When it comes to how to straighten teeth without braces, the options are near-limitless. While traditional braces are still one of the most effective and reliable ways to correct misaligned teeth, there are a variety of modern options available for those who do not want – or cannot afford braces.
In this article, we discuss the best of these alternatives and how they work to straighten teeth without braces.
The Options For Teeth Alignment Without Braces
Especially if your teeth are only slightly crooked, crowded, or misaligned, braces alternatives are an efficient and affordable way to perfect your smile. Here are our favorites.
Defined as a “wire-based dental device that you wear overnight to keep your teeth aligned,” retainers are generally made of either metal or plastic and are created in-office to custom-fit your mouth. The most common type of retainer is a fixed retainer, which is a permanent retainer that is affixed to the inside of your mouth and can only be removed by a dentist.
Because retainers are devices designed to hold your teeth in their current positions, retainers are typically used in conjunction with other teeth-straightening options to prevent your teeth from shifting over time. When used consistently (either via a permanent fixed retainer or a removable retainer that is worn nightly), retainers are a fantastic way to retain the results of your orthodontic treatment.
Dental Veneers And Bonding
Is your tooth chipped, broken, or discolored? Or do you have teeth that you feel are too small for your face, thereby negatively impacting your confidence?
If the answer is “Yes” to any of those scenarios, then you should know about dental veneers (alternatively known as ‘bonded restoration’). As one of the top ways to perfect teeth without braces, dental veneers are a layer of material (either porcelain or resin-composite) that are permanently bonded to your front six-to-eight teeth to create a clear, symmetrical smile. Although they do not correct your actual teeth, they are an effective and popular solution for:
- Significant discoloration or uneven coloring that cannot be corrected with teeth-whitening options
- Gaps in the teeth
- Teeth that are smaller than average, pointed, or unusually shaped
The cost of veneers depends on factors such as what type of veneers you’re choosing, what brand name your dentist has available, and the dentist’s expertise.
Porcelain Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are one of the most popular alternatives to braces. A dental crown is a porcelain that is cemented onto the surface of a tooth. The crown will help to reshape and strengthen the tooth, which can result in a straighter, more aesthetically pleasing look.
Advantages of dental crowns vs. traditional braces include, but aren’t limited to: being less expensive than braces; the procedure being relatively quick, with minimal discomfort; being suitable for mild-to-moderately misaligned teeth; and having a natural-looking result.
Palatal expanders are devices that are used to widen the palate (the roof of the mouth). By widening the palate, the teeth have more room to move into a better position and prevent the misalignment and crookedness that generally comes alongside overcrowding. The expanders can be easily removed, and the results are usually permanent.
While palatal expanders are easily-installed, affordable, and provide long-lasting results, one consideration is that, as the treatment continues, a space will open between your front teeth due to your smile shifting. This can be corrected with a retainer or other teeth alignment options.
Pro tip: when using a palatal expander, take caution not to snack on sticky candy, hard foods, or large fruits and vegetables–just like traditional braces, this dental device may need to be replaced if damaged.
Tired of the cost of traditional braces, or the often-juvenile braces colors you’re prompted to pick from?
For a clean-looking, symmetrical smile without braces, dental aligners are a modern solution. With a variety of brands available–such as, but not limited to, ClearCorrect, Invisalign, and Candid–dental aligners fix all common teeth alignment concerns completely from the comfort of your own home (with the exception of an initial in-office consultation). They are 100% clear and are perfect for those who want a minimally-noticeable method of teeth straightening.
Routine visits to your dentist or orthodontist are recommended in six-to-eight intervals, and over-the-counter options are offered for those who require a more affordable option.
Incognito Hidden Braces
Hidden incognito braces (otherwise called “lingual braces” or simply “hidden braces”) are a great option for those who want to straighten their teeth without anyone noticing. Rather than bold colored brackets, as seen in gold braces or even red braces, hidden incognito braces are small, noninvasive brackets that are fitted to the backs of the teeth to inconspicuously align your smile–and use the exact same technology as traditional braces, just out of sight!
Hidden incognito braces can speed up treatment times and give your orthodontist greater control over results. They are also more comfortable to wear as they are typically slimmer than standard brackets but do, however, come at a higher cost due to the fact that each piece is made to order.
There is also the added benefit of being easy to clean, especially when using a quality cleaning tool like the NatruSmile electric toothbrush; hidden incognito braces also don’t interfere with at-home teeth whitening methods like charcoal powder teeth whitening, which is a perfect solution for those looking for ways to clean teeth with braces. This makes them ideal for self-conscious teens, brides and grooms ahead of their big day, or even adults who don’t want the disruption of standard braces.
Rubber Bands Or Headgear
Lastly, rubber bands and headgear are both alternatives to braces. Rubber bands are small rubber bands that are attached to the teeth and are used to move the teeth into alignment. Headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance that is worn around the head and is used to move the teeth and adjust the jaw.
Both of these methods are effective, but they can be uncomfortable and require frequent adjustments. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers is recommended for both of these options in order to minimize discomfort.
Moving on, here are some of the most frequently asked questions about popular alternatives to braces.
What Is The Best Option To Fix Crooked Teeth Without Braces?
With over 70% of children in the United States and 35% of American adults now seeking teeth alignment options, it goes without saying that alternatives to braces are on the rise.
The best option to fix crooked teeth without braces depends entirely on how crooked your teeth are, what your dental insurance covers, and what your dentist or orthodontist recommends for your specific situation.
However, as a general rule of thumb, the best option for fixing moderately crooked teeth without braces is to use a clear aligner system. Clear aligners are custom-made trays made of a clear, flexible plastic material that fit snugly over your teeth. They gently move your teeth into the desired position over time. The aligners must be worn for at least 22 hours a day, and they must be changed every two weeks. Clear aligners are virtually invisible, so they are a great option if you do not want to draw attention to your teeth.
What Is The Best Way To Straighten Bottom Teeth Without Braces?
If you are looking for a way to straighten your bottom teeth without braces, then you may want to consider a retainer.
As we mentioned earlier in this article, a retainer is a removable device that is custom-made to fit your mouth. It is designed to hold your bottom teeth in place while they settle into the desired position. Retainers can be worn either full-time or part-time, depending on your needs. Your dentist will be able to determine the best course of action to best align your bottom teeth without braces.
What Is The Cheapest Way To Align Teeth Without Braces?
The cheapest way to align teeth without braces is to use an over-the-counter teeth straightening device, like an OTC clear aligner or retainer. These devices are typically made of plastic and are intended to be used for a few hours a day.
While these devices are not as efficient as braces or clear aligners, they can still help to straighten your teeth and improve your smile long-term–especially when used in conjunction with professional treatments.
What Is The Fastest Way To Align Teeth Without Braces?
The fastest way to align teeth without braces is to use clear aligners, such as Invisalign. Clear aligners are made of a clear, plastic material that is custom-fitted to your teeth. The aligners gradually and gently move your teeth into the desired position over a period of time and are almost invisible; plus, they can be removed when you eat, brush, or floss.
To get your teeth straight without braces, however, it’s crucial to keep in mind that speed isn’t the only important factor: there is also price, effectiveness, and how long-term the results are.
What Is The Best Way To Fix Misaligned Teeth Without Braces?
Even if your teeth aren’t necessarily “crooked”, even subtle misalignment can trigger self-consciousness in some people.
The best way to fix misaligned teeth without braces is to use a combination of treatments. These treatments can include wearing a retainer, using clear aligners, or undergoing a minor dental procedure. Each of these treatments has its own advantages and disadvantages, and a combination of these treatments can be used to achieve the desired results:
- Retainers: Retainers are custom-fitted mouthpieces that are designed to fit the shape of your teeth and hold them in place. They can be used to gradually move teeth into the desired position over time. Retainers are typically worn for several hours a day and must be removed for eating and brushing.
- Clear Aligners: Clear aligners are clear plastic trays that fit snugly over your teeth and are designed to gradually move them into the desired position. They are typically worn for two to four weeks at a time and allow you to eat and brush without having to remove them
- Dental Procedures: In some cases, minor dental procedures may be needed to fix misaligned teeth. These procedures may include bonding, reshaping, or crowns and can help to straighten your teeth in a shorter amount of time
How To Get Rid Of Gaps In Teeth Without Braces?
Gaps in your teeth can be corrected without the use of braces. The most common alternative to braces is the use of dental bonding or veneers. With bonding, a dentist uses a resin material to fill in the gaps between your teeth.
This material is shaped and polished to match the color of your natural teeth, and it may last for up to 10 years. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are placed on the front of your teeth. Veneers are more expensive than bonding, but they last longer, usually up to 15 years. Veneers are also much more resistant to staining and wear than bonding.
With gap teeth occurring in over 95% of children across America, solutions for it are more popular than ever–with dental bonding topping the list!
How Long Does It Take For Braces To Straighten Teeth For Adults?
The amount of time it takes to straighten teeth with braces varies from person to person.
Generally, it can take anywhere from one to three years for an adult to achieve straight teeth with braces. This is due to the fact that adult teeth are more set in their position and require more force to move them into the desired position.
Is There Any Way To Straighten Teeth Without Braces At Home Naturally?
Ah, one of the most commonly-asked questions there is: “Is there any way to straighten teeth without braces at home naturally?”
The short answer? Yes. The long answer is to use a variety of methods, as follows:
- Aligners: Aligners are a type of dental appliance that can be used to straighten teeth. They are custom-made and worn over the teeth. Aligners move the teeth into the desired position over time. They are typically made of plastic and must be replaced every two weeks
- Retainers: Retainers are another type of dental appliance that can be used to straighten teeth. They are usually made of metal or plastic and fit over the teeth. Retainers are used to hold the teeth in the desired position after braces have been removed. Retainers must be worn for a certain amount of time each day to achieve the desired results.
- Rubber Bands: Rubber bands are a simple and inexpensive way to help straighten teeth. They are worn over the teeth and help push and pull the teeth into the desired position over time
- Headgear: Headgear is a type of dental appliance that is used to correct severe misalignment. It is usually worn at night or during the day and is used to pull the teeth into the desired position
How To Fix Overlapping Front Teeth Without Braces?
One of the most common problems when it comes to teeth alignment is overlapping front teeth. This can be fixed without braces by using either a dental bonding or porcelain veneers.
Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material is applied to the front of your teeth and then hardened with a special light. This can help straighten and reshape the teeth and make them look more uniform. Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, are thin shells of porcelain that are applied to the front of your teeth. Veneers are a more expensive option than dental bonding, but they are more durable and can last up to 10 years with proper care.
The Takeaway On Alternatives To Braces
Straightening teeth without braces is becoming increasingly popular. Clear aligners such as Invisalign, veneers, and other minimally invasive methods can be used to correct mild to moderate cases of misalignment, discoloration, and more.
While most people seek out alternatives to braces for aesthetic reasons, other primary reasons for correcting your smile include:
- A heightened sense of self-confidence
- Being able to chew more easily
- Preventing jaw strain or pain
- And having the opportunity to better clean your teeth, thereby preventing cavities and other common oral health issues
While these methods may not be as fast as traditional braces, they are often more comfortable and less invasive. Speak to your dentist to find out which option is best for you.