First impressions matter. Like it or not, it takes mere seconds for someone you’ve only just met to form an opinion about you. This opinion is based largely on your appearance and demeanour. A winning smile impacts that first impression and also helps break the ice when two people first meet.

More and more adults are beginning to realise the intangible value of a confident smile especially in their professional lives. As awareness grows, adults are now seeking orthodontic treatment when once braces were shunned and thought of as being only for adolescents.

As the demand for adult orthodontics has grown, so too has the demand for more discreet braces. There are now more options than ever.

Lingual braces, fitted BEHIND the teeth, are the only truly invisible fixed braces. These braces are suitable for those who want to straighten their teeth but do not want to be seen wearing braces. Even teenagers can have lingual braces if they do not want traditional braces (provided their teeth have erupted enough so that the lingual braces can be fitted).
 
Lingual Orthodontics

 

Lingual braces work just as well as (sometimes better than) traditional braces and are suitable for most cases. Once fitted, lingual braces work in the same way as traditional braces with slow, gentle pressure being exerted onto the teeth to align them and move them accordingly so as to achieve the desired treatment results. Treatment times are generally the same as those with traditional braces, with most cases ranging from six to 24 months.

Appointments are usually four to six weeks apart. Some complex cases may take longer. Another plus point to having braces fitted behind the teeth is that the damage which can sometimes occur due to poor tooth-brushing during orthodontic treatment tends to be less severe and less visible as compared to traditional braces which are fitted onto the front surfaces of teeth.

When lingual braces are first fitted, there is some discomfort associated with them. Initially, ulcers occur on the tongue due the rubbing of the tongue against the braces. These disappear and reduce with time as the patient adapts to the lingual braces. Orthodontic wax or silicone can be applied onto the braces to reduce the rubbing of the tongue against the braces during that initial adaptation period.

Also, speech can be altered for a few weeks as the lingual braces encroach into the tongue space and also because the tongue will be contacting the braces instead of the teeth whilst talking. As with traditional braces, there will be some pressure on the teeth as they are moving and this will necessitate a soft diet whilst the patient adapts to the pressure. After a week or two, the discomfort disappears, the ulcers reduce and speech is very often back to normal.

Lingual braces typically cost more than traditional braces due to the complexity in manufacturing them as well as the additional time the orthodontist has to spend fitting and adjusting the braces. The orthodontist also has to spend more time on preparation of the lingual braces as these are very often custom-made for the patient as opposed to traditional braces which are pre-fabricated.

When having braces (regardless of type), oral hygiene is of utmost importance so as to minimise the side effects of braces such as tooth decay and gum disease. Poor oral hygiene during ortho-dontic treatment can give rise to the formation of unsightly marks on the teeth which are a form of tooth decay.

Your orthodontist will advise you on how to take care of the health of your teeth and gums when having braces (whether traditional or lingual) and these instructions should be adhered to diligently so as to get the best possible results from your orthodontic treatment and also have healthy teeth and gums at the completion of your orthodontic treatment.

As with all orthodontic treatment, at the completion of your treatment, retainers will need to be worn to ensure that the teeth are held in their new, straight positions. Retainers are worn indefinitely (for life) as teeth move throughout life and the only way to keep them straight is to wear your retainers to bed every night or a few times a week (your orthodontist will advise you on your retainer wear regime when your retainers are fitted).

Most times, improving your smile will result in an overall improvement in the way you feel about yourself. It is never too late as long you have healthy teeth and gums. Therefore, visiting an ortho-dontist for a consultation is a good place to start to explore your options and find out all you need to know before taking the plunge.

Lingual Orthodontics
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