Do you want to straighten your smile, but don't like the look of traditional metal braces? Depending on how much straightening is needed, there may be a number of discreet orthodontic options to choose from.
Talking to an orthodontist will give you an idea of the treatments available and which ones could be suitable for you. These could include:
The main alternative to orthodontic braces is clear plastic aligners, such as Invisalign®. Unlike fixed braces, these removable aligners can be taken out when eating, drinking and brushing your teeth, but they should be worn as much as possible so they can gradually move your teeth into their desired positions.
Clear aligners are custom-designed for every individual using sophisticated computer software. Every few weeks, your orthodontist or dentist will replace your current set of aligners with a new set, designed to be slightly different to move your teeth over time.
Invisalign® and similar treatments can be a more comfortable alternative to braces for many people, but they are not suitable for everyone. If your teeth are more crooked or misaligned, your orthodontist may recommend discreet brace treatments instead.
If you need more intensive straightening than aligners can offer, you may be eligible for braces that are less noticeable in the mouth than metal braces.
Ceramic braces are almost as strong as metal and can be colour-matched to your natural tooth shade, making them less visible. Another option is lingual braces that are fixed behind the teeth, making them invisible when you smile.
Young children with minor orthodontic issues might not need braces when they're older if these issues can be corrected early with removable appliances.
Plates, expanders and space maintainers use less force than braces or aligners, which is sometimes all that's needed to guide baby teeth along the right path. However, some children may still need conventional orthodontic treatment when they reach their teens.
Whichever type of orthodontic treatment you choose, it's essential that it's carried out and supervised by a qualified professional. DIY teeth straightening methods such as home remedies or mail-order aligners often produce unsatisfying results and can do more harm than good by putting your teeth under excess strain.
If you're worried about the cost of orthodontic treatments, ask your orthodontist if treatments are covered by your health fund and ask about their payment plans.
The time orthodontic treatment takes depends on the individual case. Your orthodontist will give you an estimate during your consultation.
Traditional braces usually take around two years, but there are faster brace options that can straighten teeth in as little as six months. If less straightening is required, aligners and other treatments may take 12 to 18 months. You may also have to wear a retainer after your treatment to help your teeth maintain their new position.
If you're interested in straightening your teeth or you want to know about orthodontic treatments for your children, get in touch with Swish Dental today. Our qualified orthodontist in Brisbane, Dr Lesley Short, has worked with patients of all ages for over 25 years.
Orthodontics Australia. Can I straighten my teeth without braces? [Online] 2017 [Accessed November 2018] Available from: https://orthodonticsaustralia.org.au/teeth-straightening-options/
Healthdirect. Orthodontic treatments [Online] 2017 [Accessed November 2018] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/orthodontic-treatments