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How to Straighten Teeth Without Braces

Everybody wants straight teeth, but I understand the traditional braces route can be a big put off for some people.  The commitment of walking around with train tracks on your teeth for up to 2-years as a working adult doesn’t always have the greatest appeal.

However, just because you don’t fancy wearing braces doesn’t mean that you can’t get your dream smile. There are other great options available today that you can achieve exactly that.  

Broadly speaking we have two fantastic solutions.

Either use modern alternative methods of teeth straightening treatments, or use disguises to give the appearance of straighter teeth without actually doing orthodontic treatment.

Let’s look at these alternative methods of how to straighten teeth without braces.

Clear aligners         

how to straighten teeth without braces

Teeth straightening technology has improved massively in recent years. Invisalign, for example, are investing millions of dollars into alternative straightening techniques that work just as well as traditional braces but without the brackets and wires.

Clear aligners are almost invisible thin plastic trays which resemble mouth guards or bleaching trays.

You wear them for 22 hours per day and only remove them for eating and drinking.  

There’s a set order to them, and as you change them every 1-2 weeks they’ll gradually push your teeth into perfect alignment.

Clear aligners are more discreet and more comfortable than traditional braces and also more hygienic as brushing is easier.

However, they do require discipline on your part. If you don’t wear them your teeth simply won’t move. 

The worlds leading clear aligner brand is Invisalign, who have now straightened nearly 6 million peoples smiles. 

Follow the link for Invisalign in Bournemouth to see how easy it is to straighten your teeth Invisalign.

Lingual braces

incognito braces

Strictly speaking, these are still braces and work in the same way.

However, because lingual braces sit on the backs of your teeth you can’t see them. For this reason, they’re worth a mention as an alterative method how to straighten your teeth without braces.

Like normal train track braces,  the advantage of lingual braces is they’re fixed to your teeth with wires and brackets.

This means that you don’t have to worry about compliance or forgetting to put them in.

However they can be uncomfortable on your tongue and affect your speech. Brands like Incognito can also be considerably more expensive than traditional braces or clear aligners.

Inman aligner

The Inman Aligner is an effective way to straighten teeth without braces in very mild cases of crowding.

They can be useful if you’ve already had your teeth straightened but they have drifted back over time.

The main issue is they’re limited in the tooth movements they can make, are very bulky on your tongue and have an ugly metal bar over the front surfaces.

Disguises to straighten teeth without braces

Instead of straightening your teeth into their ideal position both aesthetically and functionally,  disguising involves not moving the teeth, but manipulating what you already have to make them look straight.

What this means is you’re not actually straightening them, but masking them with a façade, rather like wallpapering over paint.

Composite bonding

composite bonding

Composite seems to be the material of choice at the moment. It can be used to add to tooth corners and edges to fill in chips and gaps, giving the appearance of straightening. This is called composite edge bonding.

Alternatively, it can also be placed as composite veneers. This is when a layer is placed over the whole front surface of your tooth in order to bring it into line with those adjacent to them.

Composite bonding materials are fantastic but need to be used in the right hands.

Any water contamination and the material will peel off. It’s also down to the dentist’s skill to make them look natural and well polished, so pick a dentist who is experienced.

Even the best dentists will tell you that the lifespan of composites to straighten teeth without braces is roughly 3-7 years. You should expect some chipping and dulling of the teeth and the need for repairs and repolishing over time. 

Porcelain veneers

Like composite, porcelain veneers can be bonded to the fronts of your teeth for alignment, to straighten teeth without the need for braces.

Similarly to the composite layer, this actually increases the thickness of your teeth and should only be done if the way you bite is favourable.

If your bite is wrong they can flick off.

Placing veneers and crowns sometimes requires some drilling of your tooth. 

The more crooked your teeth are the more the dentist may need to cut your teeth away to straighten them without braces. This is obviously causing changes which are irreversible.

Ideally, you’d straighten the teeth prior to placing veneers as it means less or no drilling is needed. 

Porcelain crowns

I’ve seen a lot of dental tourism recently to places like Turkey where dentists are placing crowns or caps.

To do this the dentist cuts the tooth into a peg then places a crown over it. This changes the shape of your teeth and straightens them without braces.

However, this is crazy if your tooth is completely healthy. There’s a chance that tooth will die from the damage of excessive drilling and need further invasive treatment for years to come.

The only time I’d advocate this from an ethical stance is if the teeth are old and already have had a lot of work done to them in the past.

Author

Dr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) is a dentist who qualified with honours. Based in the Poole and Bournemouth area, he has a keen interest in teeth straightening and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign provider.