Metal and ceramic braces are the conventional choices. Lingual braces and Invisalign are the modern alternatives. Braces are often desirable to enhance the appearance of the teeth or to fix the settings and alignment of the teeth but they are not just a cosmetic solution. Braces are necessary for those who have bite problems, crooked teeth or a type of malocclusion.
Traditional braces have very unpleasant appearances. They are outright visible and can be quite uncomfortable depending on the material used and how great or poor the design is. Lingual braces are not very different from traditional metal or ceramic braces in their function but there is a huge difference between their forms and placement. Lingual braces are not applied outside. They are placed inside the curvature of the teeth. Lingual braces use the same concept brackets and wires as is the case with traditional metal and ceramic bases. By some accounts, lingual braces get better results than traditional braces.
Pros of Lingual Braces
1. The biggest advantage of lingual braces is that they aren’t visible. They are invisible from outside. Almost anyone who has had a tryst with conventional braces, metallic or ceramic, would know how unpleasant they look. The unsightly look, the coloration problem and the impact on the entire face are not desirable experiences. Almost every kid who has put on the traditional braces has felt a little uncomfortable, not because of the discomfort of wearing the braces but how they look.
Lingual braces do away with that problem. The world doesn’t have to know that you are wearing braces. Since the braces cannot be seen, one can wear it anywhere at all times. One can wear it to work. One can wear it onstage while performing in a place. One can wear it at parties and even on dates. There would be a slight possibility that some people will figure out that one is wearing lingual braces, especially if one gets to observe the person talking for a prolonged period of time but that is not a common occurrence.
2. Lingual braces come in various designs. There are many types of bracket systems that these braces can have. This allows lingual braces manufacturers to come up with designs and bracket systems that would be helpful in specific cases. While teeth alignment problems are very common, not all misalignments are similar. Every misalignment may have something unique. A standard design may do the trick in some cases but there is a need for customization to suit a specific misalignment problem. This is not usually addressed by traditional braces.
Lingual braces attend to this need. Not only can lingual braces be customized in a general sense, they can be specifically designed to meet certain needs. One can choose the exact type of bracket system considering the unique nature of the misalignment problem. Lingual braces are made for your mouth and not for anyone in general. This is certainly a great advantage that anyone will benefit from.
3. Since lingual braces are placed on the inside, they don’t have to look unpleasant when they get stained or discolored. Conventional braces tend to get discolored when stains and food get clogged in the brackets. General signs of wearing out also make traditional braces look ugly. With lingual braces, none of those concerns have to be dealt with. While the braces would get stained and become dirty, they would not be apparent to other people. No one has to know when your braces got dirty and when they got cleaned. Your teeth would look normal without the odd signs of discoloration and stains on the braces.
4. There are many well known brands of lingual braces and you can choose one that attends to your needs within a budget that you have preset. There are many choices when you opt for lingual braces. Besides, the industry is better regulated than conventional braces. Almost anyone can come up with conventional braces. With lingual braces, you don’t get any random company making them. This allows you to choose from quality braces.
Cons of Lingual Braces
1. One of the biggest disadvantages of lingual braces is its cost. They are considerably more expensive than traditional metal or ceramic braces. Also, the more customization you opt for, the more expensive lingual braces would get. You can opt for generic designs but then you are doing away with the advantage that customized designs have to offer. Dentists who work on lingual braces are also likely to charge you more. Hence, you are looking at considerably higher expenses when you opt for lingual braces instead of traditional braces.
2. Lingual braces are extremely difficult to clean. You don’t get to see your braces so you don’t know how dirty they are or how stained they are. You would need to have them removed to even know if they are in a good state. The bracket system and wires of lingual braces are more difficult to clean and maintain than traditional braces. Many people opt for professional cleaning of lingual braces and that again costs money.
3. Lingual braces can be very uncomfortable at the beginning. Once they are installed, they can be painful, they would severely impair speech and eating, the tongue would get sore and one may also find it unbearable. Traditional braces are also uncomfortable but lingual braces are more discomforting. Pain is a subjective aspect and people have varying degrees of resistance to pain. Thus, it is difficult to infer if lingual braces are more painful than traditional braces. But what can be said for certain is that the initial discomfort would always be more intense.
4. Lingual braces take longer time to be placed, adjusted or cleaned. A session with a dentist would have taken fifteen minutes if you have traditional braces. The same session can take more than half an hour or even an hour if the misalignment is complex. Even minor or regular adjustments of lingual braces take a considerably long time. Adjustments needed may be more frequent than traditional braces which will compel you to visit your dentist more often and that will again cost you money.
5. Lingual braces don’t work very well in extremely complicated or severe misalignment problems. Almost all types of braces are effective and yet they all can be ineffective depending on various factors. It is generally agreed upon by most dentists that complex misalignments are not fixable with lingual braces.
6. There can be soreness in the tongue after lingual braces are placed. The soreness may last for weeks. People also experience speech impairment and are unable to speak normally for a couple weeks. Discomfort also lasts for two to three weeks, if not more. The degree of discomfort and also the duration for which one has to bear the discomfort and the adverse effects of speech impairment and sore tongue make lingual braces a less desirable solution for many. However, the discomfort is not perennial or permanent. Typically, a person gets used to it in a week or a fortnight.