What Are Lingual Braces and Are They Right for Me?

There was a time when the only option you had for realigning your teeth meant connecting each tooth to a metal band cemented to the surface, with posts and wires attached. By tightening these wires, your teeth would move in controlled directions until they finally arrived at the correct position. 

Perhaps the biggest problem with this system was the cosmetic factor. The silver-grey appearance of the metal bands was impossible to hide unless you never opened your mouth. While some people didn’t care about the appearance factor, for others it was strong enough to deter them from seeking treatment.

“Invisible” orthodontic treatment

Since appearance is, for many, a primary concern, the idea of hiding components of orthodontic hardware developed. Lingual braces represented the first attempt at an invisible orthodontic product. Instead of surrounding teeth with a metal band, lingual – or tongue-side – braces cements posts to the inner surface of your teeth.

The same techniques for moving your teeth are employed with lingual braces, including wires and elastics, but all contact points are on the back of your teeth so, without close inspection, no one knows you’ve got braces. If you’re self-conscious about your appearance, problem solved.

Other advantages of lingual braces

Certain wind instruments require close contact between the front of your teeth and your lips. With conventional braces, the front-facing posts interfere with that contact. Lingual braces free up the front surface of your teeth, so you can play the trumpet, flute, saxophone, and more to the best of your ability, without hindrance from your orthodontic treatment.

Full bands also increase the risk of decalcification, which can cause light spots on your teeth, disrupting their uniform appearance. Typically tied to poor oral hygiene, any problems arising with lingual braces would occur on the rear of your teeth.

Are lingual braces right for you?

Despite their similarity to conventional braces, severe overbite conditions may not be well-suited to lingual braces, since shearing forces behind the teeth may place undue pressure on the upper posts. Beyond that, lingual braces typically handle alignments as well as their full band counterparts.

Since the introduction of lingual braces, clear tray aligners came into play. These removable systems also offer virtually invisible aligning capabilities, though some alignment issues are better left to other systems. 

Trays may also not fit your lifestyle. It’s up to you to wear the aligners up to 22 hours a day, and if you forget or lose your trays, it will take longer to move your teeth into place. Oral hygiene may be even more of a concern with aligner trays.

The best way to assure the right choice is to work closely with Dr. Howard Spector and his team at Millennium Park Orthodontics. With an oral exam, he can advise you of your options for teeth alignment that matches your aesthetic sensibility, lifestyle, and budget. 

As a lingual braces specialist (not all orthodontists are), Dr. Spector can custom-fit these behind-the-tooth posts for your mouth, ensuring the most seamless, invisible treatment. Call the office to arrange your appointment today. 

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