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Lingual braces offer an excellent – very discreet – alternative to traditional metal braces and clear aligners. To help you decide if they’re right for you, here are some of their biggest pros and cons.
What are lingual braces?
Lingual braces such as eBrace (pictured below) have been used for decades to straighten teeth. They’re essentially fixed braces that attach to the back surfaces of your teeth.
Just like conventional train track braces, lingual braces feature small metal brackets, which are fixed behind your teeth for the duration of your treatment. A thin metal archwire connects each bracket and gently moves your teeth little by little.
Your orthodontist will need to change your archwires periodically to keep your teeth moving in the right direction. Your time in braces will depend on how complex your case is, but typically treatment takes between 3 and 18 months.
eBrace is a bespoke lingual brace, which means its brackets and wires are custom-made to fit your teeth and provide maximum comfort and efficiency.
The pros of lingual braces
They’re essentially invisible
Unsurprisingly, the major pro of lingual braces is how discreet they are. There are now a few different inconspicuous braces, but none come close to lingual braces, which can be completely hidden behind your teeth. We can’t guarantee that no one will see them – but it’s very unlikely.
They’re excellent at straightening teeth
Fixed braces, whether they’re fitted in front or behind your teeth, are really good at straightening smiles. They give your orthodontist excellent control, so they can achieve precise movements and exceptional results. This means they’re ideal for treating complex cases, which may not be suitable for clear aligners.
They’re also great for straightforward cases
Lingual braces are equally suited to less complex cases. We even have a lingual brace that’s been specially designed to treat crowded front teeth – a common complaint amongst adult patients. eBrace Visual attaches to the front six or eight teeth, providing a cost-effective alternative to full treatment. Straightforward crowding is usually quick to tackle and can be straightened out in just a few months.
They’re always hard at work
Lingual braces are fixed to your teeth throughout your treatment. (Don’t worry, they’re easy to remove once they’ve done their job!) This makes it impossible to take them in and out and perhaps not wear them for long enough – or even misplace them. This can be particularly appealing if you don’t think you have the willpower required for removable aligners.
They won’t cause any visible damage to your teeth
No brace should damage your smile. Unfortunately, if you don’t look after your teeth well enough during treatment, you may suffer from decalcification, which can cause white spots on the surface of your teeth. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on how to avoid this (good oral hygiene is a must). However, if it did happen whilst wearing lingual braces, any discolouration would be hidden behind your teeth.
The cons of lingual braces
They can cause some initial discomfort
When your brace is first fitted, you might find it difficult to keep your ‘inquisitive’ tongue out of the way, leading to some initial soreness and irritation. Orthodontic wax can help to create a smoother surface and prevent ulcers – any irritation should subside within a few weeks. You may also experience some achiness during these first few days, which is not unique to lingual braces and just a sign that your teeth are starting to move.
They can affect your speech at first
Lingual braces can also interfere with your speech and some patients develop a slight lisp. Again, this should only be a temporary problem and you can speed up your ‘recovery’ by practising your speech. If you’re particularly concerned about the impact of your brace, talk to your orthodontist. They may be able to fit your appliance over a couple of appointments to give you time to adapt.
They can be more difficult to clean
Fixed braces can attract morsels of food, which need to be brushed away to avoid damage and decay. This is easy when you can see your brackets and any food that’s trapped around them. It becomes trickier when everything’s hidden behind your teeth. We recommend using a small dental mirror to see what’s going on. Interdental brushes are also fantastic for cleaning underneath archwires and around brackets.
They’re less readily available
Not every orthodontist offers lingual braces. They require a high level of expertise, as well as special training and instruments. This can make it more difficult to find a local provider in some areas You might also find that lingual treatment is more expensive than traditional metal braces. We recommend exploring all your options, so you can make the most informed decision. Ultimately, you want to achieve the best end result.
To find your local eBrace provider and lingual orthodontist, click here.