Do You Need Braces if Your Teeth are Crooked?
Although braces may be the traditional method for straightening crooked teeth, in modern dentistry they are not your only option.
There are some alternate methods that dentists use on a regular basis. This gives you a choice so that you can decide what is right for you!
Different to the traditional metal braces, you can now choose ceramic braces which can be either clear or tooth coloured, lingual braces which sit on the inside of your teeth or even clear aligners, such as Invisalign.
All of these tooth straightening techniques have been adapted over the years to give the best results.
The method you choose is entirely down to your personal dental needs, situation and of course finances.
In some cases, dental implants or veneers can offer a solution but are not as effective as braces or the alternatives to braces given above.
So, what makes braces right for you?
I answer the common questions you might have on braces, their uses and some amazing results achieved from their use.
Do You Need Braces if You Have a Gap in Your Teeth?
The short answer is no.
Braces are not a necessity in today’s world if you have a gap between your teeth but they will certainly help and if the gap is wide enough your dentist may even recommend them.
The choice is always yours, but if it is something that has been bothering you, braces may be the way to go.
The most effective way to close large gaps between your teeth is still by the use of braces.
They may be uncomfortable at times, but in the long term, they will keep your teeth straight for many years to come as long as they are fitted correctly.
Other Methods for Fixing Crooked Teeth
Some other methods that may be used to fix a gap between your teeth, and arguably faster methods too, are dental implants, bonding and veneers.
Bonding, or white composite fillings, can take just one appointment, but it does depend on where the gap between your teeth is located.
In an area on full display, such as your two front teeth, this is not a viable option. The other is of course veneers, which can take just two appointments.
Veneers can be placed over your teeth and bonded to the teeth with a form of dental cement.
They are much quicker, but rather than fixing your existing teeth they do just hide them.
They will also need maintenance over time, generally speaking, if they are well cared for they can last between ten and fifteen years.
However, if they are chipped or damaged in any way, they will need to be replaced.
All in all, braces are the best choice for a longterm fix and although it may take a lot longer to complete the process, there will be less upkeep and check-ups than with the other forms of closing gaps between your teeth.
As long as you care for your teeth well, you will generally have no issues in the future from braces.
How Long do you Need to Wear Braces to Fix Crooked Teeth?
The length of time needed for braces to take full effect varies from case to case.
It is totally dependant on how crooked or how much work your teeth need in order to achieve that perfect smile you have always wanted.
In general terms, it will take between 18 months to two years of wear to get where you want to be.
There are of course cases where people wear their braces for less time or a longer period, but again this is dependant on the patient.
The length of time needed is also dependant on your cooperation with the orthodontist’s recommendations.
Good dental hygiene can play an important role in orthodontic treatments and should not be overlooked.
Another aspect that can play a role in the length of time you need to wear your braces is the type of braces that you are using.
For example, ceramic braces are selected for their appearance, they look more like your teeth and less like the traditional metal braces, but they are generally worn longer.
This is because they do not have the same level of strength that metal braces possess.
Many people also opt for lingual braces, which are worn behind the teeth, but again this takes longer to be effective.
For the shortest time for wearing your braces, metal braces excel as they are both strong and durable.
Coupled with good dental hygiene you will hopefully be looking at a reduced period of time for your orthodontic treatment.
Do Braces Hurt?
In certain circumstances yes, braces do hurt, but not all the time.
Getting your braces fitted generally involves no pain, this is the same with their removal. It may be uncomfortable, but the real culprit is food and tightening.
Braces cause pressure to your teeth as over time they move them into a straighter position.
As they move, you will need to visit the orthodontist every few weeks so that they can adjust them and the braces continue to effectively move your teeth into their desired position.
This can cause pain and soreness for a few days, but an over-the-counter pain reliever should be all you need to counteract this discomfort.
Over-the-counter pain relief, such as panadol, can also be used after first getting your braces as they may cause cuts and discomfort to your tongue, pain and soreness inside the cheeks and pressure and soreness on the teeth and gums.
All of this is normal and can be fixed quite easily by basic pain medication.
Soft foods that require little chewing can help in this instance and cold foods and drinks may soothe inflamed gums as well.
What Other Ways are There to Fix Crooked Teeth?
As mentioned earlier, there are alternatives to braces to fix crooked teeth in this day and age if you are strictly opposed to the idea.
You do have other choices like veneers, although braces remain the most effective way to improve crooked teeth over the long term.
One of the most popular choices is Invisalign, a type of clear aligners, that sit on top of your teeth.
They are removable, although the longer you wear them the more effective they will be.
They have a gradual and gentle effect on your teeth, slowly moving them into their new position.
As such, they take a lot longer than traditional braces to align your teeth, but if you are worried about aesthetics, they may be a more viable option for you.
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Can Braces Ruin Your Teeth?
There are a few dental conditions to watch out for while wearing braces.
As long as you adhere to your orthodontist’s instructions and keep up a good dental hygiene schedule, you should have nothing to worry about.
The most detrimental effect is demineralisation, which occurs when food gets stuck in your braces and combine with bacteria to attack the minerals and enamel of your teeth.
This can leave scarring on your teeth after your braces are removed. Again, this can be combatted with good dental hygiene.
Gingivitis, sensitivity, plaque build-up and tartar are all other problems which are more likely to occur with braces, but again a good dental practice can avoid these almost entirely.
All in all, braces themselves do not ruin your teeth, but they do put you at greater risk of the above ailments that can form in the wake of bad dental hygiene.
Why are Braces So Expensive?
Some people choose not to get braces, even if they are desperately needed, as they can be quite pricey.
This cost is something that will be discussed between you and your orthodontist upon your first visit.
The reason for this is that most of the cost comes from the hours of labour needed in order to fit one set of braces.
You must take into account the number of office workers and dental assistants that you will see during your treatment.
The cost of materials is still a factor but does not contribute as much as the labour costs associated.
Braces Before and After Shots
It is easy to see why braces are the preferred method for a dentist to assist patients with straightening crooked teeth.
Celebrities that are in the spotlight have often used braces as a way to greatly improve their smile.
Now, celebrities are not the only people that use this dental option to fix crooked teeth.
A post by Bored Panda 114 Incredible Before & After Transformations Of People Who Wore Braces gives us an insight into the transformation that is possible with braces.
The results speak for themselves!
Having crooked teeth can decrease self-confidence, but getting them straightened can increase self-confidence and have you smiling in every photo!
You will never want to hide that smile again.
So, there is a solution out there for everyone!
No matter how crooked your teeth are, there is a dental procedure that can be utilised to fix your teeth and get you that Holly wood smile.
Speak with your dentist at your next appointment to see what process would be best for you.
The amount of work needed directly affects how long it may take, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Whether you opt for metal, ceramic or Invisalign, you can be sure that with the help of your friendly, local dentist your teeth will improve exponentially in comparison to their original state.
What’s your biggest concern about getting braces?
By Dr Veronica Roller
Created at April 24, 2019, Updated at March 06, 2020