Do you have crooked teeth?

Perhaps you are embarrassed to smile or find it difficult to eat?

You may even have jaw joint problems as a result of crooked teeth?

If any of these apply to you then you may be wondering about your options and want to ask the question, how to get straight teeth without braces!

If you have crooked teeth there are really only two ways to treat them:

  • Move the teeth physically.
  • Add something to the front of the tooth to make the front of the tooth aligned and give the illusion of straight teeth

Moving the teeth physically includes various orthodontic options and adding something to the front of the tooth can be done with various cosmetic dentistry techniques.

Even the orthodontic options offer solutions to crooked teeth without traditional braces, so read on to find out your options.

Why do teeth grow crooked?

There is a natural balance in your mouth Between your tongue pushing out and the cheeks pushing in. This natural balance in forces is called the neutral zone. As a baby grows and turns into a child and then adult various factors come into play which can affect this neutral zone.

  • Thumb or dummy sucking. This puts pressure on the roof of the mouth which can move the bone physically during growing. This can mean the teeth come through in the wrong position, often spaced with buck teeth.
  • Poor posture. The muscles of your head, face and neck are all interconnected, poor posture such as continuously leaning forwards or having the mouth continuously open can affect the muscles and fine balance of the neutral zone. This can mean that the pressures from the muscles around the face do not exert on the teeth and they come through crooked.
  • Developmental issues. Occasionally either the top or lower jaw can develop too big or too small. If it is too big then the teeth will tend to be spaced, if it is too small then the teeth will tend to be crowded or crooked.
  • Poor eating habits. We use our tongue considerably during eating. It gets forced against the roof of our mouth which can, over time, move the bone and space the teeth out.

If your teeth are extremely crooked or you need to correct the bite it may not be possible to straighten teeth without braces, however, slightly crooked teeth can often be treated without braces.

How important are straight teeth in society?

Research has shown that a beautiful smile doesn’t only make you more attractive to others; it can even improve your job prospects! A coy ‘hand over the mouth’ approach may work among friends but like it or not, in a one-to-one interview that smile is just going to show.

People want straight teeth for a variety of reasons

  • Socially wanting to look good at parties with friends
  • Before going away on holidays – Happy holiday snaps become more amazing
  • Boosting their self-confidence that brings out the best in them
  • Dating – I know I will enjoy more talking to someone with a nice, bright smile
  • Comments from friends & family making them feel self-conscious – I have had people requesting whitening because of comments from their grandchildren.
  • Wanting to look more youthful – we all love to look and feel young all the time.

How to close the small gap between my front teeth?

Small gaps between the front teeth can often be closed with dental bonding. This involves applying a thin layer of tooth coloured resin to the front side of your teeth. Bonding in this way can look extremely natural and close the gaps completely, all without braces.

Dental veneers can also be used, this can also adjust the shape and colour of the teeth at the same time.

Notice this case below, there is a small gap between the front teeth of this patient, after dental veneers the gap has completely gone, the teeth are whiter, brighter and better shape also.

Closing gap between front teeth without braces

How to get fake teeth instead of using braces

So long as your teeth are not too crooked then it is possible to get fake teeth by way of bonding, veneers or dental crowns in order to straighten teeth instead of using braces.

However, most dentists will prefer to maintain as much healthy tooth structure as possible. Veneers and dental crowns may involve removal of otherwise healthy tooth structure in order to accept the new (and straighter) veneer or crown.

Whenever healthy tooth structure is removed there will be a joint between the natural tooth and the fake tooth (veneer or crowns), this joint will always be a weak point and susceptible to bacteria gathering. This could lead to increased chances of decay in this area.

Careful consideration to this fact should always be taken when deciding whether you want to have faked teeth (veneers, crowns or bonding) instead of orthodontic braces.

There are also a range of “snap on dental veneers” which are available through online retailers. These are only adding onto the outside of your teeth and can only be worn for short periods of time. We are also extremely concerned about the fit of these products, if they do not fit then they will rub on the gums, this can then lead to inflammation and the gums actually receding.

These snap on instant smiles can also look extremely unnatural as they will, by their very nature, be very big and protruding.

Orthodontics without visible braces

There are also a range of orthodontic treatments which are possible to have which do not have invisible braces. This means you can have straight teeth with no one else knowing you are having treatment!

This means you can look as though you were having straight teeth without braces, the following treatments make this possible:

  1. Clear orthodontic braces. These types of braces are made using completely clear plastic aligners. These are virtually imperceptible whilst being worn.
  2. Tooth coloured brackets and wires. Whilst it is possible to see these close-up they often go unnoticed in normal society distances from each other, they involve conventional orthodontic technology of brackets and wires but instead of them being metal train track types they are tooth coloured which makes them blend in better.
  3. Lingual orthodontics. This type of orthodontic brace fits on the inside of your teeth (tongue side). This means that from the front the braces are completely invisible meaning you get straighter teeth without the look of braces.

Clear orthodontic braces

The almost invisible option

This type of orthodontic brace involves the use of a series of clear aligners. When they are being worn they are virtually imperceptible. One of the most popular types of clear orthodontic brace like this is Invisalign.

The system uses advanced CADCAM technology to computer design each aligner. Each aligner moves your teeth small amount towards their final destination. You wear each aligner for approximately 2 weeks and have around 26 aligners for a standard treatment. More complex treatments may require a longer time period.

Invisalign versus conventional braces
Can you spot which one of these patients is wearing braces?

Tooth coloured brackets and wires

The option for more crooked teeth

This option includes conventional type braces on the front of your teeth by using clear brackets and tooth coloured wires. One of the most popular treatments of this type is known as Six Month Smiles. Whilst you may notice these braces when viewed close-up people generally don’t notice them when viewed from a distance, in fact many celebrities have been known to wear this type of orthodontic brace and it completely bypass the press and media!

Dr Jay Padayachy
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GDC REGISTRATION NO. 64358 A graduate of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Dental school, Dr Padayachy has been a dentist at the award winning Senova Dental Studios in Watford since 1998 focusing on comprehensive restorative and cosmetic dentistry. Jay has previously been the president of The London Dental Fellowship. He has been a member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry since its inception and serves on the Credentialing committee. Jay has lectured widely on all aspects of cosmetic dentistry, dental photography and comprehensive care.

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