Am I a Good Candidate for Lingual Braces?
Today’s orthodontic treatments are a lot more diverse than you remember from your youth. While metal braces are still very common, there are a lot more options than there used to be. One of those other options is lingual braces, which are braces that are adhered to the back of your teeth (the lingual or tongue side) instead of the front of the teeth making them less visible, practically invisible.
With lingual braces, the brackets, wires and even the elastics are all mounted to the back of your teeth, which is a desirous option if you don’t want people to know you are wearing braces. Whether you are a teenager who worries about peer pressure or an adult who has a career where appearance is an important factor, lingual braces are a way to get the treatment you need to correct your smile without other people having to know about it.
However, despite these positive points and the fact that is very similar in technique to traditional metal braces, lingual braces are not for everybody. You need to ask, am I a good candidate for lingual braces?
Here are a few things you should consider:
Comes Down to Bite
While most bite problems can be fixed just as well with lingual braces as with those that adhere to the outside of the teeth, there may be concerns with using lingual braces with a deep overbite. This is because the overbite might bear too much pressure on the brackets and cause them to fall off easily. After an evaluation, your orthodontist will be better equipped to tell if this is a problem that concerns you.
Drawbacks Vary Person to Person
Like with anything there are always some drawbacks to consider, but they tend to vary and are not always a deal breaker. Here are some issues you may or may not have:
Difficulties with speech. Because the braces are on the inside of your teeth, it will feel a little strange at first and you may experience some speech difficulty like a lisp or a whistling sound until you get used to them. This is because your tongue usually makes contact with the backs of your teeth as you create sounds. Your tongue however will eventually train itself to find a different place in the mouth.
Your best bet is to practice reading out loud and talking out loud until you feel like your speech is back to normal. There is a small percentage of people who will continue to have speech difficulty throughout the treatment period. Talk to your orthodontist about any risk factors you should be aware of.
Sore tongue. Because your tongue will be hitting up against your new braces a lot in the beginning, your tongue may hurt or start to develop sores. Your tongue will eventually toughen up, but in the meantime there are certain things you can do to soothe the pain. You can rinse your mouth in warm saltwater to help it heal or use an over-the counter medicine that has an anesthetic that can temporarily numb your tongue. Other things that can help include putting orthodontic wax over the sharp edges of the brackets or putting silicone pads over the braces.
Limited to what you can eat. Like with metal braces, there are certain foods that your orthodontist will recommend that you avoid while you are wearing lingual braces. Stay away from foods that are hard and very crunchy or those that are very sticky. Food stuck behind your teeth can be extra challenging to reach. Also, to avoid damaging your braces, it is best to always cut up your food into smaller pieces and avoid hard or sticky candy or gum.
Cleaning your teeth properly takes extra effort. Because the braces are on the back of your teeth, it can be harder to get rid of all the food and plaque stuck between your teeth and between your braces. An electric toothbrush can help and so can specialty dental flosses. Ask your orthodontist for a demonstration of the best way to clean your teeth and gums while wearing lingual braces.
Lingual braces can also be more expensive than other techniques depending on your dental insurance coverage. If money is an issue, then you may want to stick to the traditional metal braces which are often less expensive. It doesn’t hurt though to ask about payment options if you really would prefer the lingual braces.
Not everyone is going to have all these issues though. The good news is that the technology used in creating lingual braces is improving every day. The brackets have gotten a lot smaller and also more rounded and smoother to the touch so they will cause less tongue irritation. Also everyone’s experience is very individualized and what may bother one person may not be an issue for you. If you know someone who currently wears lingual braces or wore them in the past, ask them about their experiences with it and would they recommend this type of braces to others.
If keeping your braces invisible is of utmost importance than lingual braces is definitely worth consideration. There are also other less noticeable orthodontic options are available as well. There is Invisalign which are removable, clear plastic aligners as well as ceramic braces that are tooth-colored and so blend in better to your teeth.
Make sure you thoroughly research all options before making any final decisions. Talk to your orthodontist about the pros and cons of each and ask which technique will get the best results for your particular situation.
Also remember that not all orthodontists specialize in lingual braces. Lingual braces require special training so make sure you choose someone who is skilled in the more complex wire bending that is required with this type of braces.
Finally, no matter which type of braces you choose, following good oral hygiene is essential to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout the treatment process. Floss and brush your teeth, gums and braces twice a day daily.
Want to learn more about lingual braces? Contact Orthodontics Limited for more information.