Straight Teeth without the Metal-Mouth Look: Exploring Your Options

8 February 2016
 Categories: Dentist, Articles

If you're an adult who has crooked teeth, you may be choosing to live with your crooked smile rather than correct it because you don't want to spend months or years as a metal-mouth. Thankfully, there are ways to get a straight smile without the unsightly look of conventional braces. Here are three more attractive straightening options you'll want to discuss with your dentist.

White Braces

White braces work just like conventional braces, but instead of the brackets being made from metal, they are made from clear plastic or ceramic. There are still wires connecting the brackets, but these are usually only visible from closeby. If your smile needs extensive straightening or if you have teeth that need to be rotated, clear braces might be your best bet. Like metal braces, they can be used to correct severe dental abnormalities like overbites and crowded teeth. Though clear braces tend to be a bit pricier than metal braces, they are often more affordable than the other choices on this list. Expect ceramic braces to cost around $4,500 without insurance.

Like metal braces, ceramic or plastic braces can take some time to get used to. During your first few weeks with them in your mouth, you might experience some cheek and gum soreness. Placing wax on the braces can help alleviate this discomfort. You'll also want to steer clear of crunchy and chewy foods when wearing this style of braces, as they can break off the brackets.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are braces that are placed on the tongue side of your teeth rather than on the lip and cheek side. They work similarly to regular braces, slowly pushing your teeth into the proper positions, and like regular and clear braces, they need to be adjusted by your dentist or orthodontist every few weeks. You will be able to see them if you look closely in the mirror, but anyone looking at you head-on won't notice them.

Lingual braces can be used to fix almost all dental abnormalities. However, they won't be a good option if you have overly small teeth. They can cause some tongue irritation when you're first getting used to them, but this should subside within a few weeks. Not all orthodontists offer lingual braces, so if you're interested in this option, you may have to do some searching to find one that does. Expect lingual braces to cost between $5,000 and $13,000 without insurance. 

Invisible Aligners

If your tooth misalignment is pretty minor, invisible aligners are a great straightening option. These aligners are clear trays of plastic that snap over your teeth and ease them into the right positions. Your dentist will give you a set of trays and instructions as to how often to switch to a new tray. You'll only have to revisit your dentist every couple of months to have your progress evaluated and get a new set of trays.

Invisible aligners allow you to eat any food you want, since you are actually supposed to pop them out when you eat. They don't cause the rubbing and discomfort that braces do, and they are only visible if you examine your teeth very, very closely. The downfall of invisible aligners is that it's easy to get lazy with them or forget to put them in. If you don't use them as directed, you won't get the desired results. They also won't work well for twisted or very crowded teeth. Expect to pay about $5,600 for invisible aligners without insurance.

Your dentist can evaluate the severity of your dental misalignment and let you know which of these options are suitable for you. With all of these invisible and less-visible choices, there's no reason you should have to resort to ugly metal braces. Contact an establishment like Fayetteville Family Dentistry to learn more.