What Are Lingual Braces? The Pros, Cons, Costs & Considerations

Man with glasses smiling

Lingual braces, also known as incognito braces, are a type of orthodontic braces that are placed on the back surface of the teeth (the lingual side). This is in contrast to traditional braces that are placed on the front of the teeth.

They work in the same way as normal braces, using brackets and wires to move teeth into their proper positions, but they are hidden from view, making them a more aesthetically pleasing option for many patients.


What Is A Lingual Brace?


Lingual braces are a type of orthodontic treatment used to straighten teeth. Unlike traditional braces that are placed on the front of the teeth, lingual braces are attached to the back or lingual (tongue-side/back) surface of the teeth. This makes them less visible, as they are hidden.

Lingual braces work similarly to traditional metal braces by applying constant pressure on the teeth to gradually move them into the desired position. They are custom-made for each patient to ensure a comfortable fit. 

Lingual braces can be an appealing option for individuals who want a more discreet orthodontic treatment compared to the other types of braces.


What Is A ‘Social’ Lingual Brace?


A “social” lingual brace is a type of lingual brace that is only applied to the front six to eight teeth (known as the social six or social eight). This type of lingual brace is designed to correct minor to moderate cosmetic orthodontic issues in the most visible teeth, while leaving the remaining teeth untouched.

Unlike traditional lingual braces, which are applied to all teeth on the lingual side of the mouth, social lingual braces are less invasive and can often be more comfortable for the patient. They are also typically more affordable than traditional lingual braces, as they require less customization and fewer materials.

Social lingual braces are a good option for patients who have minor to moderate cosmetic orthodontic issues, such as mild crowding, spacing, or misalignment, and who are looking for a discreet and effective treatment option.

However, they may not be suitable for all patients, particularly those with more complex orthodontic issues or bite problems. Your orthodontist can help you determine if social lingual braces are the right option for you.


Pros And Cons Of Lingual Braces


Like any orthodontic treatment option, wearing these hidden braces has both advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits Of Lingual Braces


  • They are virtually invisible from the outside, which makes them a good option for patients who are self-conscious about their appearance while wearing braces.
  • They can effectively correct a wide range of orthodontic issues, including crowding, spacing, and bite problems.
  • They are custom-made to fit the unique shape and size of each patient’s teeth, which can make them more comfortable to wear than traditional braces.
  • They are generally more effective at controlling tooth movement than clear aligners.

Disadvantages Of Lingual Braces


  • They can be more difficult to clean and maintain than traditional braces, since they are placed on the back of the teeth and are more difficult to see and access.
  • They can be more uncomfortable to wear than traditional braces, particularly in the first few weeks after they are placed.
  • They can take longer to adjust and may require more frequent appointments with the orthodontist than traditional braces.
  • They are typically more expensive than traditional braces, due to the additional customisation and specialised equipment required.


What Is The Cost Of Lingual Braces?


The cost of lingual braces in the UK can vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of your case, the experience of your orthodontist, and the geographic location of the practice.

In general, lingual braces tend to be more expensive than traditional braces or clear aligners, due to the additional customisation and specialised equipment required. The cost can range from £4,000 to £10,000 or more, depending on the above factors.

It is important to keep in mind that orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment in your oral health and overall well-being. While the cost of lingual braces may be higher than other options, they can provide a more discreet and effective treatment for some patients.


Are There Any Celebrities With Lingual Braces?


Many celebrities have chosen lingual braces as a discreet option for straightening their teeth. Here are a few examples:

  • Justin Bieber – Canadian singer and songwriter Justin Bieber wore lingual braces for a few months to correct his crowded teeth.
  • Khloe Kardashian – American reality TV star Khloe Kardashian wore lingual braces to straighten her teeth and improve her smile.
  • Zendaya – American actress and singer Zendaya also wore lingual braces to correct her bite and achieve a straighter smile.
  • Serena Williams – American professional tennis player Serena Williams wore lingual braces to straighten her teeth and improve her oral health.
  • Tom Cruise – American actor Tom Cruise reportedly wore lingual braces in the 1980s to straighten his teeth.


Oral Health Before And After Lingual Braces


Lingual braces can be an effective treatment option for patients who want to achieve a straighter and more aesthetically pleasing smile. Here are some examples of how lingual braces improve oral health

Before Lingual Braces


  • Crooked, misaligned teeth
  • Overbite or underbite
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps or spaces between teeth
  • Unbalanced bite

After Lingual Braces

  • Straighter, more aligned teeth
  • Improved bite alignment
  • Reduced or eliminated crowding and spacing issues
  • A more aesthetically pleasing smile
  • Improved oral hygiene and health


5 Oral Hygiene Tips For When You Have Lingual Braces


Taking care of your oral hygiene when you have lingual braces requires some extra attention and diligence. Here are some tips to help you maintain good oral health:

  1. Brush regularly: Brush your teeth after every meal and before bedtime. Use a slim, tapered toothbrush with soft bristles to reach the lingual surface of your teeth and braces.
  2. Use a proper brushing technique: Tilt your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to clean the back (lingual) surfaces of your teeth. Brush gently in a circular motion, paying special attention to the area around the brackets and wires.
  3. Floss: Use a floss threader or orthodontic floss to clean between your teeth and under the wires. Consider using a water flosser to help remove debris in hard-to-reach areas.
  4. Try an interdental brush: Use interdental brushes or proxabrushes to clean between the brackets and wires. These can help remove food particles and plaque from areas that are challenging to reach with a regular toothbrush.
  5. Use mouthwash: Rinse with an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash to help reduce bacteria and strengthen your teeth.

Ultimately, the decision to choose lingual braces or another type of orthodontic treatment should be based on a thorough discussion with your orthodontist. Book a free consultation to determine whether lingual braces suit your individual needs and preferences.

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