We’ve talked about Invisalign and ceramic braces over the last few weeks, but there is another option for invisible, non-traditional braces. Lingual braces are a type of orthodontic treatment that puts traditional brackets and wires on the back of your teeth, so they are hidden from view.
While this has been around for about 40 years, with modern orthodontic advancements, is it really the best way to treat misaligned teeth?
Dr. Craven Kurtz was an orthodontist during the latter half of the 20th century and the founding president of the American Lingual Orthodontic Association. He is also credited as the inventor of lingual braces.
As an orthodontist in Beverly Hills, Dr. Kurtz largely worked with celebrity patients who needed a less visible option than traditional braces to straighten their teeth. In 1975, he developed the idea of attaching metal braces on the lingual side (or the area toward the tongue) of patients’ mouths.
Although they can be safe and reliable, some American orthodontists did not implement lingual braces because of the special training needed to install and manage them. There were also complaints of major discomfort when they were first developed.
Modern Orthodontic Advancements
Today, with recent orthodontic advancement, lingual braces are not offered as much as they used to be.
Ceramic braces surpassed lingual braces in the 1980s as the preferred method of treatment because of their higher level of comfort. Their clearer color also provided less visibility than traditional braces.
With the creation of Invisalign in the 21st century, lingual braces have suffered even more. Invisalign is a much more popular option for patients because of how well it accommodates their lives. You don’t have to restrict what you eat with Invisalign; you are able to take the aligner trays out whenever you need to.
While lingual braces are just hidden behind your teeth, Invisalign trays are actually invisible and allow you to wear them without worry that someone might notice metal brackets in your mouth.
Lingual Braces Disadvantages
Lingual braces can make it more difficult to keep your teeth clean. The brackets on the back of the teeth can be hard to reach and clean. Trapped food and bacteria are known to collect in these harder-to-reach areas of the mouth. This can unfortunately lead to cavities and tooth decay.
In the 1970s and 80s, lingual braces were a great option for discreet braces, but today that isn’t necessarily the case. Newer and more recently developed options, like Invisalign, provide less hassle and more comfort. Lingual braces are also much pricier to have installed and maintained than both Invisalign and ceramic braces.
If you need braces, but don’t want to have glaringly visible metal brackets stuck to your teeth, Invisalign is our preferred choice. With generally less treatment time and more ease of living, Invisalign is leading the way in the new age of “invisible” braces.
Call us today at (843) 4-BRACES to schedule your free initial exam and learn more about why we recommend Invisalign over lingual braces.