets and wires, leading to dental issues. Aside from cavities, you might deal with bad breath, permanent staining, and swollen gums. A professional cleaning procedure might help, with the dentist using special tools to remove the tartar from hard-to-reach places. You might ask your orthodontist about prevention measures, so as to keep the risk of decalcification, periodontitis, and gingivitis down to a minimum. If you have noticed such changes, be sure to schedule an appointment with the special. You might need other dental treatments to keep your teeth healthy.
Frequently asked questions
If the overbite is significant, you might be recommended alternative treatment options. However, if the issue is not severe, the orthodontist can advise you to wear lingual braces. These can fix the overbite gradually, as pressure is applied on specific teeth, causing them to shift in the desired position.
Do I have to use rubber bands as well?
To guarantee that the teeth shift into the desired position, it might be necessary to use rubber bands as well. You will have to visit the orthodontist, so as to learn the correct way to apply these bands. The specialist will also give you instructions on how these should be used. For instance, the rubber bands will have to be removed when eating or brushing, in order to reduce the risk of them snapping.
Do I need to replace the lingual braces?
Lingual braces are made to last the entire treatment duration, being strong enough to resist the forces resulting from biting and chewing. You can ensure their resistance by following the advice of your orthodontist, both in terms of diet and oral hygiene.
Do lingual braces improve oral health as well?
Yes, they do. Once you will correct the misalignment, overbite, or gapped teeth, you will reduce the risk of dental issues as well. You might not be aware of this for a fact, but misaligned teeth are associated with an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. They might lead to speaking or eating problems, jaw pain, headaches, and insomnia. With lingual braces, you can actually make all these problems go away.
What are some of the recommended foods to eat while wearing lingual braces?
As previously mentioned, soft foods are best for those who wear lingual braces. First, these do not require hard biting, being gentle on the braces. Second, they do not involve excessive or prolonged chewing, which is another advantage to consider. Suggested options might include any of the following: soup, cheese, mashed potatoes, pureed veggies, bread, pasta, rice, pudding, and pancakes.
Straight teeth, better self-esteem?
Numerous studies have confirmed that patients who have worn lingual braces felt more confident after the treatment was completed. Straight teeth can have an amazing effect whereas one self-esteem is concerned. In simple terms, a healthy smile equals confidence. Patients are satisfied that they no longer have to worry about the appearance of their teeth, enjoying their new smile to the fullest. They might also be more open when it comes to speaking and interacting with other people.
In conclusion, lingual braces can help you correct misalignments, reducing the risk of additional dental issues. The main advantage is that they are placed on the lingual part of the teeth, so they are not visible to other people. Like with traditional braces, one will have to visit the orthodontist for adjustments, with the treatment period extending up to two years. Patients will have to maintain excellent oral hygiene and pay attention to their diet, avoiding certain foods.
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