We are proud to be the largest provider of lingual braces in the Pacific Northwest! While lingual braces have been around for decades, few orthodontists have adopted them in their daily practice due to biomechanical, training, workflow, and technical differences compared to traditional braces systems.
However, many teens and adults have severe biting problems and don’t qualify for other esthetic treatment appliances like Invisalign. This is a big reason why lingual braces have become an integral part of our practice. Individuals who normally would not qualify for Invisalign treatment can routinely be treated with lingual braces and reap the benefits of esthetic orthodontic treatment.
What are Lingual or Invisible Braces?
Lingual or invisible braces are braces that sit on the back side of the teeth. As a result, hidden lingual braces have the unique advantage of being the only truly invisible way of straightening teeth! This makes them the treatment option of choice for teens and adults wanting a smile transformation without anybody knowing.
Who can have Hidden Lingual Braces?
Anyone who can wear traditional braces can have invisible braces! In fact, our patients with lingual braces range from 13 to 80 years old!
Deciding on Lingual Braces
Lingual braces are an attractive option for teens and adults seeking a truly invisible solution to their orthodontic needs. This is probably the most common deciding factor for many prospective patients.
However, there are other considerations to keep in mind. Depending on your teeth, the conditions you present with, and your personal preferences, we may recommend lingual or invisible braces. Lingual braces are an option for a many conditions including:
- Mild, moderate and severe biting conditions alike
- Severe overbites
- Excessive crowding or spacing
- Jaw misalignment
The good news is that we are here to help you decide whether lingual braces are right for you. At your initial free consultation, we will discuss all of your treatment options.
How do Lingual or Invisible Braces Work?
Lingual or invisible braces work just as well as traditional braces on the outside of the teeth. In some cases, they are more efficient than both traditional braces and clear aligners like Invisalign.
Using a 3D scan of your teeth, we will fit the lingual braces to a 3D printed resin model. A flexible transfer tray will then be made to apply them all at once to your teeth. This helps make the first appointment smoother and faster. Once the brackets are applied behind the teeth, they are connected by a wire. Over the course of treatment, we will change your wires and make adjustments as necessary to move the teeth in their proper position.?
Hybrid Treatment – Using the right tool for the right job
In the same way that you would not use a hammer to drive a screw, orthodontic treatment relies on using the right tool for the right job. Lingual braces are a great option for many of our patients! But in some individuals, it may be necessary to wear lingual braces in one jaw and clear aligners in another, at least for some time. This is called hybrid treatment. Hybrid treatment capitalizes on each appliances’ strengths to deliver faster and better treatment outcomes! The need for hybrid treatment will depend on your orthodontic problems and will be discussed at your free initial consultation.
Advantages of Lingual Braces
Compared to traditional braces, lingual or invisible braces offer unique advantages:
Most notably, lingual braces are the only type of braces that are truly invisible, beating both traditional braces and clear aligners like Invisalign in terms of visibility and esthetics.
A common and unfortunate side-effect of traditional braces on the outside of the teeth are residual white spots. These occur when plaque builds up around the metal brace, often due to inadequate brushing, and are most common in adolescents. Because lingual or invisible braces are on the backside of the teeth, there are no concerns of unsightly white spots once you are done with treatment. However, good oral hygiene is still paramount!
The biggest advantage of clear aligners is that they can be taken off during treatment. Unfortunately, that is also their biggest downfall. The reason for this is that teeth will not move predictably and treatment will take longer if aligners are not worn 22+ hours daily. This is not an issue with lingual or invisible braces since the braces are glued onto your teeth and cannot be removed.
Patients with clear aligners often complain of slurred or slushy speech when wearing their aligners. While patients with lingual braces often experience speech changes in the first weeks following braces application, these symptoms often go away and do not linger throughout treatment.
What you should know about lingual braces?
Just like other treatment modalities, braces behind the teeth are not perfect and have several side effects. These usually take place soon after the braces are put on. They also impact some people more so than others and it is often difficult to know who will be most impacted. However, you should know is that if you start treatment with us, we are here for you! Having worn lingual braces ourselves, we have developed strategies to counteract some of the discomforts of lingual braces and will be sure to share them with you. We also monitor our phones and emails 24/7 and will make sure you are comfortable through the duration of treatment.
The 2 major side effects of lingual braces are:
Much like traditional braces, braces behind the teeth can result in tongue irritation in the first weeks following braces application. But don’t worry, we have managed countless patients over the years and have developed strategies to help with those symptoms. For example, we use? low-profile? braces so that the braces do not stick out and irritate your tongue.
Because lingual or invisible braces are glued to the same surface of the teeth that are used for speech, it is not uncommon for patients to develop changes to their speech in the first weeks following the application of your braces. Fortunately for many patients, these changes usually dissipate within 2-4 weeks following the application of your braces and tend to be less of a problem in the long run compared to clear aligners like Invisalign.