There was a time when if you were born with crooked, cramped or uneven teeth, you simply had to live with it. Thankfully, dentistry has evolved to a point where we can now choose from a variety of treatments to help us achieve our desire for straighter teeth.
Which treatment is right for you?
Before you can decide on an appropriate treatment, it’s important to have your bite and your overall dental health assessed by a dentist. All teeth are different, and some treatments may be more suitable and effective than others for your smile.
One option is to place Veneers – porcelain or resin – over the top of your teeth to build you a better smile. This process works much like applying acrylic nails onto your natural nails to change the size and shape of them. Often (but not always) your teeth may need to be filed down to allow the veneers to fit over the top of them. Veneers can also be used to modify the colour and texture of your teeth for a brighter, whiter smile.
Removable teeth plates and headgear can be used to alter jaw growth in growing children. This type of treatment can also be used to correct some types of misalignment in adult teeth too. Only certain types of tooth movement can be achieved with these appliances, but they can be a great option for early intervention in children to help the jaws and teeth move into a better position, reducing the need for more complex realignment in adulthood.
Braces are one of the most well-known options for correcting teeth. This treatment involves placing brackets directly onto the teeth, connected by wires that are changed periodically to change the bite and move the teeth into their ideal position. The result of treatment is aligning teeth to meet your smile requirements and producing a healthy, functional bite. Braces may take anywhere from three months to three years to achieve the desired results, depending on how complex the required correction is.
Invisalign™ is another option for those wanting dramatic results without having to endure a mouth full of metal. This treatment is growing in popularity as an alternative to braces, particularly amongst adults, given the subtle appearance when wearing the aligners.
This innovative technology involves a series of clear aligners that are worn over the teeth. The aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day, with compliance necessary for this option to be effective. The aligners are only taken out to eat and drink – which is particularly important when consuming hot drinks, as they can distort the aligners.
Much like traditional braces, Invisalign™ aligners are designed to slowly move the teeth into a more desirable position. This process can take longer than braces and care must be taken to assess whether the tooth movements required are reasonably achievable.
You may find that a combination of treatments such as fixed braces and conservative veneers, or Invisalign™ together with veneers or resin build-ups, works better for you. You may even consider Invisalign™ for the top teeth and braces for the lower teeth.
The addition of teeth whitening, before or after your teeth straightening treatment, can help to create even more noticeable results.
Your dentist can advise you on all suitable options, allowing you to choose a treatment plan that suits your lifestyle and can help you to achieve your goals. For more complex cases, treatment by an Orthodontist may be required – your dentist can provide you with referrals in this instance.