Teeth straightening is a treatment option that helps fix crooked teeth and misalignments in the mouth. It improves chewing and speech and reduces the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Treatment is available on the NHS for kids and teens. Adults and older teens will need to consider private options, however these are often more affordable than people think.
During the teeth straightening process, braces are used to apply gentle, constant pressure on your teeth. This pressure helps shift your teeth into a more aligned position, helping correct the alignment of your jawline as well. Braces are typically made of metal and include small brackets that the dentist cements to the front of your teeth and bands that fit around each of your molars. The brackets hold a wire, which is periodically tightened by the orthodontist to create pressure on your teeth and help shift them into a more aligned position.
A good candidate for braces is someone who has healthy teeth and a mature jaw. Having crooked teeth isn’t the only problem that orthodontics can fix; misaligned teeth can also lead to other oral health problems such as gum disease. Over time, bacterial plaque and food debris build up on crooked teeth, leading to tooth decay and other issues. By straightening your teeth, you can eliminate this bacterial buildup and improve the way that your jaw functions. The orthodontist will assess your tooth health and bite and recommend a treatment option to best fit your needs.
While traditional metal braces are still popular, many adults and older teenagers are turning to clear aligners to straighten their smiles. These plastic trays are designed for each individual’s mouth using patented SmartTrack material, and are virtually invisible when worn. Every 1-2 weeks, patients swap out their current set of aligners for a new one that places more pressure on the teeth to move them into place.
The aligners can be easily removed when brushing or flossing, making them a convenient way to maintain proper oral hygiene. They are also easier to use when eating and drinking, reducing the risk of food stuck in the braces or discomfort from chewy foods.
Invisalign is effective at fixing a wide variety of dental problems, including gaps in the teeth, overcrowding, and overbite and underbite. Depending on the severity of the case, treatment may take between six and 12 months. If a patient has severe crowding, they might need to get headgear or have certain teeth removed. This is why it is important to have a thorough consultation with an orthodontist before beginning any treatment.
Unlike metal braces, clear aligners can be removed to eat, drink and brush teeth. They are also more comfortable to wear. However, they must be worn for about 22 hours a day to be effective. Clear aligners are best for patients with mild to moderately crowded or unevenly spaced teeth. Patients with more severe crowding or spacing problems may need alternative treatment options, such as Invisalign® or ClearCorrect.
Some patients will need to use attachments with their aligners. These are little bumps of tooth-colored plastic that are bonded to the teeth to place targeted pressure on certain areas in order to help move them up, down, left or right as needed. Reveal aligners, on the other hand, are made of a special material that results in a tight fit and eliminates the need for attachments.
In most cases, clear aligners straighten teeth in much shorter amounts of time than traditional braces. Additionally, they are far less noticeable in social or professional situations. While they can cause slight discomfort when a new set is inserted, it is usually minimal and should disappear within a few days.
Retainers are custom-made orthodontic appliances that keep your teeth in their new positions after treatment. They are essential to preventing relapse – a return of your teeth to their original misalignment. Without a retainer, your teeth may move back to their original position due to growth-related changes and/or the natural tendency of your mouth to shift over time.
Wearing your retainer as recommended is the best way to prevent relapse and ensure that all of the time and money you spent on straightening your smile was not in vain. Retainers are available in two types: removable retainers and fixed retainers.
Removable retainers are made of plastic (acrylic or clear) and can be easily removed for brushing and flossing, as well as special occasions. Fixed retainers are bonded to the back of your teeth and can only be removed by a dental healthcare provider. The type of retainer you choose depends on your preference, lifestyle and visibility needs. Ask us if you have any questions about your options. Our team is here to help!
For some patients, traditional braces are not enough. If they have jaw bone irregularities such as an overbite or underbite, it may be necessary to perform surgery concurrently with teeth straightening treatment. This is known as corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery.
This procedure uses external force and pressure to realign crooked teeth and crowded teeth. It also addresses overbite, underbite, deep bites, cross bites and teeth gaps. It improves chewing and can help with breathing, reduce the risk of dental diseases such as gum disease, improves facial appearance, and enhances self-esteem.
Crooked or crowded teeth make it hard to clean them properly which can lead to plaque build-up and tooth decay. This type of problem can also cause speech problems like a lisp.
Many people assume that they need to wait until their children are teenagers or adults to get their teeth straightened. However, orthodontic treatment can be used for people of all ages. It is ideal for young children because the mouth is still growing but adults can benefit too. This is especially true if they have a crooked smile that has developed over the years.