Lingual braces: What are they and how much do they cost?
If you’re an adult who is considering the different treatment options available to help you get the smile of your dreams, then you might have heard about lingual braces. But what exactly are lingual braces and how much do they cost? We explore this relatively unknown orthodontic treatment option and give you all the facts to help you make an informed decision.
What are lingual braces?
Lingual braces – also known as “inside” braces – are a teeth straightening treatment that has proven to be popular with adults thanks to the fact that they’re practically invisible.
To help keep your treatment concealed, lingual braces are attached to the inside of the teeth rather than the outside, making them invisible when you smile.
Lingual braces are custom-made for your teeth. Your orthodontist takes an accurate impression or digital scan of your teeth, which is then used to create customised wires and brackets that will snugly fit along the line of your teeth and help to gradually move them into the desired position.
How will lingual braces affect my lifestyle?
While lingual braces might be a subtler option than traditional “outside” braces, they are still braces! Therefore you will still have some restrictions when it comes to the foods you can eat throughout your treatment.
The wire might be made of metal but it is not indestructible, so you should always take care when consuming anything particularly hard or chewy as this can bend or break the wire. You will need to be sure to gently brush the teeth and gums twice a day and floss to remove any food build up that can cause plaque to form.
In some instances, your treatment may require the use of rubber bands to help move your teeth into position. Your orthodontist will show you the correct way to apply your rubber bands, but this method of treatment requires you to be diligent about their use. You should remove them to eat and to brush your teeth so they don’t snap when you open your mouth.
How much do lingual braces cost?
Lingual braces tend to cost more than traditional braces because they’re an entirely custom solution that have been made in a dental laboratory to perfectly fit your teeth. Treatment with lingual braces also requires more frequent appointments and much longer appointment times than regular braces, thus also increasing the cost. A full 18 – 36 month treatment will be more expensive than traditional “outside” braces, however, the costs will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Lingual braces may cost you upwards of $9,000 for an 18 month treatment plan, but if you require any additional appliances or a longer course of treatment it can cost more. The only way to assess your suitability for lingual braces and get an accurate quote for the cost of treatment is to first have a face to face consultation with an orthodontist so that they can closely assess your needs, concerns and treatment expectations.
Are there any drawbacks to lingual braces?
While lingual braces are an attractive option for those who want to avoid the look of braces, it is worth noting that because they sit close to the tongue you may experience some difficulty with your speech. While your speech will improve with time, it may be challenging initially for some patients.
You should also be aware that if your treatment requires the use of rubber bands to help guide your teeth into their correct alignment this will be noticeable and failure to strictly adhere to their use will result in less effective treatment.
What other options are available?
While traditional braces are generally recommended for those requiring extensive treatment, there are other subtle treatment options available that may be an option for your treatment. Ceramic braces work in the same way as metal braces but use clear or tooth-coloured ceramic brackets and often tooth-coloured wires for a less obvious appearance.
Depending on your individual case, you may also be a good candidate for Invisalign ®, which uses a series of clear aligners to gradually reposition your teeth over time.
Ultimately, you will need to make an appointment with a specialist orthodontist to assess your teeth and bite to help figure out which treatment method can give you your best smile. Only a specialist orthodontist can offer you all available treatment alternatives and discuss the relative merits and costs of each option.