Lingual braces

About lingual braces

Lingual braces are one of several options for discreet cosmetic teeth straightening. They’re virtually invisible when you’re smiling, eating or talking, so no one knows you’re wearing them. Therefore, although they’re suitable for all ages, this makes them ideal for adults who want to get their teeth straightened, or get rid of gaps in their teeth.

What are lingual braces?

Sometimes called ‘hidden braces’, lingual braces are just like traditional braces except they’re fitted to the inside of your teeth rather than the front surface. So although they can’t be seen by other people, they’re still a type of fixed metal brace, made of brackets and wires.

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How much do lingual braces cost?

Lingual braces can be a little more expensive than other teeth straightening options. They need specialist equipment to make and fit them, and they’re custom-made to fit the unique arches of your mouth. Your appointments may need to be longer, too. For more information on the cost of lingual braces, it’s best to talk to your dentist.

Payment options are available to spread the cost of treatment, speak to your local practice for information*.

How do lingual braces work?

Step 1

Your dentist or orthodontist will take a digital scan or dental impressions of your teeth. These will be used to make a 3D simulation of your mouth so that the brackets and wire can be custom-made.

Step 2

Your dentist will glue the brackets to the back of your teeth and thread the strong ‘arch’ wire through them. The wires apply a gentle pressure, gradually aligning your teeth to straighten your smile.

Step 3

Every six to eight weeks, your dentist will adjust the brace to reach the final result.

Do lingual braces affect your speech?

Your speech may be affected at first; a slight lisp or whistling sound is common during the first few weeks while you get used to your new braces. This should improve quickly and the more you speak, the quicker you’ll adjust and the sooner your speech will return to normal.

Are lingual braces painful?

As with all types of braces, there will initially be some discomfort when your teeth start to move. For most people, this feels like a dull ache which can be managed through over-the-counter painkillers. Over time, this will become less noticeable.

After the braces are fitted, your tongue might feel slightly sore, especially when you’re speaking or eating. This should gradually improve, and any discomfort can be soothed by using mouth-pain-relief gel or placing wax on the brackets.

What can and can’t you eat with lingual braces?

You shouldn’t bite into anything hard or chewy because this may break the brackets off of your braces. Avoid eating hard foods like crusty rolls, crisps, toffees and boiled sweets. You should also avoid chewing on pens, pencils or biting your fingernails during your treatment. 

You’ll find that soft foods like soup and pasta are easier to manage and more enjoyable, especially to begin with. It’s a good idea to cut up hard food into small pieces before eating it.

What is a social lingual brace?

There are two types of lingual brace, the standard option and a ‘social’ lingual brace. ‘Social’ lingual braces only treat the front teeth, so are generally only for cosmetic teeth straightening or very minor problems, while the standard version is for those needing more extensive treatment. Find out how they compare, below.

Social lingual brace:

Suitability: Suitable for mild overcrowding and small gaps

Target areas: Designed to move only the front six to eight teeth, known as your ‘social smile'

Duration: Likely to take months rather than years

Standard lingual brace:

Suitability: Suitable for more overcrowded, gapped or crooked teeth and patients with underbites

Target areas: Designed to straighten the whole mouth or all of the lower or upper teeth

Duration: Can take up to a few years

To find out which option is best for you, speak to your dentist for advice. 

Who can wear lingual braces?

Lingual braces can be worn at any age. To check if they’re suitable for you, book a consultation with your local practice. They’ll discuss available options based on your clinical suitability, needs and lifestyle. 

Braces behind teeth can be a good option if you play contact sports like rugby, although you’d need to wear a mouth guard over the top. They’re also ideal if you play a wind instrument as they won’t get in the way.

How long do lingual braces take?

Treatment duration depends on how much your teeth need to move, but lingual braces can take slightly longer than traditional braces.  
After your consultation, the dentist or orthodontist will talk through a bespoke treatment plan, including the estimated treatment length.

Where can you get lingual braces?

Many Bupa Dental Care practices offer lingual braces. If you’d like to know more, or you have a particular question, find your local practice offering orthodontics and get in touch. It’s worth asking what other options your dentist can offer you, too, so you can find the best teeth straightening treatment for you.

Find your nearest Bupa Dental Care practice offering orthodontics

More options for teeth straightening

Not sure lingual braces are right for you? Explore other teeth straightening options:

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Dental Care Limited. Registered in England and Wales No: 00478127. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care, Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

Oasis Dental Care Limited has a number of trading names including Bupa Dental Care. For a list of all our different trading names please follow this link.

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