Braces versus Retainers: A Comprehensive Overveiw

Braces versus Retainers: A Comprehensive Overveiw

Metal Braces and Lingual Braces: What Are the Differences?

by Lonnie Bryant

Today, you have a number of alternatives for straightening your teeth. Lingual braces and traditional metal braces, two of the most popular braces options, can both straighten your teeth and greatly improve your smile. However, they have some significant differences. Here's what you need to know about lingual and traditional metal braces. 

Metal Braces

You're probably already familiar with traditional metal braces. Whilst you may know what traditional metal braces look like — brackets and wires on the teeth — you might not know that they're changed in recent years. Today, traditional metal braces have smaller and more lightweight brackets than they did decades ago. This can make them more comfortable, and it can also minimise the "metal mouth" look that so many teens and adults dread having. 

The average time to wear traditional metal braces is usually around 1–2 years. However, some patients may need to wear braces for longer if they have severe teeth misalignment. Whilst wearing metal braces, most patients will see the orthodontist every 6–8 weeks for adjustments and tightening. Metal braces are an effective way to straighten the teeth in nearly any misalignment situation, which accounts for their continued popularity in the orthodontic field. 

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces use metal brackets and wires to straighten the teeth, just as with traditional metal braces. The big difference with lingual braces is that they're completely hidden because they're applied to the backs of the teeth. Whilst looking at the backs of the teeth, lingual braces look almost exactly like traditional metal braces, but when you smile there's no metal to be seen at all. 

Lingual braces, like traditional braces, are very effective for teeth straightening and can be used for virtually any kind of alignment issue. However, the process of applying lingual braces is more complex and this often translates into a higher cost than that of traditional metal braces. As with traditional metal braces, average wear time is around 1–2 years and maintenance visits to the orthodontist are done every 6–8 weeks. 

Lingual braces do require special care whilst flossing. Flossing technique is more complex than usual because you must avoid the brackets and wires attached to the back of the teeth. Flossing with traditional metal braces is usually easier because you have a better view of the wires and brackets whilst flossing. Your orthodontist can teach you a lingual braces flossing technique, and soon it will become as routine as regular flossing.


Which is right for you, traditional metal braces or lingual braces? It's different for every person. If you want a metal free smile, lingual braces may be the perfect solution. If you're looking for straightforward teeth straightening and don't mind the metal for a year or two, traditional metal braces may be better for you. Contact your local orthodontist today to discuss your options!


About Me

Braces versus Retainers: A Comprehensive Overveiw

There are more than two ways to straighten a smile, and in this blog, I plan to discuss them all. I plan to look at the differences between braces and retainers and explain why sometimes you may need them both. I look at the differences in cost, time commitment and efficacy. Personally, I have had a bit of experience with this subject – I had braces as a young teen, and I had a permanent retainer. In this blog, I discuss what I have learned, and I present all kinds of new information on the topic. Whether you are trying to make decisions for yourself or your child. I hope you find this information useful.