Braces come in many different options as the world of orthodontics continues to grow. As patients understand the difference in the many types of braces available, more and more patients are jumping into orthodontic treatment. The stigma that has developed over the years, as image becomes increasingly important to society, centers around the idea of metal mouth. But, with the new options available for braces, metal mouth is becoming a thing of the past. While Invisalign, clear braces, and traditional braces are well known by most patients, lingual braces, also known as inside braces, are a bit of a mystery to new orthodontic patients. So, what do you need to know when considering lingual braces?
What Are They?
Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth by a patient’s tongue and palate. Like braces, they apply gentle, continuous pressure to move teeth into the desired place. Depending on the severity of overcrowding or bites problems from one patient to another, lingual braces usually take anywhere from 18 to 36 months to achieve the desired result. The longer process associated with lingual braces is partly due to the six week wait required to customize the brackets. The process begins when dental impressions that are taken are sent to the laboratory so custom brackets can be constructed. Once they are made, braces are cemented to the back of a patient’s teeth.
Are There Limits to Lingual Braces?
There are special requirements that need to be considered when considering lingual braces. First, not all orthodontists offer lingual braces because training and technical expertise are needed to be able to apply the braces. Because lingual braces are custom made, their use in treatment is more expensive than many other orthodontic treatment options because of the cost of the materials required. In addition to expense being higher, treatment is more involved. Each tooth requires installment of brackets and arch wires, which is more time consuming than installing traditional braces.
Do Lingual Braces Hurt?
The brands of lingual braces available vary in comfort because they differ in design and in how they are attached to the teeth. Among the most popular brands are: Incognito, iBraces, In-Ovation, STb Light Lingual System, and Suresmile Lingual QT. The main complaint of patients using inside braces is irritation that occurs on the tongue, making it tender. Use of dental wax has been proven to be an effective treatment. In addition to tenderness from irritation, speaking clearly and enunciating words can be difficult for some patients. In general, complaints about the comfort of lingual braces are limited. As with most areas of dental treatment, practicing good oral hygiene can reduce your risk of discomfort. Remember the basics:
Brush twice a day.
Use a soft bristled brush and concentrate around the gum line.
If available, use an oral irrigation device to flush out tooth debris.
Rinse with a fluoride rinse to strengthen your teeth.
Professional cleanings are particularly critical in lingual braces because your view is obstructed, making it harder to notice any buildup. Although they are more expensive and treatment time can inflict a temporary inconvenience on your life, lingual braces are worth the result when you look at your perfected smile in the mirror.