Problems with Lingual Braces
Lingual braces are positioned on the inside surfaces of the teeth and these are normally in contact with the tongue. This is the reason why some irritation of the tongue and articulation and speech difficulties are common with lingual braces. It is often badly constructed braces that are either too big or sharp-edged that are responsible for irritating the tongue. But even with the best lingual braces, irritation of the tongue is possible, particularly at the start of the treatment. Patients with lingual braces are always given a special kind of wax that they can use to cover the offending brackets.
Wearing a lingual brace can make it difficult to form some sounds, resulting in a lisp-effect that can be very inhibiting for the patient. Fortunately, as is the case with irritation of the tongue, any speech disturbance generally disappears after an initial period of adjustment of a few weeks. So, it has to be said that lingual braces are certainly not for the faint-hearted. But once most patients get used to their lingual braces, this problem tends to become less annoying.
Disturbance of Tongue Function
So the one disadvantage of the Lingual Technique is that brackets attached to the lingual surfaces can disturb the function of the tongue in such a way that this can result in a lasting speech impediment in particularly sensitive patients. In such cases, although the lingual device is not actually visible, its presence can certainly be heard. Likewise, particularly sensitive patients initially complain about stubborn, sore spots on their tongue. But, after an adjustment period of a few weeks, most patients get so used to the device that their speech is quite normal and any irritation of the tongue generally disappears. Usually, by this time, it is rarely necessary to cover the offending parts of the device with protective wax. Nevertheless, it is imperative that patients are told about these problems during the consultation that outlines the pros and cons of the Lingual Technique. Only an enlightened and sufficiently motivated patient will be prepared to accept some minor restrictions in order to have orthodontic treatment that is genuinely invisible. The Incognito Bracket, that was developed in Germany (TOP-Laboratory, Bad Essen) and has been available on the open market since the beginning of 2004, represents a big step forward from the point of view of patient comfort. The device is individually manufactured for each patient using CAD/CAM technology and features a high-precision, flat shape that was previously unthinkable, resulting in a very significant reduction in tongue irritation and speech disturbance so that, as a rule, these things represent no great problem. The Incognito Bracket is actually delivered along with a batch of ready-made wires produced on a bending machine, which makes economical treatment possible and relieves the strain on the orthodontist.