Everyone dreams of a bright, even smile, and not only for appearance’s sake. Straight teeth are important for biting and chewing food properly, as well as maintaining good dental hygiene. Still, most people choose smile enhancement procedures to boost their self-esteem and confidence. A nicer smile also makes an impact on the way people perceive you, whether in a professional or social setting!
Let’s look at how orthodontic treatment or braces could change your life, as well as a few other treatment options for smile correction.
Orthodontic Treatment and Types of Braces for Straightening and Aligning Teeth
If you have crooked teeth, an overbite/underbite or other alignment issues, orthodontic treatment is the best choice for correcting your bite and smile. It involves the use of ceramic, plastic or metal appliances that use brackets and wires to apply continuous pressure and shift teeth into the correct position. To maintain pressure on your teeth, braces need to be adjusted on a regular basis, typically every few weeks.
Here are three common types of braces used these days:
- Ceramic/Composite – These braces are made with tooth-colored composite materials that are durable, stain-resistant and blend in with natural teeth. Still, you should avoid smoking or consuming red wine and coffee while wearing these braces, since the bands joining the ceramic brackets and wires can stain your teeth.
- Metal – These are the braces that come to mind when you think of orthodontic treatment. They’re usually the most noticeable and may also cause more irritation to gums during the early stage of the treatment. However, metal braces are extremely strong and quite affordable, which is why they’re still popular.
- Lingual – These braces are placed behind your teeth instead of in front, so they are practically invisible when you smile, speak or eat. However, they may not give the same results as ceramic or metal braces, and often cost much more than the traditional options. They are also more challenging to put in place.
Orthodontic treatment can take anywhere from a few months to 2-3 years, depending on the severity of the problem and how well you follow the dentist’s instructions. After the braces are removed, you need to wear a retainer to maintain the results. This really is the best way to correct a crooked smile or bite, though!
What Are Your Other Options for Smile Correction?
While orthodontic treatment is your best choice for realigning teeth and gums, it isn’t your only option for correcting your smile. If you’re looking for minor correction or a cosmetic lift for your teeth, here are 5 alternatives to consider:
- Clear Aligners – These are the most popular choice for correcting mild problems with spacing or alignment, especially among young adults and professionals. Also known as invisible braces, these orthodontic appliances are custom-fitted to your mouth and can be removed while eating, brushing your teeth and flossing. They’re comfortable, easy to clean, and don’t trap food the way traditional braces do.
- Dental Veneers – These are ideal for treating crooked, chipped, stained or broken teeth, and can also help with covering up gaps between teeth. Dental veneers are usually made with a layer of tooth-colored porcelain that resists stains and looks no different from natural teeth. You can customize your smile with porcelain veneers by choosing the exact shape, size, and color that you want.
- Composite Bonding – This treatment option is generally best for those who have minor alignment problems or small defects. It involves the using a dental adhesive for the application of a tooth-colored resin to the surface of teeth. While composite bonding combined with smile designing can give you a better smile, the material can get stained quite easily and only offers temporary results.
- Dental Implants – These are a popular restoration option for replacing missing teeth, correcting a smile with gaps and preventing future problems caused by teeth shifting or moving into gaps. If you have one or two teeth missing, you can opt for individual dental implants to restore your smile. To replace all the teeth on the top or bottom jaw, however, all-on-four implants are the best solution.
- Gum Lifting – This is a cosmetic dental procedure that is meant to improve your smile instead of straightening your teeth. Your dentist will lift the gum line around your teeth and sculpt it to create a frame for your teeth, showing them to their best advantage. Gum lifting should be combined with a smile redesign, and it can help if you’re baring more gum than teeth or have an asymmetrical gum line.
Remember, not everyone has the same problems or wants the same smile. Consult your dentist to understand which treatment option will work best for you!