Braces that Work from Behind the Teeth (Lingual Braces)

Treatments & Care

A female patient holding a mirror to show her lingual braces (braces behind the teeth)

Lingual braces are also known as inside braces, they have a bracket attached to the back of each tooth so the braces are concealed. They are an ideal option for patients who are conscious of their appearance with braces.

Someone needs to be sitting or standing close to see if a person next to them is wearing inside braces or incognito braces (lingual braces).

How do Lingual Braces Work?

Lingual braces work similarly to traditional braces except they are moving teeth from the inside rather than the outside of teeth. Lingual braces use brackets and wires which is the same method as conventional as braces.

Patients visit the orthodontist for an impression of their teeth. This is sent to a laboratory which uses sophisticated technology to design and make the bracket, so that it sits perfectly on the back of each tooth. With traditional braces, the bracket attached to the front of the teeth doesn’t need to be custom made to fit the patient’s teeth. When the patient returns the brackets are cemented on to the teeth and a plastic applicator is broken off once the bracket is secured to the tooth. Followed by an archwire which is attached to the brackets.  

Advantages of Lingual Braces

It’s all about the aesthetics when it comes to lingual braces.

Special Occasion

For someone looking forward to a big event such as a wedding or their high school ball, they may want braces that can’t be seen by attendees and in photos. Lingual braces are virtually undetectable in a group photo.

Wearing Braces to Work

Far more adults now use braces to align their teeth and jaws than did a decade or two ago. Despite this, some adults want the benefits of straight teeth without the appearance of braces. They are worried about what they will look like with traditional metal braces. Some may have customer-facing jobs or just not want their colleagues to be able to see their braces. For more information about adult Orthodontics: Am I too Old for Orthodontics?

Self-Esteem Intact

Some patients don’t like to smile in photos when they are wearing metal braces, or some feel self-conscious about what their peers think of their braces so they choose lingual braces.    

Watch as your Teeth Take Their Place

Lingual patients have the benefit of seeing their teeth move into line. While it’s still possible to see how the teeth are taking shape with traditional braces, some patients find it hard to look around the brackets and wire and picture what they will look like after treatment.  

Disadvantages of Lingual Braces

While the benefits of lingual braces are excellent, there are some downsides worth considering.

Speech Adjustment

Because lingual braces are attached to the inside of the teeth, they can take some getting used to regarding speech. The place the tongue usually sits to make some sounds is now taken by the braces resulting in a lisp. The ‘S’ sound can become a ‘TH’. It usually only takes a few days a little practice for the tongue to find a new position and for the lisp to stop.

The other common problem with lingual braces and other cosmetic dentist work is a whistling sound. When the position of the front teeth changes or inside braces are applied, a whistling sound can be heard in place of an ‘S’ sound.  

Tongue exercises can strengthen your tongue and improve your speech as quickly as possible. To speed up your ability to get back to speaking similarly to pre-braces try reading aloud to yourself. The Rainbow Passage is  recommended by speech therapists because it is phonetically balanced, including all the sounds in the English language.    

It usually takes a few days to a few weeks and a little practice for the tongue to find its new position. Once this happens, the lisp or whistling sound stops.

Rubber Bands with Lingual Braces

Lingual braces often use rubber brands to help move the teeth and jaw into the desired position. To ensure your treatment plan stays on track, you should follow your orthodontist’s directions and wear the rubber bands.

Lingual Braces and Teeth Cleaning

Just like traditional braces, it takes time to learn how to brush your teeth with lingual braces however there is the added challenge of not being able to see what you are doing easily. After a while, you won’t need to worry about looking at your toothbrush.

Eating and Drinking with Lingual Braces

Eating in the early days of lingual braces can be challenging, just as it is with traditional braces. Some foods can get stuck inside the braces, and you need to make some minor changes to your diet. Avoid the same foods when wearing all types of braces including toffee, chewing gum, hard foods and soft drinks. These foods and drinks can cause the wire to break and decay if the teeth aren’t brushed properly.

Cost of Lingual Braces

Lingual braces cost more than wire or ceramic braces. The main reason for the additional cost is the customisation of the brackets required to fit the exact contours behind each tooth. A digital scan or impression is taken of the top and bottom row of teeth so that the lingual braces can be custom made in a dental lab.

Considering Orthodontic Treatment as an Adult?

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Alternative Concealed Braces

Most patients aren’t too concerned about the look of traditional braces and barely give concealed braces any thought. For other patients it’s a big deal, and if concealed options weren’t available, they probably wouldn’t consider having braces. If the aesthetics of braces is important to you or your child, it is worth considering all options.

While lingual braces are the most concealed, there are other options for braces that are far less noticeable than metal braces. However, not everyone is a good candidate for all possibilities. Someone with a severe overbite may not be able to chew correctly with lingual braces and Invisalign aren’t as effective as traditional braces for these types of complex cases. It is best to book a consultation with an experienced orthodontist to discuss which options are available to you.

Invisalign – A series of clear aligners are used to move teeth into place. The trays can be removed to eat all types of foods and clean your teeth, but at all other times of the day and night, they should be worn. Some people aren’t diligent enough about putting them back in throughout the day, that the end result is not as good as it would have been with metal braces. For the method to work each set of aligners must be worn for two weeks and at least 22 hours every day. Many complex cases aren’t suitable for Invisalign as a desired result would be better achieved with braces.

Ceramic Braces - The bracket is the most noticeable part of metal braces so by replacing the metal with tooth coloured ceramics and a tooth coloured archwire, the braces are far less noticeable. While just as effective as metal braces, ceramics are more delicate and prone to be damaged or break.

If lingual or another kind of concealed braces appeals to you or your child, speak to the experienced team at The Orthodontists on (08) 9364 8020 or contact us online.

Category: Treatments & Care