Getting braces is not always an easy decision to make, especially as an adult. While the goal of having straight teeth and a beautiful smile is what many people want, the road to getting there is what can scare people off.
As a young person, braces are almost a right of passage and are easy to deal with because so many kids have them and no one thinks twice about it. As an adult, however, there is often a stigma attached. It’s too bad, there shouldn’t be any shame in committing to the process of achieving a perfect smile, but unfortunately, there is.
That’s why there are research and development that goes into finding alternatives to conventional braces. While most people are familiar with the common metal brackets that adhere to the front of the teeth, many are unaware that there is an option that places the brackets on the back of the teeth. They are called “lingual braces.”
Lingual braces operate the same way regular braces do, with a set of brackets and wires, except they move the teeth around the mouth from behind the teeth instead of the front. If it’s that simple, you might be wondering why more people don’t opt for lingual braces. Well, there are pros and cons to everything. To help you understand, we’ll explain it all to you here.
Lingual Braces Pros and Cons
Visibility: Probably the biggest draw to lingual braces is that they are more or less invisible to the outside world. Someone might catch a glimpse of them during a conversation, but they are otherwise undetectable. This is hugely appealing, especially for adults, who decide to get braces later in life.
Length of time: Behind-the-teeth braces take about the same treatment time as normal braces. That is, if you opt for lingual braces, you will not be required to wear them any longer than if you chose conventional braces instead.
Difficulty with speech: One of the most common complaints with lingual braces that people report is that their speech is affected, at least for a while. Since humans are so adaptable, eventually speech patterns are adjusted and the normal sound of speech returns after a few weeks.
Appointment time: While the total length of treatment time is on par with normal braces, the individual appointment time with lingual braces usually takes longer. That is because they are more difficult to access and adjust because the orthodontist has to work inside the mouth. Since treatments usually take place every month, this extra time can be off-putting for some.
Cost: Lingual braces, on average, cost more than braces that sit on the front of the teeth. That is partly because the orthodontist will factor in the longer appointment times and the extra training that goes into learning how to apply and adjust the braces.
Oral care: No matter where your braces are, it is more difficult to keep one’s oral hygiene in check. It takes more effort to floss and brush, and there are certain foods that need to be avoided, like things that are sticky and hard. This is true for lingual and conventional braces alike. However, lingual braces might be even a little trickier as it is harder to see and therefore more difficult to direct the floss and toothbrush correctly. With a little practice, though, people eventually get the hang of it.
Even though the list of cons is longer than the list of pros for lingual braces, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good option for some people. For many, especially adults, the appeal of having invisible braces outweighs any other factor, including time, cost and inconvenience.
With the right attitude and commitment to oral care, lingual braces are a great option. Patients simply need to be aware about what they are taking on. And if there are any bumps along the way, it is good to remind oneself that a bright, beautiful, confident smile is on the horizon.
South Surrey Smiles provides the following braces treatment
If you have any questions about what treatments are available for you, don’t hesitate to book a consultation with us at South Surrey Smiles. Our friendly staff is here to help!
Dr. Lesley Williams is a Certified Specialist in Orthodontics. She grew up in Victoria, BC with her parents and two sisters.
After being awarded her Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree in 1989, Dr. Williams then spent six years as a dentist in general practice before deciding that she wanted to further her education by undertaking three extra years of highly specialized training in orthodontics. With her Masters in Science (Orthodontics) degree under her belt, she went on to sit the Orthodontic Specialty Fellowship exams through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. To date, her status as an active leader in the orthodontic profession means that she holds the following qualifications and positions:
- Certified Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada
- Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
- Examiner for the Royal College of Dentists of Canada and the American Board of Orthodontics.
- Former president of the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists (representing 2900 orthodontists from the 4 western Canadian provinces and 8 western American states).
- Active member of the Edward H. Angle Society of Orthodontists.