Uncovering What Lingual Braces Really Are

Lingual braces, also known as ‘‘incognito’’ braces, are the discreet alternative to traditional metal braces. They have gained immense popularity in recent years for their ability to straighten teeth without being visibly noticeable.
In this blog, we’ll dive into the world of hidden lingual braces, answering the fundamental question we all want the answer to, ‘‘What are lingual braces?’’


Understanding Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are an orthodontic brace system designed to straighten teeth discreetly with a series of brackets and wires fitted to the back of the teeth, on the tongue side of the mouth (the ‘‘lingual’’ side). Unlike traditional metal braces that are fixed to the front surfaces of the teeth, they are virtually invisible from the outside, providing an ideal teeth straightening solution for patients who feel self-conscious about their smile.


What Are Lingual Braces and How Do They Work?

The primary function of lingual braces mirrors traditional metal braces – to correct misaligned teeth and bite issues. The brackets are attached to the back surfaces of the teeth as we already know, and a very thin archwire is then threaded through each bracket. The brackets and wires work in conjunction by applying a gradual and gentle pressure to the teeth to move them into the corrected positions.


What Are the Advantages of Lingual Braces?

Lingual braces are known as the hidden orthodontics popular in our Solihull and Bromsgrove dental practices as they move teeth without anyone even knowing you are wearing a brace. Here’s what makes them a popular choice for patients, particularly adults, wanting to straighten their smile:

1. Aesthetics: We’ve touched on this already, but one of the most significant advantages of lingual braces is their cosmetic appeal. As they are positioned on the inner side of the teeth, they remain inconspicuous, allowing patients to undergo orthodontic treatment without the self-consciousness associated with traditional braces. It’ll be your best kept secret!
2. Effectiveness: Lingual braces are effective in treating a wide range of orthodontic issues including crooked teeth, overcrowding, and bite misalignments. They offer comparable results to traditional braces, but maintain a much lower profile.
3. Customisation: Lingual braces are custom-made to fit each patient’s teeth, ensuring a comfortable and precise fit while delivering specific results. This customisation enhances the effectiveness of the orthodontic treatment and helps to minimise discomfort when the lingual brace is first fitted or adjusted.
4. Speech improvement: Braces introduce an unfamiliar element in your mouth that the tongue has to get used to. Our speech heavily relies on the movement of our tongue which, in turn, depends on its familiar environment. When it comes to speech, some patients find it easier to adapt to lingual braces compared to traditional braces. Since the brackets are on the inner side of the teeth, they have less impact on speech patterns.
5. Suitable for all ages: Lingual braces are suitable for teens and adults alike. They provide a discrete orthodontic solution regardless of age, allowing patients of all demographics to benefit from their advantages. Whether you’re 17 or 77, it’s never too late to get your smile straight.


Challenges and Considerations

While lingual braces offer a number of advantages, we must also consider the potential challenges associated with this orthodontic option, wouldn’t you agree?

1. Initial Discomfort: Similar to traditional braces, lingual braces may cause some discomfort when first fitted or adjusted as the mouth adjusts to the new brackets and wires. The good news, however, is this discomfort is typically temporary and usually subsides within a few days.
2. Speech impediment: Some patients experience a temporary speech impediment as they adapt to their new brace. Not all patients have this experience – as we mentioned earlier some patients adapt to lingual braces better than other orthodontics. However, it is possible to develop a slight (and temporary) lisp.
3. Cleaning challenges: Cleaning lingual braces requires extra effort due to their unique positioning. It’s easy for food particles to get stuck in the brackets and wires of a lingual brace, but there are ways patients can keep on top of their oral hygiene at home. Using an electric toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash will help. Water flossers are also great for cleaning around a hidden lingual brace.
4. Cost considerations: Lingual braces tend to be more expensive than traditional braces because of the customisation, technology, and expertise required. That said, many patients often find the discreet aesthetic benefits justify the investment. It’s also worth noting that with Orthodontics For You, patients can spread the cost of their treatment over a period of time with our monthly payment plans.


Choosing Lingual Braces: What to Expect

Now that you know the answer to “What are lingual braces?” here are key considerations you should make when choosing this treatment option:

1. Consultation and examination: The journey to a straighter smile with lingual braces starts with a complimentary consultation at Orthodontics For You. During your consultation, our orthodontists will assess your teeth, discuss your treatment goals, and determine if lingual braces are a suitable option.
2. Customisation and installation: The next step involves customising the lingual brace to the patient. No two smiles are the same, so no two brace systems are the same. We will take dental impressions of your teeth to ensure your bespoke lingual brace fits like a glove (so to speak).
3. Adjustment period: As with any orthodontic treatment, an adjustment period is expected. Patients may experience some initial discomfort within the first few days of having their lingual brace fitted, but as we mentioned earlier, this is only temporary and should disappear within a few days. Speaking of adjustments, all patients of Orthodontics For You will be invited to regular follow-up appointments throughout their treatment so we can monitor the progress of their teeth and, if necessary, make any alterations to their brace.
4. Oral hygiene and maintenance: Proper oral hygiene is crucial throughout the brace treatment period. Once we fit a new lingual brace, we provide patients with instructions on cleaning and maintenance. Brushing brackets behind the teeth can be tricky, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves to make things easier!
5. Duration of treatment: Treatment times vary between 12 to 24 months, but many patients start to see results after a matter of weeks.


Hidden lingual braces offer a discreet and effective solution for patients seeking a perfectly straight smile without the visibility of a traditional metal brace. Despite the initial challenges and considerations, the aesthetic benefits and customised approach make lingual braces a compelling option for those prioritising oral health and cosmetic appeal.

If you’re looking for a customised treatment plan to achieve the smile you’ve always dreamt of, get in touch and start your journey to a straighter smile today. You’ll be in good hands as in 2022, our practice principal, Mark Forty, was named one of the most experienced Incognito Practitioners in the UK!


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