Lingual braces may be the orthodontic treatment you've been looking for. They force consistent wear and are nearly invisible when worn. As with any orthodontic treatment, they have their pros and cons.
What are lingual braces?
Lingual braces are almost exactly like traditional braces, except for one key difference. They are made of metal brackets and wires which are bonded to the teeth, straightening them slowly over a period of time.
The game-changing difference is that they’re applied to the backs of the teeth, not the fronts. This hides them from view unless you open your mouth up wide.
For an "invisible" option, shouldn’t I just get Invisalign clear aligners?
Invisalign is a great orthodontic treatment option and it is the ideal choice for many people. However, your treatment needs may not fit with Invisalign. Lingual braces may be a better choice for you over Invisalign for various important reasons.
First of all, Invisalign is most appropriate for milder types of misalignment. For anything particularly severe, treatment would take a very long time with Invisalign. Lingual braces can treat more severe malocclusion, while still providing a very low profile aesthetic.
Secondly, personality comes into play with Invisalign as a treatment. Although having the ability to remove Invisalign braces is a benefit for eating, brushing, and flossing, it quickly becomes a negative if you don't wear your aligners consistently as prescribed by your orthodontist.
If you think you might take your aligners out when your teeth are sore, it can be easy to forget to put them back in on a regular basis. You need to keep your aligners in your mouth almost full time: 22 hours a day minimum. Leaving your aligners out for longer than prescribed will inevitably result in treatment setbacks and damage to your teeth.
For both these reasons, lingual braces may be a better “invisible” option for for certain people.
Some Potential Cons
Lingual braces don't really provide any significant benefits over traditional braces in terms of efficacy of treatment. They will straighten your teeth in much the same way, and in the same amount of time.
Lingual braces may be somewhat more expensive than traditional braces, depending on your insurance coverage.
You may experience some discomfort when wearing your lingual braces, particularly at first. While traditional braces can cause irritation to the lips, gums and cheeks, some lingual braces patients have complained of irritation to the tongue. Invisalign clear aligners don't really cause these types of problems, since they're constructed of a smooth plastic material.
Lingual braces can also be difficult to clean, since it’s a bit awkward to get in there at the backs of your teeth. This is particularly true when it comes to flossing. However, regular braces and Invisalign aligners can be tricky and time consuming to clean as well, so the difference here is negligible.
Finally, if you have lingual braces, your adjustment appointments may take somewhat longer than they would with traditional braces. Invisalign aligners don't need adjusting at all, but you do have to remember to switch out sets every two weeks.
Before deciding whether or not to go for lingual braces, it's important to carefully weigh the above pros and cons. After all, orthodontic treatment is a big commitment, so choosing the very best option for your needs and lifestyle is essential.