Do crooked teeth make you feel self-conscious about your smile? Maybe you’ve hesitated about getting braces because of the way they would look or feel in your mouth. But these days, people interested in straightening their teeth have more options to consider than in the past. Let’s look at some of the treatment options that could help you enjoy straight teeth.
The Benefits of Having Straight Teeth
If some of your teeth are crooked or crowded together, it can impact more than your smile. The potential consequences of misaligned teeth include:
- Difficulty chewing food
- Difficulty cleaning in between teeth, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease
- Wear and tear on your teeth, which can cause cracked teeth and TMJ
- Interference with speech
- Repetitive biting of cheeks
If you’ve been suffering from any of these issues, or even if you just want a boost to your self-confidence, modern dental care can help you achieve straight teeth.
Option 1: Clear Aligners
Invisalign® is clear mouthpiece that is custom fit over your teeth. Your dentist will create a series of them for you to wear, gradually shifting your teeth into a better position. They’re recommended for teens and adults with mild to moderately crooked teeth.
Clear aligners have several advantages over traditional metal braces, including:
- They can be removed for eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth.
- They’re nearly invisible when you’re wearing them.
- They don’t contain any wires, which can cut your lips and gums.
- They don’t take as long as metal braces to begin having an effect.
How long it will take you to achieve straight teeth with clear aligners depends on the severity of your dental issues and the recommendations of your dentist. On average, it takes between 10 months and 2 years. If you had braces when you were younger and only need a mild adjustment for your teeth now, the process can be much faster.
Option 2: Dental Surgery
If you have serious issues with the alignment of your jaw, you may be a candidate for orthognathic surgery. This option is usually recommended for patients with conditions of the jaw that are too severe to be corrected with braces. Orthognathic surgery can correct problems like:
- Difficulties with chewing or speech caused by misaligned teeth
- Overbite (your top row of teeth overlaps the bottom row)
- Underbite (your bottom row of teeth overlaps the top row)
- Open bite (your two rows of teeth don’t touch together when your mouth is closed)
For some patients with multiple dental issues, surgery may be a first step, followed by clear aligners or other solutions to attain straight teeth. If you think you may be a good candidate for surgery, your dentist can review your condition and provide more information about your options.
Option 3: Cosmetic Dentistry
If you’d like the confidence boost of straight teeth but your issues aren’t severe enough to require braces, cosmetic dentistry may be the solution you’re looking for. There are several ways to give your teeth a straighter, more polished appearance, including:
- Dental bonding. This is a simple procedure in which your dentist will use a resin that matches the color of your teeth to repair chipped teeth, fill in gaps, or realign crooked teeth. It’s a lower cost way to get an even smile.
- Porcelain veneers. These are very thin layers of porcelain placed over your natural teeth to touch up your smile. High-quality veneers are resistant to stains and chipping, have a natural appearance, and can last for years. They’re a quick and lower-cost way to enjoy the appearance of straight teeth.
Although dental bonding or porcelain veneers will not straighten your teeth, they can correct cosmetic issues without the discomfort or time requirement of braces.
Don’t Try This at Home
If you’ve been looking for a way to straighten your teeth without needing braces, you may have come across online tips or tutorials that claim you can fix your dental issues yourself by making your own braces or using someone else’s devices, such as retainers. This is not accurate, and attempting a DIY approach to dental care can cause serious harm.
Potential consequences of at-home dentistry include:
- Loosened or missing teeth
- Dead teeth
- Weaker tooth enamel
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Damage to your gums
- Oral infection
There is no substitute for professional dental care. A qualified dentist can diagnose any dental issues you may be experiencing and provide solutions tailored to your needs. So if you’ve been hiding your smile or having trouble enjoying your favorite foods, it may be time to make an appointment to discuss your treatment options.
We Make Smiles Brighter
At LifeSmiles by Dr. Randy Mitchmore we use the latest technology to provide innovative dental solutions in a warm, spa-like environment. Not only do we offer a wide-variety of dental services, we top it off with fun, pampering perks and a poolside view. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.