WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR SMILE BUT DON’T WISH TO HAVE UNSIGHTLY METAL WORK SEEN IN STANDARD BRACES?
Lingual braces may be a good option for you. These are custom made fixed braces bonded to the back of the teeth making them 100 per cent invisible to others. They are superior in terms of aesthetics compared to all other types of orthodontic appliances including Invisalign.
Braces in general are formed of two components:
- The brackets - The small metal pieces that are attached directly to the teeth
- The arch wires - that connects the brackets together
In lingual braces, the brackets are cemented onto the back side of the teeth making them invisible while in standard braces the brackets are cemented onto the front side of the teeth.
Some disadvantages of lingual braces are:
- Discomfort to the tongue especially for lower lingual braces
- Much more complicated for the orthodontist because of the small space available
- Most expensive type of orthodontic appliance
The adaption period can range from one week to three months. The newer types of lingual braces (e.g Harmony) are digitally customised to reduce profile and improve comfort.
The discomfort will be greatest in the initial two to three days but tapers off within weeks. Pain will be felt if ulcers develop due to friction between tongue and braces. Some patients will be most tempted to give up during the initial two to three days. However, after this initial period, the soft tissues of the mouth will begin to rapidly adapt to the braces and the subsequent discomfort will be minimal and tolerable.
The lingual braces are more uncomfortable on the lower jaw because of tongue movements during speech and mastication. In terms of aesthetic advantage, the upper lingual is superior to the lower lingual because the upper teeth are exposed much more during speech and smiling. If the patient wants to experience minimal discomfort and does not mind exposing a little of the lower braces during speech and smiling, then upper lingual and lower visible braces can be done just as successfully.
Lingual braces should be just as successful in any patient compared to visible braces. The main considerations for successful orthodontic treatment are healthy teeth, gums and good treatment plan and patient compliance during treatment.
The positive results of wearing braces - whether lingual or traditional - can be from one to three years.