It might feel like dental braces are something that are more common in your teenage years. Having said that, there's nothing specific about the teenage years that means this is the only time when braces will be effective. If you feel that your teeth aren't as straight as they could be, your dentist might suggest the possibility of adult braces. You might feel some trepidation about this, and it's up to you whether you feel comfortable spending a number of months with braces on your teeth. You dentist will be able to discuss other options with you, and you can even receive a set of traditional braces that are totally hidden.
Around the Back
Lingual braces are much the same as traditional braces in that metallic brackets are affixed to your teeth and held in place with an archwire. The key difference is that the lingual braces are attached to the backs of your teeth. It's a simple reversal that hides your braces from view. Someone will only see that you're wearing braces if you don't cover your mouth when you yawn! You might end up wearing lingual braces for slightly longer than traditional braces, as adjustments to the archwire are less pronounced when the braces are on the backs of your teeth. This is simply because the brackets and archwire are slightly more crowded when they are positioned on the backs of your teeth, slightly extending the teeth straightening process. Aside from that, they work in the same way as traditional braces with the key benefit of being hidden.
While you might be a candidate for lingual braces, they are not something that all dentists or orthodontists can do. They require specialist training, so if you decide that you want lingual braces, your dentist might refer you to an appropriately experienced orthodontist.
There are some minor issues with lingual braces, but they are easy enough to overcome.
- Your tongue touches the back of your teeth when you speak, particularly when you pronounce the letter S. Since the backs of your teeth will be covered with the lingual braces, you might find yourself speaking with a slight lisp after they have been fitted. This is just a question of retraining your tongue, and it should quickly pass. You might want to try speaking aloud at home until you feel comfortable. There are a number of tongue twisters that might be helpful.
- Getting food stuck in your braces can be a common occurrence. This is easy to spot and remove with traditional braces, but it can be more difficult with lingual braces. You might want to invest in a water flosser, which is a device that shoots a thin stream of water between the gaps in your teeth to dislodge debris. This device can easily be used to remove food debris from your lingual braces, which can be difficult to do with a standard toothbrush.
The hidden nature of lingual braces can make them an attractive choice for adult braces. Be sure to discuss the matter with your dentist if they suggest that you will benefit from a set of braces. For more information on adult braces, talk to an orthodontist at an office like Perfect Smiles Orthodontics.