What Are Lingual Braces?

A teacher of lingual braces techniques for the postdoctoral orthodontic program of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Dr. Allen Garai explains this increasingly popular method for improving and correcting a smile.

Interviewer: Can you explain the difference between traditional braces and lingual braces?

Dr. Garai: Regular braces involve metal brackets being mounted to the front of the teeth. Lingual braces use the same basic concept, but they are fitted to the back of the teeth.

I: Why are lingual braces becoming popular?

Dr. Garai: Traditional braces have some drawbacks. If a young person plays a wind instrument, the braces can interfere with that skill, or if they play contact sports, wearing braces in front poses extra risks to their mouth and face. Adults will often elect to not wear braces due to the unsightly nature of traditional braces. Lingual braces eliminate these concerns by hiding them on the back of the teeth while still correcting a smile in the same amount of time.

I: Are there drawbacks to lingual braces?

Dr. Garai: Not every orthodontist is trained in lingual braces, so it may be harder for a patient to schedule appointments and treatments. Also, lingual braces may cost more due to the newer technology. Sometimes orthodontists will recommend additional dental gear to be worn at night to encourage the movement of the teeth. Overall, lingual braces have roughly the same limitations as regular braces, such as the patient not being allowed to chew gum or eat sticky candy.