Standard orthodontics involve the use of metal brackets which are bonded to the front of your teeth. Elastics and wires then work in conjunction to straighten your teeth. A popular alternative to metal brackets is ceramic brackets; these brackets greatly reduce that "metal mouth" look.
Usually traditional orthodontics take about 2 years to complete.
Invisalign is the latest advance in orthodontics. It is the invisible way to straighten teeth without braces. Using advanced 3-D computer imaging technology to project tooth movement, Invisalign creates a series of clear, custom-made aligners that gradually move your teeth.
You wear each aligner for about two weeks, moving to the next set, until your teeth are straight. The advantages of Invisalign over traditional orthodontics include: they are nearly invisible; they are very comfortable with no wires or brackets to cause mouth sores; they are removable, so you can still eat and drink what you want; they permit normal brushing and flossing, to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
With Removable Orthodontics, the patient wears a removable retainer-like appliance that has various springs and attachments on it to create pressure to move the teeth into proper alignment. But for many cases, this is an excellent option provided patient compliance is excellent.
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With modern dental technology, uneven teeth can be reshaped and laminated with high tech ceramics. We call this instant orthodontics, using veneers or laminates instead of braces to make teeth look straight. It can close large gaps and correct some overcrowding in as little as 1-2 days.
It is typically a pain-free procedure requiring only the use of local anesthetics. You are a candidate for this if you would like your teeth to look straighter and cannot commit to the time for conventional orthodontics. The extent to which this approach can be used depends on how crowded and crooked the teeth are to begin with. Sometimes a combination of limited traditional orthodontics and ceramic enhancement may be the best choice.