A perfect smile is a dream for many people. Fortunately, with advancements in orthodontic treatments, it is now easier than ever to achieve straighter teeth. From traditional braces to clear aligners, there are several options available for those seeking to straighten their teeth.
With each option having its own advantages and disadvantages, it’s essential to weigh them carefully to determine the best fit for your needs. In this article, we’ll explore the most popular options to straighten teeth, including their benefits and drawbacks.
Types of Misalignments
Taking care of your teeth is vitally important for both comfort and appearance. If you have dental misalignments, you should visit an orthodontist to take steps to correct them.
If teeth are left untreated, misalignments can worsen over time, leading to a wide range of serious potential health problems beyond aesthetic issues.
Getting professional help can mean correcting misalignments whether the issue involves overcrowding, crookedness, underbites, overbites, crossbites, and more. Treatment options vary based on the severity of misalignments and can range from simple appliances like braces to more aggressive corrective surgeries depending on the situation.
In this section, we look at the common types of misalignments.
Diastema, also known as a gap between two or more teeth, can be a source of concern for many individuals. This condition is commonly seen in people of all ages and can affect the appearance of the smile, making some people feel self-conscious.
While diastema can occur naturally as a result of genetic factors, such as having small teeth, it can also be the result of bad habits such as thumb-sucking or incorrect tongue positioning.
Overcrowding of teeth is a common dental issue that affects a significant number of people. It is characterized by a lack of sufficient space in the mouth to accommodate all the teeth, leading to the crowding of teeth. This can result in crooked or overlapping teeth, which can cause a range of problems, including difficulty chewing and speaking, as well as an unattractive smile.
If left untreated, overcrowding can lead to more serious dental issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
An overbite, also known as a deep bite, s a common orthodontic issue that can affect the appearance and function of the teeth. It occurs when the top teeth visibly protrude outwards, past the bottom teeth. This can be caused by genetics or thumb-sucking habits in children.
Overbites can lead to various oral health issues if left untreated, such as difficulty chewing and jaw misalignment which can cause a range of issues from ear pain to headaches.
An underbite is a condition of the teeth where the lower jaw protrudes out further than the upper jaw. This makes it look like the teeth on the bottom row are laying over top of the upper teeth.
It can be caused by an array of factors such as genetics, bad habits such as thumb sucking or pacifier usage, jaw size discrepancies or misaligned teeth.
Open bite is a dental condition where the front teeth do not come together when the mouth is closed. It can cause speech issues and create an unattractive appearance on the lower face.
It typically develops during childhood but can be caused by thumb sucking, a misaligned jaw, or even genetics.
Crossbite is when one or more upper teeth bite on the inside of the lower teeth. It can cause jaw joints to be pushed out of position, imbalanced jaw muscles, and changes in how the teeth fit together.
Crossbites can cause difficulty in biting and chewing food. This condition can be caused by various factors such as genetic predisposition, tooth loss, and thumb-sucking habits in children.
Overjet is an orthodontic condition where the top teeth extend beyond the bottom teeth, usually in a protruded or bucked position. Overbites can lead to dental problems such as difficulty chewing and speaking and can even lead to jaw joint pain.
How to Straighten Teeth?
Straightening teeth is a relatively straightforward process, although there are many choices when it comes to achieving the desired results.
From traditional braces to invisible aligners, anyone who wants to straighten their teeth can find an option that fits their lifestyle and budget.
Orthodontists can provide detailed information about all these different treatments, but some of the most popular methods include metal braces, clear aligners, lingual braces, and many more.
At the end of the day, there are plenty of treatments available for those looking to get straighter teeth.
Metal braces are a common approach to straightening and correcting the alignment of teeth. During the process, metal brackets are affixed to each tooth on the upper or lower teeth. An archwire is then threaded between each bracket, which helps guide the correction of the bite and teeth spacing.
The patient needs periodic adjustments as their teeth move into a new position. This process generally takes from one to three years and can go beyond, depending on your specific alignment issues.
Advantages include affordability and durability, while drawbacks might be their aesthetic presence due to the metal color and heightened sensitivity at times.
See our article: What is the Difference Between Braces and Retainers?
Clear/ Ceramic Braces
Clear braces look like traditional metal braces but are made of transparent material, which allows them to blend in better with teeth color and be more aesthetically pleasing to wear.
While clear braces are more expensive than traditional metal ones, most people prefer their discreet appearance and minimal discomfort.
Regular maintenance along with timely follow-ups with the orthodontist throughout the process is vital to achieve desired results as well as to maintaining oral hygiene throughout the treatment.
Lingual appliances are an orthodontic treatment option for those with crooked or misaligned teeth. The process involves custom-made dental braces, which sit behind the teeth to slowly and safely realign them without being visible from the outside.
The duration of treatment typically depends on the severity of the misalignment but usually spans between 1 to 2 years.
Generally speaking, lingual appliances provide all the same benefits as traditional braces while allowing a person to retain their natural aesthetics during treatment.
See our Incognito Braces vs Invisalign Comparison.
A self-ligating brace is a bracket or archwire which holds the archwires in place, allowing them to gradually move the teeth into their desired positions. The process involves attaching two parts: one that’s semi-permanently affixed to the tooth, and another that straps around the archwire. The tightness of these straps can be adjusted as needed.
Generally speaking, self-ligating braces require fewer dental appointments than conventional braces due to their relative ease of use and more comfortable design.
An article on the Dentaly website says that self-ligating braces are more comfortable than metal braces and require fewer adjustments during treatment.
Clear aligners are an increasingly popular method for people to straighten their teeth without braces and enjoy a much more aesthetically pleasing plan when undergoing treatment.
To begin, you take a self-administered impression kit and create impressions of your teeth to send in for processing. Once received, dental professionals craft a treatment plan tailored to fit both your smile goals and budget using 3D imaging technology. Afterwards, a series of custom-made clear aligners are shipped directly to your door.
Although treatment duration can vary based on each individual, most patients use aligners for between 6 months and two years.
See our reviews of the best invisible aligners:
Byte Review – The top pick this aligner is the most affordable and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Included in each purchase is a free HyperBite and retainer.
NewSmile Review – This low-cost option has premium aesthetics and comes with a free teeth whitening kit and retainer.
SmileDirectClub Review – The most popular option that has a lifetime guarantee and a free one-time replacement policy.
Candid Review – Very similar to Invisalign aligners and offering a hybrid in-office care procedure this product has received a lot of positive reviews.
ALIGNERCO – Lowest in price and a zero deposit monthly payment plan. A seasonal discount package is available for only $945.
These devices feature clear, removable trays that are worn throughout each night of treatment.
The process typically includes wearing the aligners for 10-12 hours at night and replacing them every two weeks with a new set of aligners to progress to your ideal smile.
Depending on the severity of your misalignment and other individual factors, treatment time may range anywhere from 8 months upwards.
Although nighttime aligners are quick and convenient, they are not suitable for all types of bite misalignment.
Veneers work by covering the surface of existing teeth with shells made from porcelain or composite material. The veneer process involves mild preparation such as the removal of enamel, applying adhesive, and cementing of the veneer onto the prepared tooth.
Veneers typically last for many years with proper care and maintenance. Generally, veneers can help conceal stains, chips, gaps, and misshapen and cracked teeth. They also create symmetrical, white smiles in a relatively simple process.
The main downsides to dental veneers are that they may require costly follow-up treatments due to chippings or discolorations over time and the process of getting veneers changes the shape of your teeth which cannot be returned to the original condition.
See our Aligners Vs Veneers comparison.
A crown, also known as a dental cap, is a custom-fitted device that covers and reinforces the visible area of a damaged or decayed tooth.
The process of receiving a crown begins with removing all decay and preparing the tooth as needed. Once this is complete, an impression of the tooth is taken to create a replica.
Crowns provide stability and prolong the life of the affected tooth; however, they can also trap bacteria which may cause infections concerning other teeth in the future.
Bonding is an advanced cosmetic dental procedure used to restore the natural beauty of your teeth. It involves applying a tooth-colored resin for optimal aesthetics, artfully sculpted into shape and cured for long-lasting results.
Bonding provides an economical and straightforward solution to common dental problems, such as chips, cracks or discoloration. Without the need for anesthesia or mouth numbing this minor procedure can be carried out quickly and easily with minimal preparation required.
Bonding usually lasts around three to five years with proper maintenance before it needs to be retouched; this involves regular checkups and keeping up on your brushing and flossing routine.
Options to Straighten Teeth – Which Option is the Best for Me?
Ultimately, there are many options available if you’re looking to straighten your teeth. From old-school metal braces to modern clear aligners, the care you choose should fit both your lifestyle and budget.
Although some of these choices may cost more upfront, they can save you time and energy in the long run by reducing the number of follow-up appointments required.
So don’t be afraid to compare different alternatives that suit your needs, you’ll be sure to find an orthodontic option that fits with what’s best for you.