Teeth straightening is an orthodontic treatment that helps to correct crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. It’s not just about vanity, correctly aligned teeth make it easier to brush and floss reducing the risk of gum disease.
Orthodontic braces are most often thought of as a treatment for teenagers but more adults than ever before are having their teeth straightened. The options are now more varied than ever.
Metal braces, made of a network of brackets connected by tight wires, are one of the most common teeth straightening methods. They are effective at correcting a wide range of tooth alignment issues, such as crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and wide gaps between teeth.
Traditional metal braces apply pressure to specific spots on the teeth, helping to guide them into their proper positions. They are usually the least costly teeth straightening method, but they may cause irritation to people with sensitive gums or oral tissues. For these individuals, lingual or clear aligners may be better options.
Patients with metal braces must be careful when eating, drinking and brushing. Certain foods and beverages, such as hard or sticky candy, popcorn, gum, ice, and pretzels can break the wires or damage the brackets. Also, patients should avoid foods that can stain their teeth, such as red wine, dark coffee, and tomato-based sauces.
To help make treatment time as comfortable as possible, we can use self-ligating brackets, which feature special doors or clips that hold the orthodontic wire instead of ligatures (small rubber bands). The lack of friction between the wire and the teeth helps reduce discomfort and allows for faster, more reliable tooth movement. We can also use power or energy chains, which are rows of little rubber o-rings that connect to a bracket, and are stretched between two adjacent teeth to close the gap. These can be changed out for new ones at every adjustment visit.
For people who prefer a more discreet teeth straightening solution, ceramic braces offer the same dependability and versatility as traditional metal braces but with less visibility. These clear braces consist of translucent ceramic brackets that blend in with natural tooth shades, and the archwire is often colored to match your teeth. In addition, the elastic bands that secure the wire to the brackets can be clear for an even more inconspicuous look.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that while ceramic braces are more discreet than metal braces, they do require more care and attention. Because they are more fragile than their metal counterparts, they are more prone to breakage and can take longer to straighten teeth than metal braces. In addition, they can be more difficult to clean effectively and are a common cause of irritated gums. They can also stain if you regularly consume foods and beverages that are known to discolor teeth, such as beets, coffee, red wine or tobacco products.
Despite these drawbacks, ceramic brackets are still an excellent choice for adults who want a discrete treatment option that can treat a wide range of teeth alignment issues, including severe cases such as underbites or overbites. They’re also an ideal option for those who play contact sports as they can withstand more physical stress than their metal counterparts.
Invisalign is a revolutionary way to straighten teeth. Instead of using metal brackets, this treatment uses clear plastic aligners that are virtually invisible when worn.
The aligners are designed based on x-rays, photos, and scans of your teeth, making them completely customized to your specific needs. The aligners apply pressure to the teeth, slowly moving them into place. Every few weeks, you will switch to a new set of aligners that will put more pressure on the teeth, gradually straightening them until they are in their final position.
Crooked or misaligned teeth can be difficult to clean, which can lead to tooth decay and gingivitis. Straightening your teeth can make it easier to brush and floss, which can help prevent these problems.
Invisalign is a great option for adults who want to straighten their teeth but do not want to use metal braces. However, it is important to understand that Invisalign will not work as quickly as traditional braces. The length of time it takes to straighten your teeth with Invisalign will depend on how crooked or misaligned your teeth are, how consistently you wear the trays, and how well you follow your doctor’s instructions. To find out if you are a good candidate for Invisalign, schedule an appointment for a consultation with your dentist. Then, if you decide to move forward with the treatment, your dentist will create a personalized treatment plan.
Clear braces, also known as transparent or invisible braces, offer a discreet treatment option for patients who prefer not to have traditional metal braces. Clear braces are made of a ceramic material that blends in with the teeth, making them less noticeable than metal braces.
Like metal braces, clear brackets can be used to correct misalignment or bite irregularities. They are made up of small brackets that are connected by wires, and the brackets can be bonded to the surface of the teeth with small elastic bands. The bands hold the wires in place, and help guide the teeth into a more desirable position over time.
While the majority of patients find that clear braces are a great option for them, there are some situations when these types of braces may not be suitable. One of the main reasons for this is that clear brackets can be prone to discoloration over time. This is caused by foods such as beets, coffee, tomato sauce, curry, and red wine, which can stain or discolor the brackets. This can cause the clear brackets to become darker than the teeth, and it is important that patients avoid these foods if they are going to use this type of orthodontic treatment.
Other options for a straighter smile include a number of different teeth-straightening solutions, including clear plastic aligners. During a consultation, our team can discuss all of the available orthodontic treatment options with you.