In contrast to the huge human population on this planet, only a handful of them have a perfect teeth setting. Imperfect teeth diminish your confidence when you smile. Moreover, it makes your brushing and flossing efforts somewhat more difficult.
Thankfully, orthodontic dentistry has improved a lot in the recent years. As a result, it is now easier to fix the problems of misaligned or imperfect teeth.
There’re well-defined treatment strategies that can straighten the teeth with or without using braces.
reasons to straighten your teeth
Getting your teeth straightened isn’t simply about getting some braces fitted so you can have a more beautiful smile. Granted a perfectly-aligned set of teeth can deliver a winning shot of self-esteem, but there’s more on offer, from what’s officially known as orthodontics, than a dazzling set of pearly whites.
If you have crooked teeth there are a number of benefits to getting your teeth straightened.
- It is easier to keep your teeth and gums clean
- You’ll have less wear and tear on your teeth from clenching and grinding
- You’ve got less chance of damaging your gums
- There’s less stress on the jaw joint from bad biting patterns
While there is no guarantee that teeth straightening will conclusively fix your dental problems, it can make a significant difference to problems caused by ‘malocclusion’, more commonly referred to as misaligned teeth.
Teeth straightening with braces
Ceramic braces are popular among adults and older teens who are looking for an effective teeth straightening option with a less obvious appearance. They are less noticeable than standard metal braces because they have clear or tooth-coloured brackets and optional tooth-coloured wires.
While ceramic braces are much less visible, they work in precisely the same way as metal braces, producing the same results in the same treatment time.
Lingual (inside) braces
Lingual braces are truly invisible – these custom-made braces are attached to the inside surfaces of your teeth, instead of the front. Lingual braces are 100% personalised to follow the individual contours of your teeth, ensuring they are as comfortable and effective as possible.
However, because lingual braces are located near the tongue, they can take some time to get used to and may impact on speech and eating more than regular braces, which is one of the reasons many people opt for alternative treatments.
Traditional metal braces are still the most common type of braces used for kids and teens, but they’re also an option for adults, particularly those who are on a tighter budget.
With this type of treatment, small metal brackets are attached to the teeth and are then connected with a thin wire, which is adjusted or changed at regular intervals to gradually align your teeth and correct your bite – making them a very effective and reliable treatment option. Modern metal braces are much smaller and more comfortable than ever before. In younger patients, you’ll often see them jazzed up with colourful elastic modules to make the fun and fashionable!
This type of orthodontic appliance was traditionally used to correct extreme overbites. Headgear puts pressure on the upper teeth in jaw. Depending on what’s needed, the headgear will either be used to hold teeth in a particular position or to move them into proper alignment. Since headgear can be removed, it must be worn for a specific number of hours each day in order to achieve the desired results. Your orthodontist would provide specific instructions about this.
Headgear may be a viable way to straighten teeth without braces, but we haven’t talked to too many adults that are excited about this alternative. We’d be lying if we said that wearing headgear would be less noticeable than traditional metal braces.
How to straighten teeth without braces
Teeth straightening without braces can be split into two categories: Removable retainers and Instant orthodontics. Teeth straightening with or without braces will improve your appearance and with it, your confidence too. But teeth straightening without braces specifically has other benefits too:
- It is usually invisible, impacting less on your social and business life
- It is often faster than with braces, sometimes even instant
- In all cases, it’s easier for eating
Dental crowns can ‘visually’ straighten teeth without the need for braces. Rather than actually moving the teeth into the desired position, minor misalignments can be corrected by simply capping a wonky tooth with a straight crown.
Most people would receive a retainer after you completed treatment with traditional metal braces. However, adults who only need minimum teeth correction may be able to achieve those desired results with a retainer alone. As far as aesthetics go, retainer is transparent and fits over the entire arch of the mouth. This makes it much less noticeable than traditional braces. this type of orthodontic appliance is also significantly less expensive than braces.
This may sound like an appealing option if you are seeking an alternative to braces, but remember we said this may work only if minimum teeth correction is required. The reality is that the number of use cases where this approach would be viable are extremely limited. If you truly want to straighten your teeth without braces, then you should consider a different alternative.
Here’s a very popular option for adults who are in need of orthodontic treatment. If you are not familiar with Invisalign, these are clear plastic retainers that are used to straighten teeth without braces. They are custom made for the patient and work relatively quickly compared to traditional forms of orthodontic treatment. Also, Invisalign is essentially invisible and people won’t even know that you’re wearing them.
For Invisalign, your dentist or orthodontist will take a 3D map of your mouth at the beginning of your treatment. Then a series of aligners will be created based on the 3D map. Aligners are worn for approximately 20 to 22 hours per day and can be removed to eat and brush teeth. Aligners are switched out every two weeks for the next aligner in your series. It is this process that gently moves the teeth into correct alignment.
Invisalign is obviously a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a way to straighten your teeth without braces. They are so discreet that your friends won’t be able to tell you’re wearing them while you speak, laugh or smile. However, this form of orthodontic treatment still requires occasional checkups at the orthodontist and Invisalign can be even more expensive than traditional braces.
Can veneers help to straighten crooked teeth?
Cosmetic dentistry also offers another alternative for correcting one’s smile without the need for braces. Specifically were talking about porcelain veneers or dental bonding. if you don’t want braces, then these are a viable option to consider. Veneers are thin, hard shells of porcelain that are bonded permanently to the front of a tooth. You could use them to correct teeth that are crooked, discolored, misaligned, chipped or have spacing issues. Dental veneers are very strong and very resistant to staining.
If you’re looking for an alternative to braces that will provide results in a short amount of time, dental veneers are a viable option. That being said, they are pretty extreme and here’s why. First, veneers are permanent. A dentist will remove the surface enamel in order to attach the veneer to the tooth. It’s an irreversible procedure and veneers will need to be replaced every five to 10 years.
Contouring and bonding
Dental bonding has the power to straighten teeth without braces in just a single visit. Used only for minor corrections, the process involves sculpting a new shape for your tooth using a special moldable material that matches the original colour.
The best time to have orthodontic treatment
The popular image of teeth straightening begins and ends with pimply teens wearing braces. But the truth is, anyone can benefit from orthodontic treatment, including adults.
Treatment usually starts for most people however from about the age of 12 when the baby teeth of childhood are replaced by a full set of adult, or permanent teeth. If you think your child’s teeth need treatment, your dentist will be able to tell if the procedures are needed and when they should start.
How long does cosmetic teeth straightening take?
It depends on how much work there is to do and how far your teeth need to be moved but cosmetic teeth straightening can take as little as six months. Your dentist will give you advice about how long your treatment will take and how your teeth should look once you finish your treatment.
How much does teeth straightening cost?
The cost of teeth straightening can vary depending on the complexity of the treatment and the type of braces or treatment you have. The cheapest way to align your teeth is to take the traditional route with metal braces. Generally, clear aligners are also quite affordable due to requiring cheaper materials to make. Saying that each case is different and the only way to know the costs will be is to have a consultation with an orthodontist.