What Are the Options When it Comes to Straightening Your Teeth?
For some people, their adult teeth grow in perfectly straight after losing their baby teeth. On the other hand, others’ adult teeth don’t come in so straight— and this is mostly due to genetics. Crowding, jaw shape/size, overbites, and underbites can all be passed down from parent to child. Unfortunately, this genetic trait can’t be controlled or changed, so the only option is to mechanically straighten the teeth.
Braces are still the most common way to straighten teeth. However, braces have come a long way from when they were first invented, and there seems to be less stigma associated with getting braces. There are also many different types of braces— and braces themselves are just one of the ways to straighten your teeth.
Also known as traditional braces, metal braces are still the most common types of braces— even after 100 years! Fortunately, they’re not as big, bulky, or as uncomfortable as they once were. Today they’re smaller and quicker to put on, and the majority of metal braces-wearers are children and adolescents.
These are metal braces that are actually put on behind the teeth, and because of this, they can be considered “invisible braces”. However, there are a few downsides to getting these types of braces. They require a different specialization that most orthodontists don’t have, and they may not be covered under dental as a part of your health insurance plan. They can also cause a temporary lisp and/or temporary tongue irritation.
Ceramic braces are also a more discrete way to straighten teeth, as opposed to metal braces. They’re made of material that looks very similar to natural teeth. Unfortunately, they too, may not be covered under your dental insurance.
Clear aligners are known as the “true” invisible braces. They’ve been a pretty popular alternative to metal braces (and other types) for the past two decades because they’re transparent and removable. However, not everyone is a good candidate for clear aligners, so you’ll have to consult with your orthodontist to determine if these are right for you— and they also may not be covered under insurance.
Cosmetic Dentistry and Surgery
Cosmetic dentistry requires a little more work and time than what goes into installing metal or other types of braces. People typically choose to get a cosmetic dental procedure done to correct crooked, broken, missing, and/or gapped teeth— especially if braces weren’t as effective. Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures include:
Cosmetic dentistry isn’t technically considered surgery because these dental issues can be resolved without major reconstruction to the mouth… but some dental issues do require surgery. Probably the most notable is the removal of wisdom teeth, but some people may need their entire jaw repositioned. Dental surgery is for more medical-related cases whereas cosmetic dentistry is more for aesthetics. However, cosmetic procedures that are done for medical reasons are typically covered under insurance, as with dental surgery.
Retainers are often used after metal braces or another form of teeth, but they can also be used as an individual form of teeth straightening. However, the reason that they’re used after another straightening method is because teeth can shift back to their original form. So they “retain” the new positioning of the teeth. They can be (semi) permanent or they can be removable.
Snap-on veneers are another way to improve your smile, but without actually making any changes to your teeth. This braces alternative would be the best option for those who may have a few imperfections of their teeth that may not require (or respond well) to any of the above options. They can also be a good option for those who may not be able to afford any of the other options.
Unlike traditional veneers where an orthodontist would shave down your teeth and permanently adhere thin, tooth-like shells to your teeth, snap-on veneers are removable. They also look (and feel) very realistic and natural, so you won’t have to worry about your teeth looking fake. On top of that, they’re not nearly as expensive as traditional veneers, where you’re usually charged per tooth.
There are many options available for straightening your teeth, but just remember that good oral health is just as important. Remember to brush at least twice daily and floss at least once a day, and schedule regular dental checkups every six months.
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