There's no denying it: People want to look good. According to Business Insider, good-looking people have more self-confidence, command better jobs, get higher salaries and ultimately are more successful. One way to make the most of your appearance is to ensure that you have the best smile you can. If you aren't eligible for or interested in wearing braces, however, your orthodontist might recommend an alternative to braces for adults to achieve the results you want.
When Braces Aren't Ideal
There are several reasons why braces might not be right for you. These include:
- Mild to moderate spacing or crowding issues
- Minimal bite alignment problems
- Inconvenient length of time for treatment
- Financial cost of braces
If any of these apply to you, other opportunities are available for achieving the smile you want. So, what are the alternatives to braces and how do they all work?
These are typically removable and most often used to maintain the correct position of your teeth after treatment with braces. The Essix retainer, a transparent version, fits over the entire arch of your mouth. But if you only need a small amount of correction, they can be used alone to achieve minimal tooth movement. These appliances are inexpensive and easier to wear than braces, according to Spielberg Orthodontics. Your dentist may advise you to use a product such as Colgate® Phos-Flur Rinse to protect your teeth throughout the process.
This is typically used to correct an extreme overbite. It works by putting pressure on your upper teeth and jaw, either to hold the teeth in a particular position or to move them to where they should be. You're required to wear headgear for a specific number of hours each day, so many patients often do so while they sleep. This headgear will need to be removed when playing sports, eating or brushing your teeth.
Invisalign is one of the best-known clear aligners available, and is a popular alternative to braces for adults. The aligner can correct anything from a mild case of crooked or protruding teeth to a more serious malocclusion, overbite or underbite. In this program, your dental professional will provide you with a series of clear, removable "trays"which we refer to as aligners that fit over your teeth. You'll be required to wear each aligner for 20 hours a day for two weeks, after which you'll progress to the next tray in the series, according to Sandusky Dental Care. Each aligner adjusts your teeth a little more while you wear it. Patients who have gaps between their teeth are good candidates for clear aligners, because they need minimal force for correction.
Six Month Smiles
This is a type of clear bracket with a wire that you can't see visibly and can work for mild corrective measures, according to Denver, CO-based The Dentists on Pearl. The length of the program is about six months, depending on the patient, and is particularly "fitting" for those whose main focus isn't bite or alignment.
Worn and endorsed by numerous celebrities, porcelain veneers – or "caps" – are ideal for patients who have gaps between their teeth, fractured teeth or where the teeth have developed poor color, shape or contours. The dentist removes a thin layer of tooth enamel, then fixes the veneers to your teeth using light-sensitive resin. You may also opt for no-prep veneers, which the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry explains are attached without removing any of the tooth enamel.
This is a process of "fast-tracking" orthodontic treatment, which, according to Princeton Orthodontics, uses a system called micro-osteoperforation to weaken the bone. These methods loosen your teeth just enough so that they move under pressure – which causes an increase in cytokine activity– allowing bone remodeling to assist movement of teeth to their final positions faster. Used in conjunction with clear aligners or retainers, it makes for an effective alternative to braces for adults.
For adults looking to achieve a better smile and straighter teeth, these options offer you a chance to realize your best look without the drawbacks associated with a traditional braces routine.