Many people would love to have a straighter smile. Whether it’s crooked teeth, gaps between your teeth, overlapping teeth, crowded teeth or other imperfections, there are a number of options available to correct your teeth alignment – without having to get a full set of braces.
Orthodontic work is a type of dental treatment that deals with adjusting the alignment of the teeth. The most common type of orthodontic treatment is braces – which is a rite of passage for many young people during the teenage years.
But what if you don’t want braces, or don’t have time for braces, or can’t afford braces, or are no longer at a time of your life where braces are socially acceptable?
Fortunately, there are other ways to correct certain minor imperfections with the alignment of your teeth. Here are some of the main options that might work for your situation:
- Removable Retainer: A removable retainer is a small mouthpiece – usually made of plastic and/or metal, that you wear over your teeth. Retainers can keep teeth from moving and can also be used to “train” teeth to move in a new direction. Retainers are one of the most common orthodontic appliances – if your teeth can be corrected without having to get braces, a retainer is usually the solution that will be recommended to you.
- Permanent Retainer: A permanent retainer is a metal bracket that is cemented to the backs of your teeth – usually after the successful completion of treatment with braces. A permanent retainer does just that: it “retains” teeth “permanently” in the position where they were moved to during the braces treatment. Depending on your situation, a permanent retainer might be an option to keep certain troublesome teeth from moving any further out of position – for example, if you have a growing gap between your front teeth, a permanent retainer can be put on those teeth to hold them in place and stop the gap from increasing.
- Invisalign treatment: Invisalign is a type of orthodontic treatment that is a popular alternative to braces – especially for adults. With Invisalign treatment, your dentist will fit you with a customized plastic mouthpiece that you wear over your teeth. The Invisalign “aligner” system will gradually move your teeth into their new positions – giving you a straight new smile without the inconvenience and discomfort of traditional braces.
- Braces: Okay, I know you said that you didn’t want braces…but have you seen some of the new advances in braces technology these days? You might be surprised at how comfortable – and how nearly invisible – braces can be. And you don’t need to be embarrassed about being an adult with braces. More adults than ever before are getting braces to improve the look of their smiles and help maintain the long-term health of their teeth and gums. So don’t be too quick to give up on braces – you might be surprised at how “do-able” braces can be for you.
As always, be sure to talk with your dentist about all of the options available to you. Some people need more complex treatment that can only be provided by an orthodontist – if needed, your dentist can refer you to qualified orthodontists in your area.