If the thought of completely hiding your braces sounds great to you, lingual braces may be your perfect match. Lingual braces attach to the backs of your teeth instead of the front, making them virtually invisible. Not only are lingual braces hidden from view, but they also are very capable of correcting most misalignments of the teeth. This makes them a good fit for anyone with major dental crowding, spacing, or a bad bite. This guide gives you the information you need to decide if lingual braces are right for you.
Why Lingual Braces?
Lingual braces were developed in response to demand for metal braces that are more discreet than conventional metal braces. They first became available in the early 80s, and today there are several major brands of lingual braces to meet the needs of patients with various wants and needs.
Lingual Braces Options
When you go to get lingual braces put on by an orthodontist, they may offer brackets that are custom-made to fit your teeth or standard “one-size-fits-all” lingual brackets.
Custom Lingual Braces
Incognito is the most popular customizable brand of lingual braces. They are customized to fit along the backs of your teeth perfectly: your orthodontist will take impressions or scans of your teeth, and they will order brackets that follow the curves of your teeth. The Incognito brackets are made of gold, so they will not trigger a nickel allergy.
The company that makes Incognito braces also makes Incognito Lite, which is the same technology as Incognito braces, but Incognito Lite only straighten your front teeth. Incognito Lite may be a good option for someone who only needs to straighten their front teeth and does not have any problems with their bite.
Standard Lingual Braces
Not all orthodontists offer special brands of lingual braces like Incognito. In this case, you will be offered prefabricated “one-size-fits-all” brackets that your orthodontist will attach to the backs of your teeth. Because “one-size-fits all” brackets are not custom-ordered to fit perfectly along the backs of your teeth, they may cause more discomfort than Incognito braces, but they will be just as effective in moving your teeth discreetly.
How Lingual Braces Work
All lingual braces pull and tilt the teeth from behind. If you go for custom-fitted lingual brackets like Incognito, your orthodontist will be able to shift the teeth with more precision than with standard lingual brackets.
What Getting Lingual Braces is Like
The experience of having lingual braces placed by an orthodontist varies depending on the type of lingual braces you choose.
If you opt for standard brackets, your orthodontist will be able to place your braces in one visit. This will minimize treatment time. On the other hand, if you go for custom Incognito braces, your orthodontist have to wait for your custom brackets to be made before you can start your treatment.
No matter what type of lingual braces you choose, you will need to return to your orthodontists’ office regularly (usually every 4-6 weeks) to have your braces adjusted.
You will most likely need to wear your lingual braces for at least a year.
Experience of Wearing Lingual Braces
Braces behind the teeth are convenient to wear, with few downsides.
With lingual braces, the only thing you have to worry about is keeping the braces clean and secure, so as long as you don’t eat something extremely chewy or crunchy, you’re good to go! When you have traditional metal braces, you have to worry about not staining your front teeth during treatment. Since the brackets are behind the teeth with lingual braces, staining is not an issue. Also, no one will know you are straightening your teeth.
Something to consider, however, is that lingual braces are hard to keep clean because the brackets are behind your teeth. You will need to devote additional time to maintaining your lingual braces.
Effectiveness of Lingual Braces
Lingual braces are a highly effective way of treating almost all cases of teeth misalignment. There is only one situation where lingual braces may not be the best option. If you have a severe overbite, lingual braces may not be the best option because the wires may become loose during treatment. In this case, traditional metal or ceramic braces may be a better option.
Cost of Lingual Braces
You can expect lingual braces to cost between $8,000 to $10,000. Incognito braces will usually cost more than non-branded lingual braces due to custom ordered brackets and the gold material used.
As a comparison, Invisalign usually costs between $4,000 and $6,000, and ceramic or conventional metal braces usually cost between $3,000 and $4,500.
Where to get treatment
Only orthodontists provide this treatment for teeth straightening, and even then, most orthodontists don’t offer these special braces. To begin treatment, you need to locate an orthodontist who offers lingual braces in your area and set up a consultation.