Dental Care

Braces Behind Teeth

Having braces behind teeth is an option for you? What is the one thing that most upsets people who have to wear braces? Usually it is the way that the metal fixtures and wires look.

When someone is a pre-teen or teenager, they are often teased by friends and classmates for being a “metal mouth”, and this is very annoying and embarrassing.

When the person wearing braces is an adult, there are also a lot of stigmas and unpleasant experiences where the appearance of the braces is concerned too.

Fortunately, it is entirely possible for braces to remain out of sight and for modern orthodontists to install braces behind teeth.

Before going any farther into the subject, however, we should clarify that these are not the same thing as truly “invisible” braces (though they are technically undetectable to the eye) because they actually rely upon the exact same fixtures and techniques as the standard “front of tooth” braces.

Actual “invisible braces” are far different and rely on specially made “aligners” that are shaped like dental plates, and which actually slide on and off of the teeth.

What Are Braces Behind the Teeth?

When you are discussing braces behind the teeth, they are referred to as “lingual” braces.

They rely on the same brackets as traditionally applied braces, and even take roughly the same amount of time to do their work.

They can be used for upper and lower mouth applications, and are just as easy to maintain as standard braces.

Benefits of Lingual Braces

The benefits of choosing to have braces behind teeth are much wider than most patients initially realize. While there is always the less obvious appearance of fully concealed braces, there is also:

  • Safety for those who practice contact sports – just imagine the difference between a blow to the mouth with braces in front of teeth as opposed to the effects when the braces are tucked safely behind them;
  • A healthier option for those with a sensitivity to plastic – rather than running any risks of irritation or allergic reactions (such as those using invisible aligners must face) the brackets behind the teeth are made from dental metal;
  • Convenience for those who play any of the wind instruments such as horns and flutes – no clicking, breakage, or lost brackets thanks to the fact that the application is protected by the teeth;
  • Functional for patients around the age of 12 and older – most patients receive their braces beginning around twelve years of age, and having the option for invisible fixtures can make life much easier;
  • The self-esteem that comes with keeping your dental work a secret; and
  • The custom fitting of the brackets to each of your teeth – no awkward or uncomfortable rubbing and irritation will occur because the brackets are designed to fit each tooth perfectly.

Receiving Lingual Braces

Unlike traditional applications, those who have braces behind the teeth will receive brackets that are actually custom molded to their mouth. This is because the process of applying braces behind teeth is somewhat different than the front of tooth method.

For instance, the patient who opts to wear their braces in an invisible manner (braces behind teeth) will have a cast of their teeth made by their orthodontist. This is sent to a laboratory where custom designed brackets are created for each of the teeth in the mold. These brackets are then mounted into a custom made applicator which makes it impossible for any of the brackets to be applied incorrectly.

When it is time for the patient to receive their braces behind the teeth, they will simply sit in the orthodontist’s chair and have the applicator gently placed into their mouth.

The glue for each bracket will have already been applied, and this means that the process of actually adhering the fixtures will take only a few moments, rather than the enormous amount of time that the traditional approach acquires.

Lastly, the custom made applicator gently breaks away from the brackets and the orthodontist applies the wires and anchor brackets.

The patient leaves the office with the same exact smile with which they entered it, only now they are on their way to a much more properly aligned and appealing smile, and it will all remain secret thanks to the braces behind the teeth.

What to Expect

Patients will experience the same sort of general tenderness for the first few days as anyone wearing any sort of straightening equipment.

After that, those with braces behind teeth will need to have regular maintenance visits and adjustments made to ensure that the braces are doing their work.

Also, many people take a week or two to get used to speaking with new braces behind the teeth. Just consider the number of times that the tongue passes over or touches the backs of the teeth. This means that the braces will have to become part of the speech process, but most people can manage this adjustment in a matter of days.

Should the tongue become too sensitive to the rubbing, most orthodontists will give their patients the exact same treatment as they would for patients with front of tooth fixtures, and this is a special dental wax. The benefit is that it is usually only the tip of the tongue that may feel some sensitivity and lead to the use of the wax, whereas with standard braces, it may be the entire mouth that is scratched and rubbed to the point of soreness.

Clearly, the braces behind the teeth can be an optimal solution for a wide range of patients. The one thing to remember is that they do come at a slightly higher cost than the standard braces. This is not often a matter of concern for those who want invisible corrective applications, or for those with sensitivity to plastic.

Most orthodontists will discuss the various options with a patient in order to determine the right treatment plans for their budgets, and more and more patients are opting for braces behind teeth simply because they are convenient, effective, and totally invisible to the eye!


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