Going to the dentist isn't any fun, but it is one of those things that just has to be done. For years, I fought the process and didn't go for my regular cleanings and in the end, it sure didn't pay to do so. I ended up spending ten times as much time in the chair and a boat-load of money in dental repairs. If you don't like going to the dentist, you can make it easier on yourself. This blog will show you a few tips that can help you improve the experience and get through the treatment without as much discomfort.
If your teeth are crooked or misaligned, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend braces to straighten them out. But, if you're concerned about your appearance, the prospect of having a metal mouth for a year or more may be even worse than the thought of living with crooked teeth. That's why you need to talk to your dentist or orthodontist about lingual braces. An alternative to traditional braces, they allow many people to improve their smiles without having to sport a metal-mouth look. Here's what you need to know about this orthodontic solution.
What are lingual braces, and how do they compare to regular braces?
The word "lingual" means tongue. Thus, lingual braces are braces that are placed on the tongue side of the teeth, rather than on the cheek side. This placement makes lingual braces far less visible in the mouth than regular braces. For this reason, they are sometimes called "hidden" braces.
Lingual braces work in a manner similar to regular braces. They put pressure on the teeth, causing them to shift into a proper position slowly over time. Depending on how crooked your teeth are, you may need to wear the braces for anywhere from 18 - 36 months. (This is about the same length of time expected for traditional braces.)
Why should you consider lingual braces rather than invisible aligners?
Invisible aligners are another option for patients who do not want others to see their orthodontic devices. However, not all cases of crooked and misaligned teeth can be treated with invisible aligners. If your case is more severe, invisible aligners may not be an option -- you may need actual braces to straighten your teeth properly.
Also, there are a lot of challenges unique to invisible aligners. Since you can take the aligners in and out, you need to be responsible for changing them and putting them back in on a regular basis. Leave them out too long, and your teeth won't be straightened as quickly as you'd like. If you're not sure you can keep up with the maintenance involved with invisible aligners, lingual braces, which are left in place constantly and adjusted by your orthodontist, may be a better bet.
Do lingual braces work for everyone?
Typically, anyone who is a candidate for regular braces is also a candidate for lingual braces. You'll need to be willing to visit your dentist or orthodontist every few weeks to have the braces adjusted. You'll also need to be willing to brush twice per day, floss daily, and use an irrigation device to make sure food debris is removed from around the braces. If you're willing to accept these responsibilities, your dentist or orthodontist should consider you a candidate for lingual braces.
What challenges and downfalls are associated with lingual braces?
The main reason why lingual braces are not as popular as regular braces is that they are pretty expensive. They need to be custom-made for your teeth. Each brace must have its own brackets and wires. As a result, you can expect to pay up to $13,000 for treatment with lingual braces, whereas traditional metal braces average about $4,900. It is also more difficult to apply lingual braces than traditional braces, so you may have a harder time finding an orthodontist who offers this service.
Tongue irritation is also a concern with lingual braces. During your first few weeks with the devices, they might rub on your tongue, causing sores. Applying some wax to the wires and brackets may ease the discomfort, and within a few weeks, your tongue tissues will toughen up so this becomes less of an issue.
If you need to have your teeth straightened but don't want to be seen with braces, talk to your dentist about lingual braces. They cost a bit more and can cause some discomfort, but they can solve the same issues as traditional braces without compromising your looks.