Your dentist has just told you that you need braces, and you dread the thought of sporting a metal mouth for the next year or more. The combination of repeated orthodontic visits and the sheer expense of teeth straightening can feel overwhelming.
But here’s the good news; it doesn’t need to be this way.
Thanks to modern orthodontic technology, teeth straightening is no longer an anxiety-inducing prospect.
Today’s braces are fabricated with a blend of aesthetics, comfort, and effectiveness, and, in the case of lingual braces, they are also incredibly discreet.
How do lingual braces work?
Also known as ‘inside’ or ‘incognito’ braces, lingual braces in the UK are fastened behind the teeth. This makes them an ideal cosmetic alternative to fixed orthodontic braces worn using visible brackets and wiring. Because all the components (wires, bands, and elastics) are hidden behind your smile, it makes them totally invisible.
They work in the same way as traditional braces by applying gentle, continuous pressure on teeth to move them to their desired positions.
Your orthodontist will take a digital scan of your teeth, and based on this, an off-site laboratory will fabricate a set of lingual braces customised to your unique needs.
Lingual braces take roughly six weeks to fabricate, and once they’re ready, your dentist will fix them securely to the rear of your teeth using dental adhesive. Fitting lingual braces to the back of the teeth requires skill and expertise. The space is restricted, leaving little room for the dentist or orthodontist to work.
To position the lingual braces properly, all of the brackets are cemented to the teeth simultaneously using a customised tray to hold them in place. Conversely, the dentist places the brackets on each tooth individually for traditional braces.
Because of the complexity involved in fitting lingual braces, it can be hard to find a local dentist that offers them and unfortunately this will affect the price – something we’ll touch upon in the next section.
Duration of treatment and lingual braces costs
Correcting crooked or overcrowded teeth with lingual braces takes between 12 to 18 months on average, but treatment can be as little as six months if you’re looking to straighten mild crowding. Your dentist or orthodontist will give you a more accurate estimate of your likely treatment length during an initial consultation.
How much do lingual braces in the UK cost?
It’s hard to give an exact figure since every patient’s case is unique, and costs vary from one patient to another. However, for simple cases, patients can expect to pay between £2,000-£3,000, whereas more complicated issues may incur a cost of between £6,000-£10,000.
You may be wondering why lingual braces cost so much. The main reason is that they are made using CAD/CAM technology, and some lingual braces are fashioned from gold alloy instead of stainless steel or titanium.
Moreover, in many cases lingual braces are fitted by specialist orthodontists. They will have undergone 8 years of training and invested in specialised tools and equipment to fit them.These costs will need to be passed down to the patient.
- treatment duration
- the geographic location of the orthodontist, and
- the terms and conditions in your insurance plan (if applicable)
also influence the cost of lingual braces.
Fortunately, most orthodontists offer financing options to help patients spread the cost of treatment. You may also have the option of combining different types of braces to achieve the desired results.
For example, a patient may opt for lingual braces for the lower teeth and traditional braces for the upper arch.
Pros and cons of lingual braces
There are several pros associated with lingual braces:
Invisible teeth straightening – The main benefit of lingual braces is that they’re not visible like metal braces. Nobody will know you are undergoing orthodontic treatment because the brackets are hidden behind the teeth. However, people will notice your teeth improve as your treatment progresses.
Precise treatment – Another advantage of lingual braces is their precision. Like traditional braces, their design is based on impressions of the patient’s mouth but can also be customised to each tooth. Because of their high degree of customisation, lingual braces are ideal for fixing severely misaligned teeth.
What about the cons?
Time-consuming – Lingual braces take longer to apply, and the procedure is more delicate because of the limited space in which the orthodontist is working. This can bump up the price considerably when compared to traditional fixed braces.
Discomfort – Lingual braces can feel uncomfortable for a while, although patients do adjust to wearing them. Any pain is usually managed with over-the-counter painkillers like Ibruprofen.
Speech may change – Because lingual braces are close to the tongue, patients are likely to develop a lisp when they speak and will have to make slight adjustments to the tongue when sounding words.
Harder to clean teeth – As with any fixed braces, it’s more challenging to clean the teeth as wires and brackets are difficult to navigate with a toothbrush.
So, now you know all about lingual braces, you may be wondering if there is a better alternative?
Well, the good news is yes, there is!
The best lingual braces alternative
While lingual braces undoubtedly have their benefits, they may not be the ideal solution for everyone in terms of costs, duration of treatment, and lengthy dental appointments. So if you are considering discreet teeth straightening, a popular lingual braces alternative is clear aligners.
Clear aligners offer all the advantages of lingual braces minus the drawbacks. For example, clear aligners are equally aesthetic, invisible, and discreet. The key difference is that because they are fully and easily removable, each aligner or tray can be taken out every time you eat, drink, and brush and floss the teeth. In essence, you get the discreet treatment of lingual braces, without the hassle.
Like lingual braces. clear aligners can also correct a wide range of dental problems, including:
- Gapped and crooked teeth, and
- Crowded teeth
Also, depending on the complexity of your case, clear aligners are more affordable than lingual braces in the UK.
So, where can I buy clear aligners?
Many dentists will offer clear aligner treatments but they are orthodontist or dentist led services like Invisalign. As such, they can be costly.
At Straight My Teeth, we provide custom, direct-to-consumer (DTC) aligners delivered right to your door, enabling you to straighten teeth at home within in 4-6 months without the hassle of an orthodontist-led treatment.
The process is simple, quick, and straightforward. Order your impression kit and send back your dental impressions. Our dental team will create an accurate 3D image of your smile and formulate a personalised treatment plan.
Once you approve the plan, your clear aligners are custom-fabricated and shipped. There’s no need to worry about lengthy orthodontist appointments and painful oral adjustments. Simply follow the easy-to-use instructions to achieve straighter, healthier teeth.
Are you ready to straighten your smile?
Thousands prefer clear aligners due to their superior aesthetics, ease of use, lack of food restrictions, and most importantly, the effectiveness of treatment. Our at-home teeth straightening kits eliminate repeated visits to the dentist and help enhance your smile.
Moreover, our clear aligners are now more affordable than ever, priced at just ££1199, so if you have been considering lingual braces as a discreet option, you might want to think about clear aligners as a cost-effective alternative.
Are you ready to move one step closer to your new smile? We invite you to visit our Smile Studio and see what all the fuss is about.
Clarke, A. (2018, May 28). How Do Lingual Braces Move Teeth? | BLOS. British Lingual Orthodontic Society. https://www.blos.co.uk/blog/how-do-lingual-braces-move-teeth/
Clarke, A. (2018b, May 28). How Much Do Lingual Braces Cost? | BLOS. British Lingual Orthodontic Society. https://www.blos.co.uk/blog/much-lingual-braces-cost/
Davidowitz, G., & Kotick, P. G. (2011). The Use of CAD/CAM in Dentistry. Dental Clinics of North America, 55(3), 559–570. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cden.2011.02.011
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Kishor Kumar Pradhan