Braces and Invisalign are not the only solution to get straight teeth and a beautiful smile. There are other ways to straighten teeth that are just as effective and less bothersome than braces, and not as expensive as Invisalign.
Some problems can be easily corrected without the aid of braces or Invisalign. These include:
- Minimal overcrowding or slight crookedness of the teeth; this can be easily corrected using retainers. You can opt for a fixed retainer, which is cemented to the inner surface of the teeth and is a good long-term solution. Being fixed, however, means you won’t be able to remove them without going to your dentist; they are similar to braces in this way, but the design is more straightforward compared to braces.
Removable retainers are much like braces, which are attached to the outer surface of the teeth. Unlike braces, you can take them off occasionally if you need some relief or during special events.
- Incorrect bite or malocclusion, which is usually treated with an orthodontic appliance. Appliances help straighten teeth by adjusting the position or imperfections of the jaw, which also help correct the bite. Some appliances for malocclusions have metal extensions that attach to the molar of the upper and lower jaws, connecting them. Other appliances do not have metal braces and work by putting pressure against both the teeth and the jaw to move them into position.
Some appliances should only be worn a few hours per day; others require that they be worn continuously for up to a year.
- Narrow upper jaw or underdeveloped palate, which can be widened using expanders that move the teeth to create the space needed.
Palatal expanders are recommended for children with a mouth size that won’t be able to accommodate future adult teeth. As the name implies, the expander “expands” the arch of the palate to create more space for correct teeth movement and positioning. An expander is attached to the upper molars with dental cement, and is regularly adjusted by the dentist to gradually widen the mouth and make adequate room for teeth.
Innovations in orthodontics have made cosmetic dental work look and feel less like torture than it used to. It is now possible to have straight teeth without the aid of braces or Invisalign. Ask your dentist about your options. Depending on your orthodontic problem, your dentist should be able to offer you solutions that will best fit your needs. Just make sure to stick to your follow-up check-ups and adjustment schedules so as not to delay your treatment progress and so you can be done with your treatment at the soonest possible time.