I have narrow upper & lower jaws which produced crowding of upper & lower front teeth & I also lacked an overjet (that's the arrangement by which the upper jaw front teeth comfortably overlap & clear the lower jaw front teeth). In my case the uppers & lowers met nearly vertically, grinding on each other. As a mature age exec (58), I always felt my smile was less than it could be. I sought out Incognito Lite lingual braces as a relatively invisible remedial option.
Nine months discomfort & $AUD8,000 later the result is considerably less than I was led to expect.
Pros: successful creation of comfortable overjet & partial correction of crowding in upper arch; after initial settling-in, you do get use to the braces & the lisp goes in a few weeks. The actual slow teeth realignment via the procedure is not painful.
Cons: initially the lingual braces are diabolically sharp, drawing blood from my tongue on contact for the first two weeks. The Ortho will dismiss this as "your tongue needs to get use to the new obstacles in your mouth". Rubbish; the manufacturer is derelict in not polishing the metal surfaces. In this age of composites & micro technology sharp metal surfaces are unnecessary. And the braces are not gold coloured as per the literature: they appear as surgical stainless steel but the Ortho believed they were a gold alloy. After a few weeks the sharp edges are eroded by tongue action & the braces become bearable. But you will live on soup for those first two weeks (stock up in advance) & some report weight loss during this period (WIN/WIN). My tongue swelled up from the cuts & I was reduced to babbling for a few days; recommend you take that first week off from work.
While the Incognito Lite braces are fixed to the central eight teeth top & bottom, I learned during the process the moving action only influences the central six, i.e., three teeth either side front, top & bottom. While this might work for some, it left me with a noticeable alignment mismatch in the lower arch between third & fourth teeth either side (third tooth outwards, fourth tooth inwards). I feel this to be a betrayal of the improvement I was seeking.
I have a couple of crowns in the area under braces & was warned that adhesion to crowns is less than ideal. Understatement; I experienced repeated adhesion failures (some within 48 hours of application)which together compromised the outcome & required frequent repair visits. Incredible that we can stick tiles on space shuttles to survive re-entry but not to porcelain crowns in the mouth. Would recommend against this procedure if you possess crowns/ veneers. The manufacturer really need to lift their game on this point.
The end bracket on my upper left side was designed by the manufacturer (the shape & positioning is all predesigned from moulds taken of your mouth) such that when installed the bracket was directly over a lower tooth. Moving my jaw brought all pressure onto just two points across my whole mouth. I warned the Ortho at the time this was not practical for eating but was ignored. Despite my best careful efforts, the end upper left bracket sheared off in a few days. The Ortho tacitly accepted the design error by declining to replace the bracket. So then the sharp stiff wire end left exposed by the missing bracket protruded into my mouth & the torque action on tooth three was reduced due to lack of fixing point on tooth four for the wire to work against.
The procedure employs three wires, successively thicker & stiffer to slowly move the teeth. The lack of this 'terminal anchor point' in my upper left side eventually led to the exposed end on the third, very stiff, wire snapping between the second & third teeth on my upper left so that the torque action was missing completely beyond tooth two & compromised realignment for the other two left hand side uppers (the wire works the teeth against each other). The Ortho attempted to repair this by installing a partial lipside brace on the left hand side uppers at the end of the procedure. I saw little improvement from this ugly band-aid approach. So my left side upper arch curve is less developed than my right side upper. A slight difference that probably only I notice but still disappointing.
At the end of the procedure my lower arch is irregular with three different alignments visible across the front eight teeth. A central crown, being thicker than the surrounding teeth, now sticks out in front more prominently than at the outset. The Orth dismisses this with "the inner arch is technically perfect"; great! it was the outer appearance I was looking to improve!!!
Final assessment: 1) The procedure does work & if you have major teeth misalignment issues you will see significant changes after initial discomfort; for less serious issues I wonder if the degree of improvement is worth the hassle & cost. It comes down to your emotional satisfaction at the end of the procedure.
2) The lingual side braces do NOT achieve as good an appearance as lip side braces. The arch alignment will be perfect for the side that the braces are on. So lingual braces give you perfect inner arches; if your teeth are different thicknesses, this will mean different degrees of jutting out on the lip side i.e., where we see them.
3) The Orthos need to understand this is an emotional process for the client, not a technical one (after all, it is a cosmetic procedure & related to improving self esteem). To be told the technical result is fine while the appearance achieved is less than fine is no comfort.
4) Give the procedure a miss if you have crowns/ veneers.