While traditional braces remain one of the most effective ways of straightening teeth and correcting bite issues, many teenagers and adults are apprehensive about the cosmetic side to wearing metal brackets and wires for an extended period of time. As dentistry has progressed, the options that are available beyond braces have become increasingly effective. Some issues that can be fixed while foregoing braces may include:
- malocclusion (improper bite)
- narrow upper jaw
- slight overcrowding
- gaps in teeth
Determining whether you are candidate for alternate options will depend on how severe your case is, but most issues that people have are definitely treatable without braces. There are three main courses of action that are available if you are looking to straighten your teeth and/or correct your bite without wearing braces:
Invisalign is a clear retainer that you wear on your top and bottom teeth and swap out every 2 weeks. It must be worn as often as possible, only to be removed while eating because it needs to do the same work that braces do. Invisalign can address many cosmetic issues, but this option requires you to be the right candidate. The severity of your concerns will determine if Invisalign is right for you. This option is particularly appealing to teenagers who would rather not go through high school with metal braces, and people in business who like the concept of removing the retainers for speaking engagements, etc. In addition, cleaning your teeth with braces is cumbersome and a time-commitment, so Invisalign is attractive because you can simply brush and floss your teeth and brush your retainers separately.
(If you are curious about Invisalign, give us call and we can schedule you for an appointment to determine whether you’re a good candidate. If you are, we can complete the entire Invisalign process within our office!)
Fixed or removable retainers are both available as an alternate option to braces. A fixed or lingual retainer is a wire that is bonded to the back of your teeth, straightening teeth and correcting bite issues. This bonded wire prevents teeth from shifting, so it is typically left on long-term. Not being able to remove a fixed retainer is its advantage in terms of never losing it, and also its disadvantage because you must learn to live with it 24/7. A removable retainer is an appealing option for some option for this very reason. This type of retainer fits in the arches of your mouth and is very effective at straightening teeth, but it is easy to lose because you have to take it out to eat and brush. Whether fixed or removable, a retainer can provide a great alternative to braces if you are the right candidate.
Dental appliances are most often used to correct bite issues. Faults in the jaw are corrected over time with the use of either an appliance in the mouth or external, such as headgear. Sometimes, bringing the upper and lower jaw into the correct position is all that is needed to achieve a great smile. These appliances tend to be less desirable because of their lack of subtlety and comfort, but if your issue is jaw-related and untreatable by other methods, this is definitely an option to consider.
Although traditional braces will always remain a consistently efficient method to straighten teeth, more and more people are wanting to explore alternative options. Make an appointment with us today to discover what your possibilities are for achieving your best smile.