Ask anyone to describe a dental brace and many people begin to describe the traditional, metal orthodontic braces that at least one person in our childhood or adolescence had to wear.
When a dentist in W1 recommends ‘lingual braces’ to us as a treatment option, we may become puzzled in the first instance; what are they? How do they work? What does it mean, do I have to have lingual braces instead of the metal ones?
Read on to find out the answer to these questions and many more, answered by dentists in London.
What are lingual braces?
A relatively unknown orthodontic treatment, lingual braces are visually similar to traditional orthodontic braces except that they are placed on the back of the teeth instead of the front.
They are usually made of metal, are custom fitted by a member of the dental team in London, just like other braces and have brackets and wires to help move your teeth into their new position.
What conditions do they treat?
Like other orthodontic treatments, lingual braces treat protruding teeth, crowded teeth, gapped teeth or misaligned teeth.
Instead of the traditional method of pushing your teeth backwards in instances of teeth protruding forward in the mouth, lingual braces push teeth pointing backwards forward in the mouth, creating a more symmetrical and aligned appearance.
Do they work in a similar way to orthodontic braces?
Just like traditional orthodontic braces, when you have lingual braces, you will be required to attend your orthodontist or dental surgery over a set treatment period to have your braces tightened, loosened and adjusted.
The tightening of a lingual brace involves your dentist altering the tension of the wire across the brace, to move your teeth into their new position gradually. This may cause minimal discomfort, but this is a normal part of the process.
Will they impact on my lifestyle?
An obvious benefit to having braces fitted to the back of your teeth is that they are not as noticeable to the naked eye and are therefore more suitable for adults or adolescents.
Just because lingual braces are made of metal does not mean they are indestructible; you must take care to not eat overly hard or sticky foods when wearing them, as this may cause damage . You will also need to visit a hygienist for regular cleaning to prevent gum disease and plaque accumulation, along with learning about the correct cleaning technique to prevent these issues.
Are there alternatives I can try?
The treatment you undertake is ultimately up to the discretion of your orthodontist; many people who have lingual braces may be able to have clear braces after the desired alignment has been achieved, but may not be suitable for this treatment initially.
If you feel lingual braces are not for you, talk to your dentist or orthodontist to see if there are other options for you to try.