Braces are the preferred treatment to fix various dental problems. These problems include malocclusion issues, such as under bite, overbite and crooked bite, misaligned teeth, crowded teeth or teeth with too much space between them. Traditional orthodontic treatment with braces uses brackets on the front side of the teeth, and many patients feel uncomfortable with this. However, for those patients who need orthodontic treatment but would prefer a more aesthetic choice, lingual braces, which are basically invisible, are a good option.
Lingual braces work very similar to traditional braces to realign the teeth by using pressure applied over time to move teeth into the correct, desired position. The pressure is adjusted periodically, slowly guiding the teeth to the new position and allowing time for bone to grow in to support the teeth in their new position. This treatment is done gradually and slowly because it can be dangerous to try to move the teeth too fast. Potentially, a patient can experience tooth loss is the treatment is rushed since the teeth are slightly loose during the process. A major difference between traditional and lingual treatment is that while metal brackets are bonded to the front of the teeth for the traditional treatment, the brackets are actually attached to the back of the teeth for the lingual braces treatment, making them a more aesthetically attractive choice.
Instead of the mass-produced brackets used with traditional treatment, custom-designed and fit brackets are used for lingual braces. Because the back surface is unique for each tooth in each patient, the brackets and arch wires must be custom-designed and fitted. During an initial visit, the orthodontist takes an impression of the patient’s teeth and creates a mold, which he then sends to a specialized laboratory to create custom-fitted metal brackets that attach to the back of the teeth. Using advanced Cad/Cam computer technology, the brackets and arch wires are designed and created for each particular patient. The brackets are then embedded into an applicator tray in the shape of the patient’s teeth that holds the entire setup together so that they can be cemented to the teeth all at once.
Patients will usually have to wait about four weeks while their brackets are designed, fitted and created. Using a bonding agent, the orthodontist cements all the brackets on a single arch wire to the teeth at the same time. After the brackets are glued to the teeth, the orthodontist breaks and removes the applicator tray. After this, the first pre-bent arch wires provided by the laboratory are threaded through the brackets.
Incognito Braces are one type of lingual braces manufactured by 3M. These braces are custom-designed for each patient based on the orthodontist prescription. One particular advantage of Incognito Braces is that their arch wires do not need to be adjusted because they are also customized. This means that the patient needs less visits to the orthodontist, and even more importantly, that the patient will experience less pain and discomfort throughout the treatment.
Some patients might require the use of elastics to provide further localized pressure to aid in moving the teeth into the desired position. These elastics are used in the same manner as with traditional braces. Their goal is usually to correct an overbite. The elastics are attached to the brackets on the top and bottom teeth inside the mouth to cause additional pressure in one direction, hastening the pace of the progress. Normally, elastics are worn all day, but they must be replaced at least once a day since they can lose their elasticity quickly. If prescribed, elastics must be used daily since skipping even one day might interfere with the progress of the treatment.
There are various lingual braces pros and cons when compared to traditional braces. The most important advantage is that they are invisible, making the patient feel confident of his smile even as he is receiving treatment to correct any irregularities. This is particularly important for adult patients who might feel most comfortable in a business or social setting if the metal in their braces does not show. These patients will benefit from the invisibility of the lingual braces and will feel confident to show off their own smile. Patients who play sports or wind instruments can specially benefit from the use of these braces, although athletes should wear mouth guards to protect their teeth and braces. Another advantage is that they work the same way as traditional braces and that the overall treatment duration is also the same, at about one and half to three years. Also, because lingual braces are custom-fit, they are usually more comfortable than traditional braces for the patient, after he recovers from the initial soreness and period of adjustment.
The disadvantages of these braces versus the traditional ones are few. Though many patients are ideal candidates for lingual braces, they are not for everyone. Patients with very small teeth cannot normally choose this treatment. There are also patients with certain bite issues that cannot benefit from it. Patients who have deep vertical overbites or other alignment issues that will produce too much pressure on the brackets, potentially damaging them, are not good candidates. Finally, children who still have some milk teeth cannot use lingual braces. Another disadvantage is that they normally cost more than traditional braces.
There are some eating restrictions associated with these braces. While patients can expect to eat relatively in the same manner they are accustomed to, they should avoid hard foods and sticky foods, as these can damage the brackets or cause them to detach and fall off. Since the brackets are all attached to the wire, the loose bracket will remain attached, causing discomfort for the patient until he visits the orthodontist to correct the problem. Carbonated drinks and sweet fruit juices can also cause damage to the brackets. Particularly sticky foods such as bubble gum and caramel should be avoided completely, as they can get stuck in the wires and brackets and lead to tooth decay.
Caring for lingual braces includes both a daily oral hygiene routine and regular visits to the orthodontist and hygienist for maintenance. Teeth should be brushed after every meal. A water pick or an electric toothbrush work best for this, since the placement of lingual braces makes it particularly hard for patients to clean their teeth correctly. The regular visits to the orthodontist will allow the dentist to check for any plaque buildup and prevent tooth decay from developing. Patients should also have professional cleanings done regularly, since it is more probable that food will get stuck in the hard-to-reach places.
Patients should be prepared to experience some minor lingual braces pain or discomfort. There is some lingual braces pain associated with the installation of the braces and each subsequent adjustment due to the pressure. Patients will probably experience some pain when they chew or when their teeth come together. They should also expect tongue soreness, since at first the tongue will come into contact with the rough surface of the brackets, which is an alien surface. The resulting rubbing motion will cause soreness until the tongue gets used to this new rough surface. Patients can rinse their mouth with salt water to help alleviate this soreness. In the first few days after the brackets are installed, it is very important to eat soft foods and drinks that can soothe the discomfort caused by the installation.
There will also be an adjustment period for patients after the braces are installed. Lingual braces reviews show some of the issues patients can expect to deal with during their treatment. It usually takes between one and four weeks for patients to feel comfortable wearing these braces, since both swallowing and speaking ability can be affected. Patients might develop a slight lisp when speaking. To eliminate the lisp, patients can practice speaking slowly and enunciating each word clearly. Though this will sound strange at the beginning, with time and practice, patients will find themselves speaking normally again.
Another thing that takes getting used to is the new position of the tongue for swallowing. Patients will find that their tongues cannot go to the usual position because of the brackets, and it will take a few weeks for them to get used to this new sensation and to learn new techniques for swallowing. Some patients will also find interference in their bite, as their teeth will not come together as they are used to. This should also disappear as the teeth become aligned into a better position. For other patients, the actual brackets will prevent the teeth coming together properly. For these patients, the problem will be eliminated when the braces are removed.
One of the concerns patients have about this treatment is how much do lingual braces cost. The cost of lingual braces is normally higher than for traditional braces since the brackets are custom-made for each particular patient. This means that the design and materials are more expensive. The more advanced technology used to design and create the braces also contributes to the higher cost. Additionally, not all orthodontists are trained to install lingual braces. Since special training is needed, the cost to install these braces is also higher. Lingual braces can cost between $8,500 and $11,800. The cost varies depending on the individual case of each patient, as well as the location of the dental practice.
Though the cost of this treatment is higher than for the traditional treatment, patients with dental insurance that includes coverage for orthodontic treatment can expect their insurance to cover this type of treatment. Patients can also check with their orthodontic practice for payment plans that make lingual braces more accessible.
These braces are used to treat malocclusion, or bite issues. Malocclusion issues are also referred to as crooked or misaligned teeth. Malocclusion, usually hereditary, is the result of teeth and jaw that do not fit together correctly, or are misaligned. If teeth are too crowded together or too far apart, they cause malocclusion. Jaw and tooth size can also affect how the teeth fit together. Teeth that stick out or are crooked are the most obvious sign of malocclusion. Complications related to malocclusion include underbite, overbite and crossbite. An underbite is characterized by lower front teeth that protrude further forward than top teeth and cause a jutting chin and difficulties in chewing. An overbite, which is a very common dental problem, is the opposite. The top front teeth actually come out further than the lower front teeth. A crossbite is the result of teeth in the incorrect position, either forward, backwards, or sideways, interfering with the way teeth fit together. Patients with crossbites have top teeth that fall inside the bottom teeth either on the sides, on the front or all around. Some crossbites can be very similar to overbites.
After the lingual braces are removed, patients will continue treatment through the use of retainers. These retainers can be removable or fixed, but they will need to follow this treatment for at least one to three years. The use of a retainer might be limited to night-time use only, but some patients might need a retainer all day. This is to allow the teeth to become fixed into their new location. If the lingual braces are not followed by the use of a retainer, there is a high probability that the teeth will shift back to their original position and the patient will face the original dental problems that the lingual braces tried to correct.
Only a consultation with an orthodontist will confirm if a patient is a candidate for this treatment. After a consultation, the patient and orthodontist can weigh the lingual braces pros and cons and discuss how much do lingual braces cost. Patients can also check lingual braces reviews to see how other patients have benefited from this treatment. However, after treatment with these braces, patients can expect major cosmetic improvement of their smiles. They can also count on having dental problems such as the overbites, underbites, teeth crowding or gaps corrected.