If you have crooked teeth it can be an embarrassing problem. You may find yourself never wanting to smile when being photographed, or dream of flashing a dazzling grin at parties, then it could be time to seek help. There are a number of options to correct crooked teeth and to give you the confidence in your smile that you deserve. Solutions range from traditional braces and caps, to modern techniques such as Invisalign and the Inman Aligner.
You can improve your mouth without actually moving the position of your teeth. A veneer is a cover permanently attached to the front of your tooth, this cover can make your teeth look straighter and also improve the colour. Fitting porcelain veneers is probably the quickest way to get a winning smile, however the speed of the change does come with some disadvantages. To fix the veneers, firstly a section from the front of your tooth is removed so the veneer can be attached to it. Loosing a part of the natural structure of your tooth is the price to pay for this almost instant fix. This method does not straighten your actual teeth, the ultra thin veneers just give the appearance of a healthy smile by covering your existing teeth.
A cap or crown is another method of altering the appearance of your teeth that gives a rapid improvement without the inconvenience of braces. Caps are used to improve the look of your mouth or to repair any damage, they work by completely covering all of the tooth with a protective shell, right down to the gum line. Caps are available in a wide range of materials, from resin to porcelain or even gold. Each cap is individually manufactured to give a good colour match to the rest of your teeth.
Whereas caps and veneers do not actually straighten your natural teeth, braces offer a less invasive solution that changes the position and orientation of your teeth gradually over time, giving you the smile that you want. Braces use brackets and tensioned wires to slowly move your teeth into their new position. The treatment time is however, much longer than caps or veneers. It can be up to 2 years and includes regular trips to the dentist for adjustments. The best time for braces to be fitted is in the early teens, although they are now becoming popular with adults.
The type of brace fitted does depend on the exact treatment required. For modest tooth movements, removable braces can be used. These consist of a plastic plate that fits to the roof of the mouth, wires from the plate clip onto the teeth that need to be adjusted, gently moving them into place over time. Removable braces can be taken out for eating and brushing or if they become uncomfortable. If a greater range of tooth movement is needed, then fixed braces are likely to be fitted. In contrast to the removable brace, fixed braces are permantly attached to your teeth for the duration of the treatment. A plastic bracket is glued to the front of each tooth and joined to the neighbouring tooth by wires. Regular trips to the dentist are needed to check progress and to make any necessary alterations to the brace.
Both fixed and removable braces can be uncomfortable and unsightly, if you have decided to have treatment for cosmetic purposes then this is likely to be off putting. Recent advancements in cosmetic dentistry have now created solutions to the visible impact of traditional braces. Clear braces offer the same results as traditional methods but are far more discreet when they are being worn. Invisalign offer a clear, removable sheath as an alternative to braces that is almost undetectable when in the mouth. The Invisalign system works by firstly taking an impression or 3D scan of your mouth. The data obtained from this is used to create a treatment plan consisting of a series of clear aligners that you change at home every two weeks. Invisalign can produce results as good as those of metal braces but with minimal cosmetic impact during the course of the treatment. The timescale for Invisalign to produce results is similar to that of regular braces, they are just much better looking.
Slightly more visible, but still less so than fixed braces, is the Inman Aligner. Although it is more noticeable than the Invisalign system, it does cut treatment time and produce faster results. It is used primarily for the front teeth and works by using springs to power a pair of aligner bows, one covering the front and one covering the rear of the teeth. The inner bow pushes forward while the outer bow pushes back against it. The double action created by applying pressure on both sides of the teeth dramatically cuts the time of the treatment. Whereas traditional braces can take up to two years, the Inman Aligner can get the same results in 6-18 weeks.
Get the smile you want using the latest technology and you will never have to worry about smiling again.