The Lingual Technique was developed around 1970 because there was a need to offer an ‘invisible’ kind of orthodontic treatment to well-off clients who were very demanding in terms of the aesthetic aspect of their teeth. To begin with, normal braces were usually stuck to the lingual surfaces (i.e. the inner surfaces) of the teeth. But the first people to actually treat patients with lingual brackets were C. Kurz in the USA and K. Fujita in Japan. Kurz patented his own lingual bracket in 1976 and Fujita followed suit in 1978.
The First Lingual Bracket
In 1979, with the help of the Task Force, Ormco launched a special lingual brace onto the market that was then improved over many years and, since 1990, has been sold as the ORMCO 7th Generation Bracket. After the euphoria and subsequent disappointment of the 1970’s, there is now a steady but increasing demand for orthodontic treatment using the Lingual Technique. This is unlikely to change, even with the introduction of Aligner treatment, because many simple movements of the teeth (e.g. extrusions, intrusions, gap-filling and larger adjustments to the bite) cannot really be achieved by using removable aligners so their use is mainly restricted to the more straightforward cases.
The fixed lingual device, on the other hand, has developed into something that is virtually unlimited in its use. Today, about 10% of German orthodontists routinely turn to the Lingual Technique. So the Lingual technique is well established and will remain on the market for a long time although it will be mainly reserved for those orthodontists who are very accomplished and skilled with their hands. But the orthodontists who spend most of their time treating children with removable braces cannot really use the demanding Lingual technique successfully!
The First Boom
But the first Lingual Technique boom in the USA soon fizzled out again because it was just not possible to produce good results without the right materials and procedures – “invisible appliance, invisible results” as people who derided the device often said. This has changed dramatically so that today even the most difficult of treatment procedures can now be carried out using the Lingual Technique without having to compromise on quality. Some of the first orthodontists to use the Lingual Technique, including C. Kurz, actually got together in the 1970’s to form the Lingual Technique ORMCO-Task Force which was one of several groups supported by one of the big manufacturers of orthodontic products.