How to Straighten Teeth
Straightening your teeth has never been easier with a variety of techniques and appliances now available, such as Invisalign, retainers, braces and more. Come learn how to straighten your teeth in the most efficient ways.
As the name suggests, Invisalign is also known as invisible braces. Invisalign has grown in popularity over the years because when the appliance is worn it is unnoticeable compared to traditional braces.
There are no wires or metal that will stand out on your teeth, and your cheeks and gums will not get cut. Aside from this, they are also more comfortable, easier to clean and you can eat whatever you want (your diet is not limited).
Invisalign uses clear aligners to adjust and align your teeth. The orthodontist you are working with will take moldings of your teeth to custom make and adjust the aligners as needed. Slowly, over time, your teeth will become more straight.
2. Traditional Braces
Even though aligners are more common, people still have the option to use traditional braces, which have been around since 1819.
Traditional braces use metal brackets that stick to the front of each tooth. Once those are placed, a wire is looped through the brackets, and over the course of the teeth-straightening treatment, the wires are tightened to give your teeth their ideal shape.
While this method can be more painful and visually noticeable, it is an effective option for straightening your teeth.
Retainers are often used after braces are taken off to ensure that your teeth stay straight. A retainer is a dental accessory that will be custom made to fit your mouth. It will be placed on the roof of your mouth and will be adhered to the backs of your teeth with an orthodontic adhesive. Depending on the case, your dentist will recommend that you wear it all day or at night for 4 to 12 months. Even then, they might encourage you to wear some type of retainer every night, even after this timeframe.
4. Nighttime Aligners
If you don’t want to wear a clear aligner all day, then a nighttime aligner may be the best choice for you. They are similar to an aligner you wear during the day, but the main difference is that you wear them overnight and take them out in the morning.
A plus is that it is only worn for 10 hours compared to the 22 hours of a daytime aligner. The one downfall though is that since you wear the custom nighttime aligner for less time, it will take longer for your teeth to shift into a straighter shape.
If your teeth need more intense adjusting, your dentist or orthodontist may not recommend this option, so be sure to talk to them so you do what is right for your dental health.
5. Change Your Sleeping Habits
Believe it or not, how you sleep can greatly affect the alignment of your teeth. If you sleep on your stomach, you should stop doing this.
Even though it is slight, when you lay down on your stomach you apply pressure to your jaw and teeth, and over time this can make an unwanted impact, causing your teeth to move and shift. Instead, try sleeping on your back or side — these positions are pressure-free.
6. Improve Your Posture
How you sit can affect your teeth too. If you are an office worker and sit down at a desk often, you may be inclined to rest your chin on your hand for comfort. While it may seem mundane and harmless, this posture can shift your teeth slightly. Try to sit with your back as straight as possible. Don’t slouch, and definitely don’t rest your chin on your hand.
7. Maintain Proper Oral Health
This might seem like an obvious point but it is important nonetheless and might be overlooked. Taking care of your teeth is not only good for your gums and overall health, but it can prevent your teeth from shifting. The healthier your gums and teeth are, the more likely they are to stay in place. To ensure this, make sure you brush and floss your teeth twice a day.
8. Finger Pressure
Before we explain what the finger pressure technique is, be advised that dentists frown upon doing at-home remedies. Practicing natural teeth-straightening tactics can potentially do more damage than good, so be sure to do it under your dentist’s guidance.
Finger pressure is when you take the tips of your fingers to your teeth and very lightly press on them in the direction you want them to go. Usually, this is done consecutively over a few weeks or months.
9. Bonding and Veneers
Bonding is a dental procedure that includes a tooth-colored resin that is hardened and then applied to your natural teeth with a specific light. During this hardening and lighting process, it bonds the resin material to your own enamel. The aim is to help restore a person’s smile. So, instead of shifting your teeth with an aligner or wires, the dentist (in a way) makes you a straighter set of teeth.
On the other hand, veneers are similar, but they are made with porcelain instead of resin. They are incredibly durable and stain-resistant, which will also contribute to whiter teeth. Unlike braces, veneers are a permanent option, so make sure you review your choices with your dentist first. The procedure cannot be reversed and will need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years, depending on the patient.
10. Hidden Braces
You might think of invisible braces when you hear hidden braces, but they are not one in the same. Unlike invisible braces that use a clear aligner, surrounding your teeth, hidden braces are attached behind your teeth.
If you are worried about the look of traditional braces, then discuss this option with your doctor, as they work similarly to straighten your teeth. However, this option still uses the metal brackets and wires like the traditional braces — they are just behind your teeth.
Which Option Will You Choose?
While these options can help you achieve a straighter smile, always talk with your dentist before following through. They can advise you on the best option for you and your dental health.
- WikiHow (How to Make Your Teeth Straight)
- Impressions (6 Surprising Ways To Straighten Teeth Without Braces)
- Legend Dental & Orthodontics (8 Benefits of Invisalign)
- 123Dentist (123Dentist Presents: The History of Braces)
- Rauchberg Dental Group (How Do Traditional Braces Work?)
- Colgate (How Long Do You Have to Wear a Retainer After Your Braces Come Off?)
- Tisserfront Orthodontics (Can Retainers Move Teeth Back?)
- NewMouth (Are Night Aligners Too Good To Be True?)
- WebMD (Teeth Bonding)
- Smile Design by Sisler (3 Ways Cosmetic Dentistry Can Fix Crooked Teeth)