Lingual orthodontic treatment shares many principles in common with conventional orthodontics. In light of such, it’s perhaps altogether predictable that the lingual approach can correct many orthodontic issues just as efficiently as more well-established practices can. Before deciding for orthodontic treatment such as lingual devices or braces, you would consider many things. One of those questions frequently asked is “How much do braces cost on average?” another thing to consider is its risks involved in the procedure. Although similar in some ways, what sets lingual devices apart is the fact that they are placed on the back of the teeth. This defining characteristic ensures that lingual braces are largely invisible and, moreover, goes a large part of the way toward explaining their burgeoning popularity.
Disadvantages of Lingual Orthodontics
The first set of disadvantages associated with lingual braces is associated with the fitting process. Unfortunately, lingual braces are notoriously difficult devices to fit correctly. So difficult in fact that orthodontists are required to undergo additional training to become licensed to perform the procedure. Indeed, this requirement for specialized training helps explain why comparatively few orthodontists are qualified to fit lingual braces and consequently why it can be challenging for patients to find a trained provider.
A further issue is that lingual braces are not suitable for all patients. Indeed, before fitting a lingual brace, an orthodontist first has to ensure that a patient’s teeth are long enough to accommodate the brackets. This prerequisite effectively prevents children and people with small teeth from opting for lingual braces. Moreover, patients with severe overbites are also ruled out.
The fitting of a lingual brace can have a detrimental impact on tongue positioning. For example, on occasion, lingual brace wearers have to learn to swallow without habitually thrusting their tongue forward. Moreover, patients may also develop temporary speech impediments. On this note, a recent study found that patients’ speech could be affected for a month or even longer. Intriguingly, parallel research suggests that this effect may be directly related to the brand of brackets used. Additionally, irritation caused by the brackets can cause a patient’s tongue to become ulcerated.
The lofty price tag of lingual braces reflects the fact that such devices are custom-fabricated. Conventional braces, on the other hand, make use of stock components and are notably more affordable as a result.
Lingual brace wearers are required to adopt an extremely conscientious approach to oral hygiene. Given their position on the back of the teeth, such devices are much more tricky to clean than conventional braces. On a related note, patients are also advised to avoid certain foodstuffs in order to minimize the risk of breakage.
Advantages of Lingual Orthodontics
The chief advantage associated with lingual orthodontic treatment relates to its greater aesthetic appeal. Indeed, it has been suggested that lingual brace wearers may benefit from higher levels of self-esteem than conventional brace wearers.
However, it would be wrong to suggest that the advantages of lingual orthodontics are limited solely to aesthetic appeal. Indeed, clinical research has suggested that this approach may provide favorable outcomes for a number of dental issues, such as diastema closure and pre-prosthetic tooth movement.
A further advantage is that patients who play sports or wind instruments generally adapt more easily to wearing a lingual brace than a conventional alternative.