For today’s orthodontic patient, it’s not enough to know they will look better after their braces come off, they want to look good with them on, too. This push toward aesthetic options has been in progress for decades.
It started with tooth-colored and clear brackets, but even though they are less noticeable than metal, they still look like braces up close. Then came Invisalign aligners in 1998. With Invisalign, we could straighten teeth without any visible braces. The only problem with Invisalign is that it cannot be used to treat all malocclusions (bad bites). New CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing) has allowed for a new generation in aesthetic orthodontics: lingual braces.
The word lingual means tongue. Lingual braces, also known as invisible braces, are braces that are fixed to the lingual side of teeth. Because these custom brackets and arch wires are fixed to the backs of teeth, they are mostly invisible, even up close.
Lingual braces are in high demand amongst adults who seek orthodontic treatment but do not want to worry about wearing removable aligners, or are not candidates and don’t like the look of traditional braces.
We offer two types of lingual brackets at Orthodontics Only, but before I get into that, let’s discuss more basics of lingual braces in the form of some pros and cons.
- Lingual braces are the least visible of all active orthodontic appliances.
- They can be used to address a wide range of malocclusions- Invisalign is limited in treating tooth rotations and moving teeth up and down.
- Each bracket is customized to fit your teeth, which allows for precise tooth positioning.
- In isolated cases where the patient does not maintain ideal oral hygiene, white marks left behind by braces will be on the backs of teeth, not fronts. Keep in mind these can be prevented by avoiding foods and beverages that stain and by brushing teeth after meals.
- CAD/CAM technology.
- Minor cases require a mere three to nine months to treat.
Placing braces on the inside of teeth creates some unique challenges.
- The possibility of slightly longer treatment times. The reduced surface area of the teeth on the inside of your mouth means we must use lighter wires, which may increase the length of your treatment.
- Increased chair-time. Working upside down and in a smaller area means monthly appointments average 30 minutes opposed to 15 minutes for traditional braces.
- The close proximity of the new appliance to your tongue may cause some initial soreness and slight interference with speech. These problems typically resolve themselves within two to three weeks.
- Lingual braces are more difficult to keep clean, so patients with periodontal problems may not be candidates.
- Even custom brackets require a certain amount of tooth surface to work with. Patients with short crowns – the exposed part of tooth above the gums – may not be candidates.
Lingual Braces at Orthodontics Only
We use two types of lingual brackets in our practice: Harmony and Forestadent™ 2D lingual brackets.
The Harmony system is completely customizable and includes custom brackets and wires that are fabricated for each patient. This system can be used to treat most types of malocclusions. The other option for lingual braces is called 2D Lingual Brackets, and this system is used for minor tooth alignment. Treatment times with Harmony take between 12-24 months due to the wide range of cases that can be treated. Treatment time with our 2D lingual bracket system can take between three to nine months since it is only used for minor cases.
More about HARMONY
Harmony is completely customizable and includes custom brackets and wires that are fabricated for each patient. It combines the latest CAD/CAM techniques to meet the most stringent clinical requirements.
Harmony is the first and only system in the world that combines:
- Anterior positioning jigs
- Customized bonding pads
- Digitally-assisted treatment
- Interactive self-ligating brackets-We use small round and large rectangular arch wires to achieve customized tooth engagement.
- Robotically formed arch wires
We are able to adapt Harmony to our unique philosophies to achieve the highest level of patient treatment as efficiently as possible.
More about Forestadent™ 2D lingual brackets
We use Forestadent™ 2D lingual brackets to complete minor cases in three to nine months. At a total thickness of 1.3 to 1.65 mm, these brackets are flat and comfortable. And because no lab fees are necessary, we are able to pass additional savings along to our patients.
Multiple bracket styles
Forestadent™ 2D lingual brackets come in the following models, which allow us to customize our patients’ treatment.
- 2D lingual bracket with T-hook – for fixing elastic chains.
- 2D plus lingual bracket- apply torque on a single tooth.
- 2D plus lingual bracket with a gingival hook – for applying intermaxillary elastics.
Although we can treat most malocclusions with the two types of lingual systems we offer, we will sometimes prescribe dental orthopedic appliances prior to braces to enhance results and prevent future complications involving jaw discrepancies.
In addition to modifying the position of teeth, we can modify the length and width of the jawbone in growing children and in some adults. Dentofacial orthopedic appliances are used to enhance or restrict the jawbone of growing children and teens in the midst of a growth spurt.
The most commonly used orthopedic appliances used in growing patients include:
- Palatal expanders- for width adjustments of upper or lower palate
- Headgear- worn outside mouth to enhance or suppress jaw growth
- Herbst appliances – worn inside mouth to enhance or suppress jaw growth
The primary benefit of using an orthopedic appliance during childhood is to prevent more serious treatment in the future including orthognathic surgery.
Cost of lingual braces
The cost of lingual braces varies depending on the style used and complexity of each particular case. We accept all PPO insurances and offer flexible payment plans to make treatment affordable for our patients.
Lingual braces may be just what the doctor ordered if you want straight teeth but don’t want anyone to know you are wearing braces. Call today to schedule an initial consultation and find out if Harmony or Forestadent™ 2D lingual brackets are right for you.