The appearance of braces has been and still is one of the biggest talking points when it comes to orthodontic treatment. From the early days of ‘wrap around’ braces and ghoulish ‘tightening’ appointments to the present day where aesthetic options such as ceramic braces and InvisalignTM are abound, this has remained a concern for some patients.
The resurgence of ‘Invisible Braces’ has taken the Orthodontic world by storm in the last decade or so. Led by InvisalignTM, the idea that one can have straight teeth and a great smile without the use of conventional metal braces has interested many. Braces on the inside (tongue side) of your teeth as opposed to the outside (labial side) certainly does address the appearance issue but to be able to combine the efficiency of conventional braces mechanics and true invisibility has certainly heralded a paradigm shift in modern Orthodontics.
A lot of the early work in this field was carried out in USA and Japan in the mid to late 1970s and modern lingual orthodontics has come a long way since then. Improvements in digital imaging allowing the 3D scanning of a patient’s dentition together with advancements in CAD/CAM technology (computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing) has revolutionised lingual orthodontics.
The accuracy of 3D imaging ensures potentially less error during the CAD/CAM process and it also means that a traditionally cumbersome impression mould will not have to be taken. The patient customised diagnosis and fabrication of orthodontic components also confers a level of accuracy that would otherwise be impossible in the early days of lingual braces. More accurate diagnosis allows for optimal planned movement of teeth and robotically manipulated archwires and bracket prescriptions immensely enhances the result that can be obtained by using lingual braces as a treatment modality.
The demanding nature of the system requires a fundamentally different approach to treatment planning and biomechanics. Essentially, the clinical team are working upside down and on the inside surface of your teeth. The distances between teeth are shorter and the type of wires that are used are generally smaller and lighter. The forces applied to the lingual surfaces of the teeth also elicit a response opposite of that created on the labial surface. More time is allocated to appointments as the adjustments are technically challenging. Higher production and equipment costs also mean that lingual treatment costs are more than that of braces treatment, however, for many, this is offset by the fact that the lingual braces cannot be seen from the outside and is practically invisible.
A lot of thought has been put into the design of the braces themselves. Being on the tongue side, care must be taken to avoid damaging the braces and there is a period of necessary discomfort as the patient gets used to the braces. When asked about the time it took for our Lingual Braces patients to get used to their braces, many replied that it took a few days to a fortnight. This is similar to patients undergoing braces treatment.
If you would simply prefer if no one knew that you were undergoing orthodontic treatment, or your occupation does not allow for the wearing of regular braces, consider Lingual Braces! The suitability of Lingual Braces will be discussed at your consultation appointment as some teeth such as those which are periodontally compromised or with short clinical crowns may not respond well. Ultimately, the decision to proceed with Lingual Braces is one that you will need to make with your Orthodontist and careful consideration of how it fits into your lifestyle.