Crooked teeth are immediately noticeable when you open your mouth or smile. Yet the good news is that there are numerous effective options to straighten misaligned teeth. The method you choose will depend on the degree of misalignment and affordability.
Braces usually consist of metal, plastic or ceramic brackets that are glued to the front of the teeth. The brackets hold in place a wire that is shaped by your orthodontist to an optimal contour. Over time, the wire shifts your teeth, straightening them. The wire is tightened once a month for up to 2 years, depending on the severity of your condition.
Of the three common types of braces, ceramic brackets are hardly noticeable, as their translucent color blends in with your teeth's natural color. Lingual braces, which are glued to the backs of your teeth, may be even less visible. Once the braces are removed, you may need to wear a retainer for a few months to keep your teeth from shifting.
A newer and costlier option, Invisalign is a series of plastic, transparent, removable aligners that squeeze the teeth tightly into a straighter position. Note that Invisalign might not work for more complex cases.
If you want fast results and can stand a little pain, ask your dentist about accelerated orthodontics. A team of dental specialists will perform a combination of orthodontic and periodontic work to get you the smile you want—fast. The process takes about 6 months, a quarter of the time it takes for traditional orthodontics. Most often, this form of orthodontics requires you to wear lingual braces. Note that some dental insurance policies will not cover the cost of this procedure.
Your dentist can cover your existing teeth with porcelain veneers, or thin ceramic shells bonded to the front of your teeth to create a natural-looking and beautiful smile. Your dentist will first shave part of your teeth to make room for the veneers and use a mold of your teeth to create veneers. Your teeth will be not only straighter but also whiter.
Tooth Contouring and Reshaping
One of the few instant and inexpensive procedures cosmetic dentistry offers, this sculpting process usually involves a combination of scraping off a portion of the tooth enamel and replacing it with bonding or a veneer. Your cosmetic dentist will remove a small amount of enamel using a drill or laser, sculpt the sides of your teeth with abrasive strips and polish your tooth.
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