Many people have misaligned and crooked teeth and want to correct these dental problems. When most people think of teeth straightening, they think of traditional metal braces. The idea of having metal in the mouth and dealing with an unattractive smile during treatment discourages many from straightening their teeth.
Traditional metal braces aren’t the only teeth-straightening option. While lingual braces are also made of metal, the orthodontist will fit them behind your teeth, making the braces almost undetectable, so you can smile with confidence during your treatment.
Other benefits of lingual braces include:
Lingual braces have some downsides like any other orthodontic treatment. Before undergoing treatment with lingual braces, understanding the downsides, benefits and cost of the treatment is necessary.
Lingual orthodontic fixed braces are custom made braces that are fitted to the back of the teeth. This placement ensures that the brace is not visible. Lingual braces are an ideal orthodontic treatment option for people who want to straighten their teeth inconspicuously.
Lingual braces are also known as hidden braces. They treat most types of bite issues and misalignments. Some people also refer to lingual braces as Incognito braces, but this is a brand name and other types of lingual braces are also available and effective.
Lingual braces and traditional metal braces work the same way. Both have wires and brackets that gradually move the teeth into alignment. You will visit the dentist every 6 – 8 weeks to adjust and tighten the wires and brackets.
Some lingual braces come in a standard fit, but your orthodontist can offer custom-made brackets which provide the orthodontist with more control over the tooth movements and final result achieved.
Custom-made lingual braces are more comfortable because they are smaller than the standard option.
Lingual braces cost more than traditional metal braces, especially custom-made lingual braces. Adjusting lingual braces during regular check-ups takes longer, meaning you will pay more for the orthodontist’s time spent on adjustment.
The NHS only offers traditional metal braces to patients under 18 years with severe malocclusion or misalignment.
Outwith the NHS, children may consider lingual braces but often the inside surface of their teeth are not large enough to hold the lingual brackets. Children unsuitable for lingual braces treatment can consider alternatives such as ceramic or Iconix fixed braces or Invisalign Teen.
A major benefit of lingual braces over conventional metal braces is that the inner surface of the tooth is less likely to mark or become damaged compared to the front of the teeth. Poor oral hygiene during treatment with traditional fixed braces usually leaves white spots or residues of plaques on the teeth.
If straightening your teeth with braces that aren’t aesthetically pleasing is your concern, your options may include lingual braces and Invisalign.
Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear plastic aligners that gradually move the teeth instead of metal wires and brackets. Invisalign clear aligners are almost invisible, meaning people can only see them when close to you.
Lingual braces are fitted behind the teeth, so people can’t see them except you open your mouth wide. Clear braces are another less obvious treatment for those who need an alternative to metal braces, but people can see them in a close-up view.
The benefits of Invisalign that make them a good alternative to hidden braces include:
Most of the time, the severity of the dental issues determines the type of brace that can be used. Invisalign can correct up to 90% of orthodontic issues, but severe cases may need fixed braces.
You need to visit an orthodontist to examine your teeth and determine if you are suitable for Invisalign treatment.
Below is a table summarising traditional metal braces, Invisalign and lingual braces.
|Lingual braces||Invisalign||Traditional metal braces|
|Appearance||They are placed at the back of the teeth, making them unnoticeable||Removable, virtually invisible||Easily noticeable|
|Average cost||£4000 - £10,000||£2500 - £5000||£1500 - £4000|
|Average treatment duration||12 – 18 months||12 – 18 months||12 – 18 months|
|Suitable for||90% of cases||90% of cases||All orthodontic cases|
|Cleaning||Special cleaning||Normal teeth cleaning because aligners are removable||Special cleaning|
|Appointment duration||45 minutes||20 minutes||20 minutes|
|Appointment frequency||6 – 8 weeks||8 - 10 weeks||6 – 8 weeks|
|Orthodontists offering treatment in the UK||˃35%||˃75%||100%|
If you are a suitable candidate for lingual braces and think the treatment is best for you, you have different options to choose from, such as:
These popular lingual braces are designed with advanced computer technology. The brackets are custom-made to fit each patient’s tooth. Interference with speech is less, and they are unlikely to result in mouth inflammation.
The self-ligating system is another option for people who want lingual braces. Self-ligating braces gradually adjust themselves, making the treatment more comfortable than the traditional braces that need adjustments every few weeks.
The non-custom system is suitable for those who want lingual braces because they are discreet but cannot afford custom-made lingual brackets.
The orthodontist will fit the brackets directly on the teeth, eliminating the need for expensive brackets customised in the lab.
Non-custom lingual braces are suitable for very mild misalignments and other dental problems.
Lingual braces are more expensive than other braces. The non-custom system costs upto £5000, and the custom-made lingual braces for more complex cases cost up to £10,000.
Some orthodontists do not specialise in lingual braces. This means a specialist will handle your treatment which incurs extra payment for the expertise.
When deciding on treatment, check if the quotes cover aftercare costs like follow-up visits and retainers to maintain your teeth in their new position.
These methods can help reduce the cost of lingual braces.
When you smile, the upper teeth are more visible than the lower teeth. You can save money on treatment if you use lingual braces behind the teeth on the upper arch and ceramic or traditional braces on your lower teeth.
If you have a mild misalignment, you can use lingual braces behind your front teeth and leave the back teeth off the brace.
If you want braces treatments that aren’t easily noticeable, you can choose more affordable options like invisible braces or tooth-coloured braces. Most people prefer Invisalign clear aligners, which are virtually invisible and offer several other benefits.
The brands above are popular options, but you can check for other cheaper but effective brands. Your orthodontist may also know cheaper options.
If you are searching for an orthodontist that offers lingual braces, check for orthodontists that offer payment plans to make your treatment more affordable. Some dentists have payment plans with 0% interest rates, so you can spread the cost of your treatment and not pay more. Other options are paying with a credit card or a dental loan.
You can check if your dental insurance plan covers part of orthodontic treatments, such as lingual braces. Most basic plans cover only essential dental procedures, while some premium plans cover part of the treatment.
The first step in a lingual braces procedure is visiting the orthodontist for a 3Dscan of your teeth. If you want custom-made braces, the orthodontist will send your scans to the lab to make the braces. This may take up to six weeks.
When the lingual braces arrive, the orthodontist will attach each bracket to the right tooth using dental cement. The fitting of lingual braces often requires two appointments, as the upper brace and lower brace are usually fitted separately.
After your initial lingual braces fitting, you will visit the orthodontist every 6 – 8 weeks for check-ups. The orthodontist will check your treatment’s progress and make any necessary adjustments during the check-up.
You can notice changes in the first couple weeks after the fitting and because the brackets are behind the teeth, these changes will be more obvious to see. The position of the braces may make you feel discomfort after the first fitting and adjustments. If you experience pain, it will gradually subside within a few days.
Lingual braces treatment takes on average 12 – 18 months. Mild misalignment corrections can take six months, but more complex cases can take a few years.
The following are necessary to optimise your treatment with lingual braces.
You can get reviews from people undergoing lingual braces treatment or who have completed their treatment from YouTube and online forums. You can ask your colleagues, family and friends what they think about the treatment because someone may have them on without you noticing it.
If you’re considering straightening your teeth with lingual braces, visit Kingston Orthodontics or call us on 0203 002 2501 for more information on lingual braces or to book a consultation.
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