How to Straighten Your Teeth

If you’re concerned about how your teeth look, you’re far from alone. Issues such as crooked or “gappy” teeth are more common than most people realize and can have many different causes.

Dr. Brad Mokris discusses orthodontic treatment with a patient.

If you’re happy with your current smile, your teeth aren’t causing you any issues, and you’re able to maintain the necessary standards of dental hygiene, you’ll likely not need any treatment. However, if your teeth are causing you issues or you simply dream of having the perfect smile, you’ll be glad to know that straightening your teeth is now easier than ever.

Complications Resulting From Misaligned Teeth

Although many people with misaligned teeth won’t experience any issues directly as a result of them, they can result in a surprisingly wide range of issues. This includes minor injuries to the lips or gums but, in extreme cases, misaligned teeth can even result in issues with eating or speaking or the development of jaw abnormalities.

Mental and social issues such as a lack of self-confidence and insecurity about your appearance can also be a common result of misaligned teeth. Orthodontic intervention can also be very helpful and potentially even life-changing for those affected in this way.

Your Options For Straightening Your Teeth

There’s more than one possibility when you’re considering how to straighten your teeth. In fact, there are five main options available. These are conventional metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, clear aligners such as Invisalign, and teeth straightening in conjunction with surgery.

With the exception of teeth straightening surgery, all of these methods work in broadly the same way. They use an orthodontic device or devices to apply a safe but constant or near-constant pressure to your teeth, causing them to gradually change position and orientation over the course of months. The speed at which this process happens and the end results can vary depending on the type of treatment used as well as a wide array of other factors such as your compliance with the treatment, your age, and the state of your oral and tooth health when you begin treatment.

Each of the five options can provide excellent results, but each comes with its own benefits and drawbacks. You’ll need to consider these along with your individual circumstances and preferences to decide which is the right option for you.


Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces have been around for decades and remain one of the most widely known orthodontic interventions for straightening teeth. These braces use a combination of wires, bands, and brackets which attach to the front of the teeth.

Although still fairly common, they’ve somewhat fallen in popularity over recent years due to competition from newer, more discreet and flexible alternatives. They’re usually the cheapest option, making them a good choice if you’re on a budget, and may be the recommended solution for those with the most complex alignment issues.


Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces but provide some key advantages. The ceramic used in these braces may cause less irritation. The color of the ceramic also allows these braces to blend in with your teeth better. They’ll still be noticeable, especially when compared to near-invisible options like lingual braces or clear aligners, but they definitely stand out much less than traditional metal braces.


Invisalign Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, of which the brand Invisalign is by far the most popular and well-known, provide a unique and very appealing alternative to braces. Invisalign utilizes 3D printing technology to produce a series of clear plastic aligners that are tailored to your individual teeth. These aligners are incredibly discreet, appearing almost invisible, and, unlike other orthodontic devices, allow you to easily remove and reinsert them.

You’ll still need to wear your aligners for 21 hours each day if you want to get the full results, but you can remove them for eating and to clean your teeth. This can be very freeing, as you’ll not have to restrict your diet during your treatment and don’t need to worry about adjusting your dental hygiene routine to clean around braces.

Invisalign and other clear aligners are reasonably priced, with treatment costs typically comparable to ceramic braces, making them a notably cheaper “invisible option” than lingual braces. Unfortunately, they may not be an option for those with the most severe or complex orthodontic issues, in which case other treatment options will need to be considered.


Teeth Straightening Surgery

The majority of orthodontic issues won’t require surgery, but it can be necessary in some circumstances. It’s often used when the problem originates in the jaw, rather than with the teeth themselves.

With a combination of orthodontics to align the teeth and surgery to correct jaw misalignment, an ideal bite can be achieved.  Costs and recovery time can vary significantly depending on the exact nature of the surgery required.


How Do I Decide Which Option Is Right For Me?

With so many different ways to straighten your teeth, it can be hard to know which will be best for you. The truth is that there’s no single best option, but some options will definitely fit your needs better than others. If you do want to go ahead with getting your teeth straightened, it’s best to consider your priorities and which options you’d most consider, then speak to a qualified orthodontist.

The orthodontist will be able to answer any questions you have and assess your individual case, letting you know the best ways to straighten your teeth. They’ll also be able to give you some an idea about your projected treatment timeline, total costs, and the kind of results you can expect to see. Once you have this information, you’ll be able to make a fully informed decision about which option you’d like to proceed with.


How Do I Know If Teeth Straightening Treatment Will Work For Me?

Although it’s not possible to determine how effective a treatment will be or to guarantee any results without seeing a patient, the vast majority of people affected by misaligned teeth and other orthodontic issues will experience significant improvements with the right treatment.

Of course, the only way to know for certain which treatment options will work for you personally is to speak to an orthodontist. They will be able to advise you on how to straighten your teeth in the most effective and reliable way.


How Long Can I Expect My Treatment To Take?

The length of your treatment will vary depending on the nature and severity of your teeth’s misalignment, whether you have other dental issues, your age, and the type of treatment chosen, but will generally take somewhere between six months and two years. Mild issues won’t take as long to address, and younger patients can usually expect faster progress. Only an orthodontist who has examined you will be able to give you an accurate time frame.


What’s My Next Step?

If you’re ready to begin addressing your dental issues and start on the journey to your perfect smile, the first step is to contact a fully qualified and experienced orthodontist and arrange an appointment.

At Coastline Orthodontics, we specialize in metal and ceramic braces as well as Invisalign plastic aligners, allowing us to address both mild and severe issues in a way that can suit all budgets and aesthetic requirements. Contact us today to find out more or arrange an appointment with one of our orthodontic experts.