Most people get braces for straightening their teeth. But braces give you an unattractive look and the treatment usually goes very long and very expensive. Also, not everyone can afford braces. So, how to straighten teeth without braces?
Fortunately, there are alternate ways for teeth straightening. Everyone wants a straight and white smile, but unfortunately, very few of us are blessed with perfect teeth. It is very common to have a few teeth crooked or misaligned teeth and have an imperfect smile.
Depending on your specific dental needs, you can ask your orthodontist for options, such as retainers, palatal expanders, etc. that may help you align your teeth.
Orthodontic problems that can be solved without braces
Not all orthodontic problems require braces to correct them. If you have any of the following orthodontic problems, then you may not need to wear braces –
If your teeth are moderately crooked due to minor overcrowding of teeth in your jaw, then you may be able to correct this problem with retainers.
A malocclusion occurs when mismatched teeth or mismatched jaw overlap and this condition cause a person to have a bad bite. Correcting a misaligned bite usually requires appliances to adjust the position of your jaw. (1)
Narrow upper jaw or underdeveloped palate
In some people, the upper jaw is narrow as compared to the lower jaw. This often causes an abnormal dental relationship. Widening of the upper jaw (palate) may create space of misaligned teeth to come to their correct positions.
Let’s see how to straighten teeth without braces?
Braces are usually considered the best way to straighten teeth, but not everyone likes the look of metallic braces. Luckily, there are other options that you can use which can actually straighten teeth without braces.
One of the best methods to fix minor overcrowding without braces is through retainers. These are available in different types for you to choose from. Retainers are available for both upper and lower jaw, which largely depends on where the corrections and adjustments need to be made. (2)
The first type of retainer available is fixed retainer, also known as bonded lingual retainers. The retainer allows the teeth to remain in their fixed position and will prevent them from shifting in the future because it is attached to the inner surface of your teeth through dental cement.
Another type of retainer is known as Hawley retainers. These are removable retainers and can be easily removed at any time per your wish and still, you will get the same result as a fixed retainer.
However, you can lose a removable retainer very easily. Not to forget, they are expensive.
The dental appliance, such as the Herbst appliance, helps in straightening teeth by correcting jaw imperfections. The appliance has a metal extension which is attached to the molars.
This arrangement of appliance develops the lower jaw in a forward direction, which helps in correcting the bite. You have to wear this appliance for almost one year for the lower jaw to shift into the correct position and meet the upper jaw.
The other type of appliance is headgear appliance. This appliance puts pressure against the upper teeth and jaw that helps in moving the jaw and teeth into position. You have to wear this appliance daily for a specific number of hours for better results.
The only downside of treatment with these appliances is that they are not very discrete and may take time to allow sufficient results in correcting jaw imperfections and malocclusions. (3)
Just like retainers, it’s also possible to correct the minor overcrowding of teeth with the help of palatal expanders. This is one of the best ways to straighten of teeth without braces.
A palatal expander is a type of device that is commonly used to widen the upper jaw or palate of the mouth. This device provides more room for your teeth to grow and align correctly. (4)
If your child has a narrow palate (roof of the mouth) than usual, the upper teeth may not be able to accommodate the erupting permanent teeth. The orthodontist may put expanders to increase the size of the upper arch.
The expander is secured to the upper molars using dental cement. The problem of overcrowding and malocclusion are easily fixed with an expanded upper jaw.
Dental veneers can’t physically displace the teeth into a new position, but they can fasten the outward appearance of teeth that are a little crooked, misaligned or gapped.
The procedure involves placing the wafer-thin layer of veneer on the surface of your tooth. They are colored to blend in with your natural teeth color and have translucency similar to tooth enamel.
When the veneers are fitted, they blend well with the rest of the teeth. You won’t feel any kind of discomfort when you bite. (5)
Invisalign, also known as the clear aligner, is custom-made, tight-fitting retainer that slips over the teeth and realigns them slowly. The aligners are practically invisible and fit comfortably over your teeth.
Each aligner shifts your teeth slightly, moving them horizontally and vertically. Your aligners are prepared accordingly to use the right amount of force in the right place. (6)
How to prevent your teeth from getting crooked?
Some of our daily habits may be responsible for altering the position of the tooth from straight to crooked. Crowding or inward overlapping of the teeth is caused due to gentle, regular inward pressure on the teeth over time.
Avoiding certain habits can prevent the teeth from getting crooked.
- Avoid leaning your face on your hand while working or studying.
- Stop sleeping on your stomach. It puts a continuous inward pressure on your teeth during sleep.
- Stop thumb-sucking and other oral fixations.
- Close the gap for any missing permanent teeth. An unequal force distribution while chewing puts more pressure on the existing teeth because of the space left due to the missing teeth causing them to shift and become crooked.
- Encourage healthy oral hygiene habits.
Your teeth are very prone to damage since they interact with different types of food and drinks of varying temperatures and microorganisms. During the treatment of teeth straightening or even after the treatment, it’s necessary to maintain good oral hygiene.
Over to you on teeth straightening
If the right amount of pressure is provided in the right place, then each tooth tends to move in its correct position in the oral cavity. Your dentist is the best person to tell you how to straighten teeth without braces.
Irrespective of your choice, make sure you maintain strict dental hygiene during and after the orthodontic treatment to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and strong.