Lingual braces, or inside braces are a type of orthodontic treatment appliance that are placed behind the teeth (by the tongue and palate), rather than in front, and therefore offer a great cosmetic alternative for those who want their teeth straightened, without the braces showing. They were the original “invisible braces”, and are still arguably the least noticeable orthodontic appliance available today.
Today, I’m going to share with you 5 facts that few people, even dentists, know about lingual braces!
1. Lingual braces were invented in the 70’s!
Developed in the 1970’s, lingual braces pre-dates Invisalign by 20 years! Its development was motivated by the increase in demand of a more aesthetic option from adults seeking orthodontic treatment. At the time, clear braces were still in its infancy and had a significant problem of staining. Dr. Kinya Fujita from Japan was the first guy to submit the concept of lingual braces in 1967, but it was Dr. Craven Kurz from Beverly Hill who first came up with a whole bracket system. The patent for Kurz Lingual Appliance was filed on November 15, 1976. With the help of Omrco, a company in California that makes orthodontic appliances, and Dr. Kurz’ lingual braces went on production in 1979 and it was the first commercialized lingual braces.
2. They were once so popular that they were featured in all major media
In just 2 years after Ormco and Dr. Kurz start production of the lingual braces, the new “invisible braces” was already featured in major magazines and broadcasted on both television and radio. It was called the “lingual fever”, and it spread even to the European and Asian markets. It reached the peak of its success in 1986 and Ormco had sold more than 18,000 cases by then! The development team was forced to provide an appliance for wide-scale use as quickly as possible. The beta-testing was never completed and the product was rushed into the market prematurely.
3. They were almost completely abandoned by the orthodontic community in North America.
Following the initial excitement and euphoria was a period of disappointment and frustration. Orthodontists were not happy with the lingual braces as they were not able to obtain the same level of finish they expect from regular braces. Furthermore, truly stain-free clear braces were introduced around the same time and they provided a viable alternative to metal braces. This was the last nail in the coffin for lingual braces. The original task force of Omrco that once had over 1000 orthodontists involved was reduced to just three members in 1988.
4. Lingual brackets and wires need to be customized for each patient
The outside surfaces of our teeth are smooth and generally have little variation between individuals. Therefore, orthodontists may use pre-made, stock appliances for the outside braces. The inside surface, however, has a lot of irregularities. It is so unique that customized brackets and wires are needed for each patient in order to obtain the best results.
This was a huge challenge in the early days of the lingual braces and required intensive laboratory service to set up the cases. The invention of digital CAD/CAM technology have greatly simplified the customization process. The brackets are designed and manufactured precisely to fit each tooth perfectly. The archwires are designed with the final (desired) position of the teeth in mind, and extremely precise bends are placed in the archwire by a wire bending robot. Because the brackets and wires need to be customized, lingual braces usually cost about twice as much as traditional braces.
5. Not all orthodontists are trained to provide lingual braces in North America
As mentioned above, lingual braces were almost completely abandoned by the orthodontic community in North America. While the research and development of lingual braces continued in Europe and Asia, it was not until early 2000’s before lingual braces were re-introduced in North America market again. Even today, only a selection of graduate school provides training for lingual braces, and many orthodontists graduated without having treated any patients using lingual braces.
Dr. Wang was an early adopter of the lingual braces technique and he had been providing lingual braces for more than 20 years! As such, he is not only an expert in lingual braces, he also teaches lingual braces at the graduate orthodontic program at UBC. Being a UBC alumnus, Dr. Lee was one of the students who treated patients using lingual braces under Dr. Wang’s supervision.
So here you go, these are 5 facts about lingual braces that you didn’t know before.
As usual, if you have any questions about anything related to braces, we are more than happy to answer them for you. If you like this blog, leave a comment below or like our post on social media. Also, feel free to leave a comment for any topic that you want us to cover in our next blog.
Dental braces have become more common nowadays. In fact, according to the Pennsylvania Dental Association, nearly 4 million people in the United States are wearing braces at any one time. While dental braces used to be all metal, we have many other types of braces that are more aesthetic available to our patients today.
Discovering the Different Types of Braces
If you’re considering braces for yourself or your child, there are four main types of braces available today: Metal outside braces, Clear outside braces, Lingual (inside) braces, and Invisalign clear aligners.
We’ve made the following chart to help you visualize the pros and cons of each type of braces.
Still have questions? Please visit our website to read more about each type of braces. Or better yet, book a consultation with us to discuss which option will deliver the best treatment outcome and still fit your particular lifestyle! The consultation is free, and we would love to meet you!
Let’s face it – wearing braces is tough. If you didn’t like to floss or brush when you didn’t have braces, it’s going to be even tougher with braces. But as we’ve mentioned before about flossing and brushing, it is important to your oral hygiene. We’re going to emphasize again that without proper oral hygiene habits, you risk tooth decay which can impact your oral health in the future. In the short term, your teeth might be a mix of yellow and white, especially when your braces come off!
Learn Proper Brushing Techniques
Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste for best results. Using an oral rinse every day will help, too. Rinsing with mouthwash is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces, as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.
Brush after Every Meal
Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.
Eat Braces-Safe Foods
When you have braces, there are certain foods that you must avoid (read our post here). For starters, sticky foods such as caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and are difficult to remove during brushing. Avoid hard foods, too, such as nuts and candy. Those goodies can bend wires or even break a bracket. And while you may love apples, carrots, or corn on the cob, they’re too firm or hard to bite into and can damage your braces. Crunchy treats can also harm your orthodontic appliances. It’s best to stay away from chips and popcorn, which can damage your braces. So just what can you eat? We recommend soft foods that are low in enamel-busting acids, such as bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta.
Get Regular Checkups
It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist, as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth healthy while you wear braces.
Whether you are a foodie or just like enjoying the diverse foods we have on the Westcoast, having braces sometimes impacts what you are able to eat. While we know there are people who still eat anything when they have braces, we advise to follow some general guidelines to make your braces treatment process as easy as possible.
First off, always make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly. The last thing you want is to have your braces taken off but your teeth have numerous cavities. Plaque is never your best friend, so it is important to maintain top oral hygiene. We’ve talked about brushing and flossing before, so feel free to check out those blog posts.
Now in terms of food, the best way to ensure your comfort during orthodontic treatment is to eat a braces-friendly diet. Certain foods are better suited for the purpose, as opposed to hard and sticky foods that can cause damage. So what types of foods should you eat if you have braces?
The best are low in sugar and do not require excessive chewing. For breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, wheat toast, or oatmeal. Lunch may steer toward a banana rather than an apple, a salad without nuts, and string cheese instead of chips.
A healthy dinner might include most types of vegetables, as long as they are cooked to an appropriate softness. Pair that with a lean protein such as fish or chicken, and follow up with dessert. Just be sure to brush afterward!
If you’ve just had your braces tightened, you’re probably feeling a bit of discomfort. That’s completely normal and should disappear in a day or so, but in the meantime, you’ll want to stick to easy-to-chew foods. Some of our favourites include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese
Foods to Avoid
Anyone who wears braces—whether fixed or removable—should avoid excessive snacking and aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It’s also important to avoid foods that could cause damage to your braces, including:
- Hard candies
Hard, crunchy, or chewy foods can bend wires, or even rip a bracket right off your tooth! Any kind of damage will result in a longer treatment time and additional office visits. You won’t have braces forever, so save the sticky snacking for after they’re removed.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!
Let’s be honest, brushing teeth is no one’s favourite activity, especially when braces are involved. However, oral hygiene is very important to maintain because it can make your health much worse as you get older. We don’t want that to happen to anyone, so we want to share some tips when it comes to brushing your teeth and making sure your teeth actually get clean!
Top mistakes people make when brushing:
- Brush too quickly: Most people have between 24 to 28 teeth in erupted in their mouth. Each tooth has at least three surfaces exposed to be brushed (cheek side, biting side, tongue side), and each surface needs to be brushed at least 6 times. That is between 72 to 84 surfaces, and up to 500 strokes each time you brush your teeth! That is why the Canadian Dental Association recommends spending at least 2 minutes each time you brush your teeth!
- Not brushing around the gum: This area is the most commonly missed area and the result is devastating! The gum does not stick tightly unto the tooth surface; instead, there is a rim of pocket between your gum and your tooth. If you do not aim the brush properly to brush into the gum, you will have gingivitis (bleeding gums), which will turn into periodontitis (bone loss) if it’s left untreated for extended period of time. Eventually, you may have so much bone loss that the tooth just fall out on its own!
- Not brushing your teeth at 45 angle: Angle your toothbrush this way allows you to get the brush bristles in between tooth surfaces, braces, and underneath the gum. Your braces have a lot of tiny crevices to accumulate plaque, so remember to brush thoroughly to get your teeth as clean as possible
- Not brushing the inside portion of your teeth: Just because they can’t be seen by others, doesn’t mean plaque doesn’t live there
- Not changing your toothbrush regularly: Once your toothbrush starts looking like it’s been used too much (the bristles are no longer straight) or it’s been 3 months, it’s time to change your toothbrush. If your toothbrush gets worn out before then, you may be brushing too hard!
- Brushing too hard: You do not need to scrub your teeth like scrubbing a dirty frying pan to clean them. Brushing too hard will not only harm your gum (recessions), but will actually damage your tooth surface also!
There are also electronic toothbrushes available for those who feel like they can’t get a good enough clean with a conventional toothbrush. An electronic toothbrush provides consistent spins of the bristle at a high frequency, hence greatly increase the efficiency of the process of brushing. However, the brush can only cleans where you place it at, so the concept of angling the toothbrush still applies.
When you go for your regular braces appointments, take the opportunity to get a really good clean of your teeth when your wires come off. During this time, it will be the easiest to clean your teeth because you have less obstructions.
A strong daily oral hygiene habits crucial! We know that it can be hard at the beginning, but we can assure you that with some good tips and practice, everybody will be able to master the skills of brushing and flossing, and get your teeth squeaky clean 😀
Oral hygiene is very important in your day-to-day life. After all, no one likes bad breath, rotten teeth, or receding gum lines. Flossing and brushing are key to maintaining a healthy smile.
When you have braces, it is even more important to make sure your oral hygiene habits are up to your dentist’s standards. Plaque, which is basically a mixture of food, bacteria, and bacteria poop, is your enemy. By not removing plaque from your teeth, build-up can result in cavities, gum disease, and may eventually end up losing your tooth!
How well you can maintain your oral hygiene is ultimately based on your dedication. Here are some of the most commonly seen mistakes on flossing that we observed from our patients. If you have any questions about proper techniques, please ask us at your check-up appointments.
Top mistakes people make when flossing:
- Not floss at all: Flossing allows you to clean the areas between teeth and underneath the gum that the toothbrush cannot get to. Without flossing, you are leaving 40% of the tooth surface uncleaned, not a good idea!
- Using the same area of the floss for the whole mouth: Make sure to use a different part of your dental floss when getting in between teeth, otherwise you may be putting plaque from one tooth to another tooth
- Not flossing into the gum: It’s important to wiggle the floss not just in between teeth, but also underneath the teeth (between the teeth and the gums). Your gums need cleaning too. But don’t force the floss in, go as far as it feels natural for you
Some people find flossing difficult, especially when trying to floss the molars or the teeth in the back of your mouth. With braces, flossing does take longer because you have to get underneath the wires. We recommend using a floss threader or superfloss when flossing with braces. Water Pik is a great alternative to flossing if you are having difficulties flossing properly. Water Pik is a device which sends concentrated blasts of water to clean in between your teeth. This is like power washing your teeth. However, it cannot replace good old brushing, and we only recommend using it when you really have difficulty flossing.
Stay tuned for our next post on how to brush your teeth properly!