There there are many reasons why you may want to have straighter teeth, the biggest reason is normally aesthetic as people prefer a nice even smile without any gaps or twisted teeth, but did you know that straight teeth are also healthy teeth?
Each day when you clean your teeth it is important to ensure that you clean between your teeth as much as you do everywhere else. The easiest way to do this is to use dental floss but dental floss can be awkward to get between your teeth if they are twisted or rotated. The result is that if you don’t floss well enough between your teeth then plaque can build up which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis.
Whilst straight teeth are not inherently healthier than crooked teeth they are easier to keep clean and so you are more likely to keep your teeth fit and healthy life.
There are many ways to have straight teeth and by far the best option is to begin treatment as a child. Very frequently it is the jaw bone which is not exactly in the right place which causes the teeth to be misaligned, if a specialist orthodontist is able to treat a person from a very young age they can work with the growth of the jaw with what is known as orthopaedic orthodontics.
This type of orthodontics can be started from a very young age, typically eight years old and must be completed by the time the young person has stopped growing at around 16 years old.
The problem that a general dental practice often encounters is that people don’t have orthodontics as children and only decide that they want straighter teeth in adulthood, because the jaw has stopped growing it is not possible to work with the growth as it is in a young person and so we simply have to work with moving teeth in order to get them into a correct alignment.
What are the options for straight teeth?
Due to the advent of what is known as ‘limited outcome orthodontics’ which includes an array of different treatments it is now possible for the general dental practice to offer treatments for crooked teeth. The downside to this is that you as a patient presented with a wide variety of options to choose from.
To keep things as simple and clear as possible we offer 4 alternative ways to get straight teeth, two of them by moving teeth with orthodontics and two of them by using restorative dentistry:
- Invisible orthodontics.
- Inman aligner rapid orthodontics.
- Dental veneers for a complete smile makeover.
- Snap on smile for immediate veneers which are removable and lower cost.
Let’s look at each of these options in turn.
Invisible orthodontics to achieve straight teeth works by using a series of clear plastic liners. Each aligner puts a small amount of pressure on each of the teeth to move them in the direction required. The aligner allows for the movement and once the tooth has moved a small amount the aligner becomes inactive.
We then replace it for a new aligner which again puts pressure on the tooth to move it in the chosen direction.
We simply provide you with a series of aligners which you replace approximately every two weeks wearing them for about one year in total.
You will need to wear your clear aligners for 20 hours per day taking them out for meals and to clean your teeth. Most people find this is easy to achieve as no one will know that you are wearing your invisible orthodontics, because they are exactly that… Almost invisible.
The Inman Aligner is capable of moving crooked teeth rapidly, typically in around 12 to 16 weeks. It does this by using a unique spring action which both pushes and pulls at the same time. The appliance is removable but you should be wearing it for around 20 hours per day taking it out only to clean and for eating.
Advantages and disadvantages of orthodontics
The advantages of having straight teeth using orthodontics are clear, you will look better and your teeth will be easier to keep clean.
The disadvantages are that you will have to wear the appliance for 20 hours per day which some people may prefer not to do. The other disadvantage with this type of orthodontics is that they have a limited outcome. They can only move front teeth in a tipping, tilting or rotating action. They are typically not able to move teeth vast distances, fixed orthodontics with a specialist orthodontist is probably the best treatment if your teeth require this.
If all that you want is your front teeth to be straighter and you do not have any major problems with the way your back teeth bite then the Inman aligner or invisible braces could be perfect for you.
Veneers are a more radical but still perfectly acceptable and practical solution for crooked teeth. Dental veneers can allow you to have straight teeth by placing an extremely thin shell of dental grade ceramic over the surface of your existing teeth.
To make veneers we would remove an extremely thin layer from the front of your existing teeth, approximately 0.5 mm. We can then bond the new dental veneer, which is made by a highly skilled dental technician, onto the surface of your tooth.
Veneers take approximately 2 weeks to make and during this time we will fit temporary plastic veneers to cover up the preparation on your existing teeth. You need to make sure that during this time you avoid strong colours in foods such as coffee, red wine or curry as this can affect the plastic temporary veneers.
Dental veneers can last for many years if you look after them and are a great way to have straighter teeth fast.
This technique utilises an ultra modern plastic material which has flexibility to snap over your teeth yet is strong enough to allow you to eat whilst wearing them. The name is exactly as it suggests, we literally create a brand-new smile covering all of your teeth which you snap on to your existing teeth.
The snap on smile means that you can serve all of your natural tooth (unlike veneers where we have to remove a small layer) and is completely reversible. You choose entirely when you want to wear your new smile and when not to, even though some people choose to wear their new snap on smile all of the time if they have particularly the teeth.
There are a few exceptions to having snap on smile to straighten crooked teeth, if your teeth stick out or indeed if portions of the teeth stick out then it may not be possible to wear a snap on smile over the top.
Of course, before we begin any form of treatment we would always do some diagnostic work to ensure that your final smile will look exactly as you require.
Summary of ways to get straight teeth
In this blog post which comes from our dental practice in Harrow we have discussed for options to have straight teeth including invisible braces, rapid braces, permanent dental veneers and snap on smiles. Each of these options has its own merits and advantages allowing you full choice over which technique you feel is best for you.
We are pleased to welcome patients from around the Stanmore, Wealdstone and Kenton areas of Harrow to visit our practice to discuss ways to straighten teeth.