Having white teeth and straight teeth can do a lot to help your mouth function as it should. A bright smile can also boost your confidence, raise your self-esteem, and improve your overall mood.
In order to get straight teeth, though, you usually need braces. While the end result of having braces is a perfect smile, the process of getting there can be frustrating since braces are easily noticeable on the front of your teeth. However, there might be an alternative that can help you achieve the look you want without getting looks from the people around you.
Here’s everything you need to know about braces on the back of the teeth and other alternatives to traditional braces.
First things first: There’s nothing wrong with wearing braces.
Even if you’re image-conscious, don’t let anyone try to make you feel like you’re doing something wrong by wearing braces. They won’t be laughing anymore once you get the braces off and your mouth looks better than ever before.
With that said, if you have the option to get a different kind of braces, you might want to think about getting braces at the back of the teeth. These are called lingual braces. Lingual means “at or near” the tongue, so lingual braces are on the side of the teeth that face your tongue.
They look exactly like regular braces and have the same components — they’re just on the other side of your tooth, making them nearly invisible to someone standing in front of you. For this reason, they are a popular choice for people who are looking to achieve a straighter smile without traditional (buccal) braces.
Braces can be used to correct all types of alignment and bite problems, and lingual braces can accomplish pretty much the same tasks as traditional braces. In fact, it’s been found that rear braces are as effective as front-facing braces in helping patients achieve their goals relating to their teeth and smile.
With that said, they might not be right for people with severe overbites, as you might experience the brackets popping off more frequently due to the nature of the placement on the back of your teeth. During your first appointment, you and your orthodontist will work together to see which treatment options are appropriate for your given situation.
The brackets used in lingual braces are customized to fit the mouth of each patient perfectly. This is done through an impression of the teeth taken with clay or a 3D modeling system. Each brace is individually placed onto the tooth with a strong cement-like substance. Wires connect each brace at varying levels of resistance to shift the teeth into the correct locations.
Placing lingual braces is more complicated than front teeth braces, so orthodontists will likely need to spend more time on your procedure to ensure everything is set perfectly.
The main advantage of lingual braces is the fact that you can’t see them, so most people would never even know that you have them on. This is helpful in avoiding the unsightly nature of traditional braces during the period when they need to be worn.
Lingual braces can also be customized in the same way as regular braces to help correct most bite problems. Additionally, they can also be altered to enhance their comfort and efficiency throughout the treatment process.
For one, lingual braces can cause a tad more discomfort than traditional methods. While all braces cause some discomfort as they shift teeth into place, there is an additional layer with lingual braces: Your tongue will always be rubbing up against the braces on the back of your teeth.
Since the brackets are on the back of your teeth, it can affect the way you speak. The way you create sounds for certain words is reliant on the way your tongue connects with the teeth at the front of your mouth. If you have a bracket on those teeth, it can give you a temporary lisp when speaking certain words and sounds.
Lingual braces might also take a little bit longer to place and work properly because of the delicate nature of the procedure. It is more difficult for orthodontists to correctly place the brackets on the back of your teeth, so you will likely need to wear them for a longer period.
The American Association of Orthodontists reports that braces by themselves are anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000, but lingual braces will very likely be higher than that. What’s worse is that many dental health insurance plans do not cover the cost of cosmetic procedures, including braces.
Yes, lingual braces are a great way to achieve your dream smile without anyone even knowing you're getting dental care. However, it should be noted that the cost of lingual braces is usually higher than traditional braces because of the delicate nature of this procedure.
Sometimes, insurance companies will cover some or all of the treatment if a dentist can qualify braces as a preventative treatment that will help you avoid oral health problems down the line. But either way, you might get caught paying a hefty load of money out of pocket.
If you don’t have insurance, it’s not a problem with Flossy. Flossy is the pay-as-you-go service specifically for people without dental insurance. With transparent pricing, you’ll see precisely what you owe before you even get your treatment done. And did we mention we can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments, including braces?
There’s no membership fee, no monthly dues, and no annual premiums. The price you see is the price you pay. There’s also no waiting period, so you can sign up today and use our app to find a dentist near you.
Speaking of our dentists, they are rigorously vetted against a set of strict criteria to ensure you’re getting the best treatment from top to bottom. Stop worrying about money and start getting the dental care you need. Book a call with a dentist near you and get started.
Regardless of what type of braces you get, you can completely negate their benefits if you do not take care of your teeth properly once they are removed. While brushing and flossing regularly will continue to be a part of your oral health routine, the new addition that you’ll need to keep up with is wearing your retainer.
Retainers are custom-fitted appliances that you wear over your teeth to keep them in their correct position after their alignment has been fixed. This is important because your teeth will naturally start to shift back into their original position if you do not ensure that they remain where they are.
Think about it: your braces hold your teeth in place without your gums and muscles in your jaw needing to do any work. Once braces come off, there’s nothing stopping them from shifting back — unless you wear your retainer. You should wear your retainer every single night when you go to sleep.
If both types of braces don’t really excite you when it comes to getting a straighter, more aligned smile, there are still some other options. One of the most common new techniques for achieving straighter teeth is Invisalign or invisible aligners.
Invisible aligners fit right over your teeth, sort of like a retainer. These are custom-made and are replaced every few days with a new set of aligners that bring your teeth closer and closer to the end position with every new cycle. These are also mostly invisible.
In addition to their camouflaged nature, invisible aligners have the added benefit of being able to be removed whenever you want. You can — and should — take them out before eating or drinking anything besides water. Otherwise, they should be worn morning and night outside of that point.
Invisible aligners are usually not covered under most insurance plans, and they tend to cost a lot more than traditional braces. But with Flossy, you can save up to 50% on your next treatment.
Got some more burning questions about this relatively popular alternative to traditional braces?
Here’s everything you need to know:
The length of treatment will vary depending on a wide range of factors and your individual needs. In most cases, you’ll probably need to wear lingual braces for 12 to 18 months, though you could also wear them for as little as six months, depending on your situation. You’ll likely get an accurate estimate once you go in for your appointment.
After your braces are set, you’ll need to visit your orthodontist for a regular check-up, typically once every six to eight weeks. This is so they can adjust the brackets to get your teeth closer to their end position and so that you can address any questions or concerns.
Lingual braces are a complex procedure that requires extensive training and technical capabilities. Not every orthodontist will offer this form of braces as a treatment option.
Lingual braces are actually most effective for treating crowding and misalignment on the front teeth, though they can be placed on molars in the back of the mouth to help with overcrowding in those areas. Lingual braces can be placed on all of the teeth or just some of your teeth, depending on the situation.
Braces on the back of the teeth are called lingual braces, and they are a fantastic alternative to traditional braces for people who don’t want the unsightly nature of regular braces to affect their self-confidence. While they are more expensive and can feel more uncomfortable, they are an excellent alternative for many people.
And even though you need to pay for most lingual brace treatments out of pocket, Flossy can save you up to 50% on your dental treatment even without insurance. Sign up today for the Flossy App for free: Gain access to our wide network of talented dentists to address your dental dilemmas.
Clinical outcomes of lingual orthodontic treatment: a systematic review | Oxford Academy
FAQs Archive | American Association of Orthodontists