For many people, linugal braces are the best of two worlds. They provide an orthodontic treatment option that forces you to be consistent (unlike removable aligners), but is still essentially invisible when worn. However, like all orthodontic treatment options, they have their pros and cons.
What are lingual braces?
Lingual braces are a lot like normal braces. They’re made of metal brackets and wires that are applied to the teeth for a period of months or years. Over time, the move your teeth, straightening them just like traditional braces do.
The (rather clever) difference is that they’re applied to the backs of the teeth, rather than the fronts, hiding them from view almost completely.
Shouldn’t I just get Invisalign clear aligners for an invisible option?
Depending on your personality and specific needs, lingual braces may be a better choice for you than Invisalign aligners.
For one thing, Invisalign can only treat certain, more mild, types of misalignment. Lingual braces can treat more severe malocclusion, but still provides a very low profile aesthetic.
Secondly, although the fact that they’re removable is considered to be one of the benefits of Invisalign aligners (since it makes it much easier to eat, brush and floss), this is only a benefit if you’re consistent in wearing your aligners.
If you think you’re likely to give in to temptation, or forget, and not keep your aligners in for the full 22 hours a day they require, then they may not be the right choice for you. Leaving your aligners out for longer than prescribed will result in treatment setbacks, and may also even damage your teeth.
For both these reasons, Lingual braces may be the best “invisible” option for you.
Some Potential Cons
Aside from appearance, lingual braces provide no other benefits over traditional braces. They straighten teeth in much the same way, and require just about the same treatment duration as well.
Lingual braces can, however, be a bit more expensive than normal braces are in some cases, depending in part on what your insurance covers.
There are also some discomfort issue to contend with. While traditional braces can cause irritation to the inside of the lips and cheeks, as well as the gums, some lingual braces patients have complained of irritation to the tongue.
You may also find lingual braces bit difficult to clean, since it’s a bit awkward getting in there at the backs of your teeth. However, regular braces can be tricky to clean as well, and take some getting used to in that respect, so the difference may be negligible.
Your adjustment appointments may take a bit longer than they would with traditional braces, but not significantly so.
Before making the decision to go for lingual braces, be sure to carefully weigh the above pros and cons. Orthodontic treatment is a big commitment, and you’ll want to choose the very best option for your needs and lifestyle.