Orthodontic treatments have come a long way in providing patients with options that suit their specific needs, lifestyle, and budget. One of the alternatives that have gained popularity over the years is lingual braces (also sometimes called “invisible braces” or “hidden braces”).
We’ll take a closer look at what lingual braces are, what they can fix, their cost, how they compare to other types of braces, and how you can finance this type of orthodontic care.
What Are Lingual Braces?
Lingual braces are designed with both aesthetics and effectiveness in mind. Unlike traditional metal braces that are visible when you smile or speak, lingual appliances are nearly invisible as they’re placed on the inner side of your teeth, facing the tongue – hence the term “lingual,” which means pertaining to the tongue.
Lingual braces treatment starts with a detailed impression of your teeth. This is done to ensure that the braces are custom-made to fit the unique shape and contour of each individual tooth. The mold of your teeth is sent to a dental laboratory, where the lingual brackets and wires are fabricated using high-quality stainless steel.
Once your new orthodontic appliances are ready, your orthodontist affixes them to the backs of your teeth. This process ensures a perfect fit and maximum comfort, while still effectively moving your teeth to their desired positions.
Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces
One of the biggest advantages of invisible braces compared to conventional metal braces is their inconspicuous nature. They are an excellent treatment option for those who want to correct their teeth while maintaining a natural-looking smile throughout the treatment process. This makes lingual braces a popular choice among adults and teenagers who might feel self-conscious about wearing conventional braces.
However, because of their location, lingual braces can take a little getting used to. Like regular metal braces, may be an adjustment period for speech and eating habits, and they require diligent care to keep clean and remove food particles or bacteria that can build up on the teeth. The average cost is usually higher than conventional braces or other orthodontic options.
What Can Lingual Orthodontics Fix?
Lingual braces are as versatile as regular braces. They are capable of correcting a wide range of orthodontic issues.
Crowded or Overlapping Teeth
One of the most common issues that lingual braces can effectively address is crowded or overlapping teeth. This condition often leads to difficulties in maintaining oral hygiene, increasing the risk of plaque build-up and gum disease. With their precise control over tooth movement, lingual braces can slowly guide each tooth into its proper position, creating a balanced and orderly smile.
Gaps Between Teeth
For some, the issue may be the opposite – they might have too much space between their teeth. These gaps can cause functional issues and aesthetic concerns. Lingual braces are an effective treatment for moving teeth closer together, gradually reducing the gap and providing a uniform and straighter smile.
Overbite, Underbite, or Crossbite
Bite issues can cause difficulty in speaking, chewing, and may lead to premature tooth wear and jaw problems. An overbite occurs when the upper teeth extend too far over the lower teeth; an underbite is when the lower teeth extend past the upper teeth, and a crossbite is when some of the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth instead of on the outside. Lingual braces can correct all these issues by gradually adjusting the position of the teeth and improving the alignment of the jaw.
Whether the misalignment is due to genetics, trauma, or bad oral habits, lingual braces can help. They exert continuous pressure on the teeth, gradually guiding crooked teeth into a proper alignment. This slow, controlled movement can fix the positioning of your teeth, improving your smile and oral health.
How Much Do Lingual Braces Cost?
The cost of treatment varies based on multiple factors, including the complexity of your dental issues and the duration of your treatment. Generally, the average cost can range from $8,000 to $10,000. This might sound a bit steep compared to traditional braces, but the value of the aesthetics and comfort they provide could be worth the investment.
Lingual Braces vs. Other Types of Braces
When compared to traditional metal braces, lingual braces offer the main advantage of being invisible, which makes them more appealing, especially to adults and teenagers who are conscious about their appearance.
Ceramic braces are another option that offers discretion because they’re tooth-colored, but they’re placed on the outside surface of the teeth and can still be noticeable. Invisalign or clear aligners are also a popular choice due to their near invisibility, but they may not be suitable for all types of dental corrections.
In terms of effectiveness, lingual braces are comparable to traditional braces. However, they may require more adjustments and can be more difficult to clean.
How to Pay For Braces
If you have dental insurance coverage, it may cover part of the cost, depending on your insurance company and your specific plan. If you are unsure about what your insurance plan covers, contact your benefits provider or one of our staff members for more information.
For those without a dental insurance plan, there are also monthly payment plans available, as well as third-party financing options. Additionally, you can use health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs) if you have them. These accounts allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars for medical and dental expenses, including orthodontic treatments.
Contact Kids and Family Dentistry to Learn More About Your Braces Options
Achieving a beautiful smile is an investment in your self-esteem, oral health, and overall well-being. It’s essential to discuss your options with your orthodontist to determine which type of braces is best for you.
To explore your options and get personalized advice about your orthodontic treatment options, contact Kids and Family Dentistry today. Our experienced team will be more than happy to guide you through the journey towards straight teeth and a perfect smile.