Dental braces have been used for decades, but they are still the most effective way to correct an underbite, overbite or generally crooked teeth without serious dental or surgical procedures. Generally speaking, the earlier braces are fitted, the more effective they will be, and millions of teenagers around the world sport a set of braces that will correct their teeth by the time they reach adulthood.
Unfortunately, your self-esteem and body image is never more fragile than it is during your adolescence, and many teenagers are understandably reluctant to have highly visible bits of metal glued to their teeth. If you are parent or guardian to a teenager who needs orthodontic correction, lingual braces can be an effective way to correct a smile without putting a serious dent in their self-confidence.
What are lingual braces?
When most people think of dental braces, they think of conventional braces that are fitted to the front of the teeth that need correction and attached to each other with strong metal wires. Lingual braces are more or less identical in both form and function — however, they are fitted to the backs of the teeth rather than the front, making them more or less invisible to other people.
Lingual braces aren't for everyone; for example, they generally aren't used on teenagers with particularly deep overbites, as this tends to put too much strain on the brackets and may cause lingual braces to snap. However, they can be used in most other situations where conventional braces would usually be called for.
What are the advantages of choosing lingual braces for my teenager?
As you can imagine, the hidden position of lingual braces means they have significantly less visual impact, and in most cases, a person with lingual braces can give you a full, toothy smile without ever revealing them. This can be a tremendous boon to teenagers going through the most formative period of their lives and will help them avoid any embarrassment caused by having braces both at school and during their social lives.
Because lingual braces are positioned behind the teeth, they also tend to be a little more resistant to impact damage. If your teenager is involved in school sports such as soccer or rugby, where blows to the mouth are a relatively frequent occurrence, choosing lingual braces may be the best way to avoid repeated visits to the orthodontist to have damaged braces repaired.
Are there any disadvantages to choosing lingual braces over conventional braces?
There are a couple of drawbacks to choosing lingual braces over conventional braces, and cost is generally the biggest barrier to having them fitted, Because lingual braces are slightly more complex and significantly more difficult to fit, they tend to cost significantly more than conventional metal or ceramic braces. That being said, some orthodontists may offer discounts for fitting lingual braces if your family has been visiting them long-term, and they may offer free or discounted adjustments in the future.
The other disadvantage of choosing lingual braces is that they can produce a slight but noticeable lisp when your teenager speaks. The lisping usually goes away in time as the teenager's teeth move into the proper position and their tongue becomes used to the position of the braces, but your teenager may find it embarrassing to talk for a little while.
Contact a clinic that offers teenager orthodontic care in your area for more information.