Lingual braces are a kind of dental braces that are fitted on the backs of the teeth instead of on the front of the teeth as with traditional braces. When lingual braces have been fitted onto the teeth they are, for the most part, not visible when the wearer is speaking. If the wearer opens his mouth quite widely, however, the braces may be visible from some angles.
Most people wear lingual braces for cosmetic reasons. Many people believe that braces on the front of the teeth are unsightly and prefer to have their braces hidden on the backs of their teeth. Lingual braces are also sometimes worn by models, actors, and people who work in broadcasting so that their braces are hidden although they are in the public eye.
One major difference between lingual braces and regular braces that fit on the front of the teeth are the brackets. The brackets that fit on the front of the teeth are all uniform in shape. The brackets that are used for lingual braces, however, have to be formed to fit the back of each tooth. This is because the front of the teeth are rather flat. The backs of the teeth, however, each have a slightly different shape.
There are some drawbacks to wearing lingual braces instead of traditional braces. As the brackets are affixed to the back of the teeth, with wire strung between them, the braces on the lower teeth are in regular contact with the tongue. This can cause discomfort in addition to the normal discomfort that is a part of wearing braces. Most people wearing braces experience soreness when their braces are put on and for periods of time following each adjustment. This soreness can often be managed with over-the-counter pain medicine, as instructed by one's doctor or dentist.
In addition to causing this kind of discomfort, lingual braces may irritate the tongue and cause it to become tender or sore. There are some ways to assuage this discomfort such as swallowing without thrusting the tongue against the lower teeth and using wax to cover the braces when the tongue is especially sore. Finally, some people find enunciating and speaking clearly difficult while wearing lingual braces. This can usually be overcome with practice and as wearers get used to the presence and feel of the braces on the backs of their teeth.