The available treatment options for orthodontic care have made great strides in recent years, and so gone are the days of conventional metal braces being the only option. Research in developing new orthodontic appliances is a contributing factor, as are advances in technology that are used to straighten teeth. Lingual orthodontics is no exception.
The way that we create models of the teeth, which are used to develop a treatment plan, as well as the materials used to create appliances have been innovated over and over. This brings big advantages to the consumer. Namely, there are a plethora of treatment options available, and like anything else out there, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to orthodontic treatment options.
Our recent blog post featured the Porth Origin Story, in which Dr. Rooz described his vision for the clinic . Above all else, we are here to provide the best care to each patient, based on each individual’s needs.
Is Lingual Orthodontics Right for Me?
We provide several treatment options and the best one we can offer is the one with which you are most comfortable. During your consultation you’ll hear Dr. Rooz’s recommendation, and you will decide what works for you. Some important factors to consider are: how long you are willing to commit to the process, what your budget is, what is your tolerance for discomfort, and what kind of lifestyle changes you’re willing to make during the course of treatment. There are practitioners who will encourage you to consider certain options because they are newer, or faster, or involve less oversight – so they may claim – but no treatment will work if you’re not invested.
Discreet treatment options are highly desirable to some. We find this especially true with adults and some teens. When this is a priority for patients there are a few options to explore. We’ve posted on the blog before about clear aligners and these are a good option if you don’t want everyone in the room to know you’re having ortho treatment. There are also clear braces, which are made of ceramic and therefore not as visible. These options have merits, but also some drawbacks.
What is Lingual Orthodontics?
The only treatment option that is really, truly, and completely invisible are lingual braces. These are braces placed on the inside of your teeth.
What are the advantages of Lingual Orthodontics?
Unless you tell someone, it is hard to detect or know about them, and they work just like braces that are placed on the outside of the teeth. Lingual braces are actually significantly more efficient in certain tooth movements compared to other appliances.
What are the disadvantages of Lingual Orthodontics?
While the advantage is that lingual braces are completely invisible, the downside is that you’ve got those metal brackets in a very cozy spot, and sharing it with your tongue. Needless to say this can lead to some discomfort, particularly in the early days when everyone is getting used to their new neighbors in there. Though, to be fair, if you’ve never had braces or an orthodontic appliance before, this is a very normal experience with all appliances including the Invisalign appliance. With lingual it’s just about the discomfort being on the tongue versus inside of the lips and cheeks. There are helpful tools to get through the first few days, and sooner than you anticipate your body starts to adapt and you stop noticing the braces.
Is Lingual Orthodontics for Everyone?
We firmly believe that the best advice comes from other patients. Anna is Dr. Rooz’s first lingual patient at Porth and she shared with us her thoughts on going through the process. She says:
“I kept postponing my ortho treatment as long as I could, not looking forward to choosing an orthodontist, which seemed crucial to me as a starting point. I was also overwhelmed with all the aspects of ortho treatment and all the negative points of having a foreign object in my mouth for the next several months. I was scared by the ortho process and really discouraged by previous meetings with two other orthodontists who treated me like a client instead of a patient. I kind of liked my teenage daughter’s orthodontist but I was not sure about the proposed treatment he suggested for me. Luckily, I found Dr. Khosravi, who encouraged me to start the whole process. It took us two meetings to figure out what kind of treatment is the best for my case. He educated me on what I was getting into and assured me (read: calmed me down) that I can do it with his support. I was getting more into ortho treatment thanks to all information and knowledge that he shared with me. We decided on lingual braces on bottom and traditional metal braces on the top teeth
With brackets and wires being mounted to the back of my teeth, lingual braces are invisible but require a lot of detailed brushing and cleaning with the whole arsenal of various little helpers like Soft-Picks, Proxabrush cleaners, Orthopick Flosser, Super Floss Strands and Eez-Thru Floss Threaders. I got ready for this aspect of treatment and loaded on these tiny tools to keep my gums and teeth clean and healthy during this long process. I created a little cosmetic bag with all of the flossers and cleaners, plus travel size toothbrush and toothpaste to carry it always in my purse. I must say the first two weeks were pretty hard and it was only thanks to Dr. Khosravi’s unlimited support and patience that I got through the worst. My tongue was very surprised to hit up against weird objects and developed sores just after two days. An easy solution to prevent this is putting the orthodontic wax or Gishy Goo on your teeth/brackets after the braces are placed. If you feel there is a problem with your gum or tongue — do not wait for any sores to develop – use it immediately! Another important thing is to be extra cautious, and not to bite on whole apples or carrots and such but of course I did forget and bothered Dr. Khosravi to fix my broken wire. Then I started adjusting to braces, to detailed cleaning, and to being careful what I was eating and things started look much brighter as I could see the first results after two months, which were amazing. It’s been 8 months now and since the very first week, I experienced huge support from Dr. Khosravi and I look forward to continuing and finishing my treatment according to the plan he created for me.”
Anna was a trooper through the lingual braces process. Those first days were not easy! Dr. Rooz remembers taking a call from her on a cruise ship in the middle of the Atlantic and quickly finding a local colleague who could see her right away to help out. Anna wanted the lingual braces removed that first weekend! But she stuck it out, progressed well, and swears she’d recommend lingual to other adults!
Where to get Lingual Braces?
It’s pretty likely that this is the first time you’ve heard of lingual braces. You’re not alone! Part of that could be that even though people around may have them, you don’t see them!
Another reason is that they’re pretty rare and not a lot of orthodontists use them. Dr. Rooz currently has a handful of lingual patients in Sammamish . Dr. Rooz, a member of American Lingual Orthodontic Association, is familiar and confident with using lingual appliances for his patients. Because of the cutting edge technology we have on hand, we place the brackets on the 3D model of your teeth so they’re in the ideal position. Then, we place them on your teeth using a plastic mold, so it is quick and efficient. This, again, is where strides in technology bring us huge advantages!
It’s your smile, your oral health, and your choice. We look forward to discussing all of your treatment options, whether or not lingual is one of them.
Disclaimer: This blog post providers information and merely reflects Porth team including Dr. Rooz Khosravi’s expert opinion. You should consult with a dentist or an orthodontist prior to following any advice suggested here.
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