If you still haven’t made up your mind about which type of braces are esthetically appropriate for you, you should know that there are different braces in orthodontics that can straighten teeth depending on each person’s treatment and age. Children may go for colorful elastomeric ties or Mini-Twin braces. Teenagers have also the choice of esthetic braces with clear wires and removable clear aligners.

On the other side, adults usually look for some type of braces that are invisible and don’t show that they are under treatment. They may even go far and give up wearing braces and do not follow their orthodontic treatment. Ceramic braces, clear aligners, and lingual braces are some of the orthodontic ways to treat teeth irregularities and malocclusion. In this article, we are going to talk about lingual in orthodontics.

What are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are a set of braces that are fixed on the back surface of the teeth, the side toward your tongue. These braces are different from the conventional braces you see most people wearing, which are attached to the front (labial) surface of the teeth. If you want to get esthetic braces, lingual braces are a great option to choose.

Lingual braces in orthodontics have gained popularity in recent years because of the invisibility characteristics of this type of braces. Your friends don’t know that you are wearing braces at all unless you open your mouth widely.

What is lingual orthodontics?

Lingual orthodontics means attachment of lingual on the back of the teeth. Lingual means the side of the tongue in orthodontics and labial means the side of the lips. So anytime you hear lingual, it refers to the application of orthodontic appliances on the back surface of the teeth in the mouth.

What are the types of lingual braces in orthodontics?

With new technology come better and perfect systems and types of appliances in orthodontics. Therefore, past difficulties and flaws have been considered in making up-to-date braces.

The main types are:

  • Incognito
  • WIN lingual system
  • Suresmile lingual system
  • Harmony

What are the steps in lingual braces?

Steps of any orthodontic braces start with an oral examination by the orthodontist. Teeth and jaw positions are checked and photographs are taken of the face. Orthodontists will give you information about the kind of treatment, treatment time, and the type of orthodontic appliance. They check if you need removable orthodontics or fixed braces. Orthodontists also will provide the most esthetic options for wearing braces and your demand is always a priority.

If you prefer lingual orthodontics like most adults do, orthodontists will start the steps of lingual braces:

  • If extraction or restoration of a certain tooth is necessary, the dentist will extract or restore the tooth before starting the orthodontics
  • Laser scans of the cast of the teeth is done to show exactly the normal position of teeth and for perfect placement of the lingual braces
  • Orthodontists then take a wax pattern of the teeth. The wax pattern allows the accurate fabrication of each custom-made bracket pads and location (pads are used to attach the brackets to the surface of teeth and are usually made from precious metals like gold)
  • In newer lingual braces, 3-D printing technology is used in the production of the brackets and alloys in pads
  • Now comes the robot and wire bending and set up of the different tools for the lingual braces
  • Finally, the lingual braces are ready for bonding on your teeth

Advantages of lingual braces:

  • They give more confidence and you don’t have any fears in public compared to conventional braces.
  • They are attached to the back surface of teeth, so no one can see them.
  • The incidence of white spot lesions, which is caused by demineralization around braces on teeth, is far lower in this compared with other braces. The reason can be because of high salivary flow on the lingual side of the mouth.
  • High-tech robots are used for wire bending, which reduces your application time.
  • Uses 3-D printing technology in making braces.
  • Custom pads are used for better retention on the surface of teeth, which are made from precious metal alloys.

Disadvantages of lingual braces:

  • They are usually more expensive than conventional braces.
  • Tongue irritation is one of the disadvantages of lingual braces since people unknowingly move their tongue and have frequent contact with the brackets and wires.
  • Although cleaning the teeth is difficult when you are wearing even a normal brace, for lingual brace, cleaning the lingual side of the teeth is a challenge.
  • Eating and speaking can be difficult unless you get used to that.
  • It needs a trained and professional orthodontist to do the job.
  • Installing them can sometimes take time due to challenges in this type of braces. They are difficult to work with and they are a new form of orthodontics.  

Are lingual braces suitable for children?

In the past, because of incomplete developments of lingual braces in orthodontics, lingual orthodontics was just for adults. Now that has changed. Today, all age groups from children, adolescents, and adults can benefit from newer and much more adaptable lingual braces to move their teeth into normal position.

The main problem for orthodontists in the past was how they could bond the brackets on the newly erupted teeth or small lingual surfaces of children’s teeth. But today thanks to computer-assisted designs and manufacturing process, there are no more obstacles for children who want to wear lingual braces. If they really want! Because what remains is the children’s comfort and convincing them to wear braces, which is not just the problem of lingual braces but it is a challenge for all types of orthodontic treatment.

Do lingual braces take longer than conventional braces?

These braces are like traditional braces and work the same in tooth movement process. Treatment time also depends on the type of procedure and the severity of the problem related to your teeth. The only thing that may take your time is preparation time and application in the mouth. The reason for that is that lingual braces are a newer form of appliances in orthodontics and orthodontists may not be well trained in dealing with this kind of braces.

Like other braces, lingual braces can take 18 to 36 months and time will change according to each person’s situation and age.

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