Dentist Teeth Whitening Methods For Stains

Alternatives To Braces

Proper alignment of the teeth is important for more than just cosmetic reasons. Crooked teeth and misaligned jaws can cause problems eating, as well as pain for the patient. Braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatments to properly align the teeth and jaws. However, some patients wish to avoid braces, whether for cosmetic or financial reasons. If you or your child are in need of braces, there are a couple of alternatives that may be able to straighten your teeth without the need for braces.

Tooth Removal

In some instances, a patient's teeth may be too crowded, causing them to be crooked. A dentist or orthodontist can remove a couple of teeth to reduce overcrowding. The first teeth to remove are the wisdom teeth. If this is not effective, other teeth may be removed to eliminate overcrowding. This gives the remaining teeth room to move in the jaw. In many cases, this simple procedure will allow the teeth to correct the spacing on their own without the need for surgery or braces. This is also a much less expensive option. Most teeth can be removed with just a local anesthetic, and the recovery time is just a few days. 

Alternative Devices

There are other alternatives to braces for patients that have minor overcrowding or slight misalignment of the teeth. A retainer may be worn at night to straighten teeth. Your orthodontist may direct that you wear the retainer around the clock for the first few months, and remove the device only at mealtimes and when you brush your teeth. There are other types of straightening devices that will work for cases of slight overcrowding or misalignment. Most of these devices are invisible and are worn at all times, only being removed for meals and oral hygiene. If your bottom jaw is out of alignment with the top, your orthodontist may prescribe an appliance that will move your lower jaw into the properly alignment without the need for braces and rubber bands. 

Braces can be expensive and uncomfortable. If your teeth need a little bit of straightening, alternative treatments may work better for your situation. If your teeth are very crooked or you have an overbite, underbite, overjet or other tooth disorder to correct, braces are usually the best option. The best place to go for advice and recommendations is your dentist or orthodontist. These professionals can assess your teeth and determine whether you are a candidate for alternative orthodontic treatments, or if you need to go with a full set of braces.