Maybe you’re not quite happy with the alignment of your teeth, they’re overcrowded, or you have unwelcome gaps. While there is no safe and effective way to change the position of your teeth yourself, there are a few options to straighten teeth with professional help. You’ll want to choose the one that’s right for your lifestyle and budget.
What Are the Oral Health Benefits of Straight Teeth?
The reasons for straightening your teeth aren’t purely cosmetic. When teeth are crowded or misaligned, the gaps between them are often small and at odd angles. As a result, it is harder to reach all of the places that need cleaning.
Straight teeth are better able to withstand the stresses that result from the pressure of chewing. Crooked teeth wear down more quickly, weaken prematurely, and flatten and chip to a greater extent.
What Are My Options for Straightening My Teeth?
Clear aligners are made of transparent, smooth plastic, molded to fit over your top and bottom teeth. With this treatment option, you receive a series of aligners that gradually change the position of their teeth. You wear each aligner in the series for two weeks before changing to the next. You may be fitted for clear aligners in a clinic or with the use of an at-home kit.
Aligners must be removed for mealtimes and when brushing teeth. Treatment time will range from six to 18 months, depending on how much adjustment is needed.
Metal braces. With traditional metal braces, you must make regular trips to the orthodontist to have the wires tightened or adjusted. They’re often the cheapest way to straighten teeth. An alternative option is self-ligating braces, which have spring-loaded clips in place of elastic bands, and can be more comfortable.
Ceramic braces. Ceramic braces have a very similar design to metal braces. The difference is that the brackets, and often the wires, come in white, clear, or teeth-matching colors. This makes them less obvious than the traditional ‘traintracks’.
Ceramic braces can be bulkier than metal ones, irritating gums more easily. They’re also less resistant to pressure than metal, so treatment time may be longer.
Lingual braces. Similar to traditional metal braces, lingual braces also consist of metal wires and brackets. They differ in that they’re affixed to the back of the teeth instead of the front, making them an almost invisible treatment option.
Lingual braces still need to be adjusted regularly. They can also irritate the tongue and gums, be more difficult to clean, and can cost twice as much as traditional metal braces.
Who Specializes in Teeth Straightening?
For any kind of teeth straightening treatment, you’ll need to consult an orthodontist. These specialists work with patients to straighten teeth and align jaws through the use of braces, aligners, retainers, and headgear.
The denTEL directory allows you to find the right kind of dental specialist or dentist near you, depending on your needs. You can search by location, radius, and rating. With access to orthodontists across the country, we’ll get you started on your journey to the straighter teeth you want.