Teeth Straightening: All Your Questions Answered

Teeth Straightening

What is teeth straightening?

Teeth straightening is the process of aligning and moving teeth into the right position according to a person’s bite using external force and pressure over time. In simple words – if you have crooked, misaligned or misplaced teeth, they can be aligned again properly.
Basically, teeth straightening is aimed at improving dental health by correcting crooked teeth, under bites, overbites, deep bites, open bites, cross bites, teeth gaps, and other flaws of the teeth and jaw.

What happens when you don’t straighten your teeth?
• Cleaning in between crooked teeth can get very hard resulting in tooth decay and gum diseases.
• Crooked or misaligned teeth can result in excess wear and tear, and hence, pain, sensitivity, and discoloration.
• Crooked teeth can affect sound articulation resulting in speech problems.
• Crooked and unhealthy teeth can lower your self-esteem.

What are the benefits of teeth straightening?

  • Straight teeth can be cleaned easily, reducing the risk of plaque, cavity and serious gum diseases.
  • They help you chew your food well which is important for good digestion.
  • They improve gum health creating a strong defense system against periodontal disease.
  • They improve facial appearance by lifting the mouth upwards, making the skin look firmer and younger.

Nearly 80% of people said that straightening their teeth was one of the most important treatments they have ever received.

What are the options and treatments for teeth straightening?
To get your teeth straightened, you will need to see an orthodontist and get an orthodontic treatment. The two main types of orthodontic treatments are:

  1. Braces
  2. Aligners

Braces –Dental braces are devices used to align crooked teeth and fill the gap in between them.They are made using metal or ceramic, bands or wires, and bonding material. Braces are strategically placed and consistently put pressure on teeth which helps them move into the correct position. Usually, braces need to be worn for 18 months to 2 years. But the duration of the treatment varies depending on your goal.You can choose from a variety of braces depending on what you’re expecting and how quick you wish to see the result.
What are the types of braces?
There are 4 main types of braces:

  • Metal Braces
  • Ceramic Braces
  • Damon Braces
  • Lingual Braces

What are metal braces?

Metal braces are usually made of high-quality stainless steel and the most effective at treating overly crowded and displaced teeth. They consist of wires made of alloys of titanium, copper, and nickel that go into the brackets attached to the teeth. With metal braces, your orthodontist controls the movement of your teeth at certain intervals throughout the treatment.

  • Metal braces are very visible as they are made of metal.
  • They are very durable.
  • They are the least expensive of all other orthodontic treatments.

What are ceramic braces?
Ceramic braces for teeth are similar to metal braces except that they are either clear or the color of your teeth. Ceramic braces are preferred among adults since they are less noticeable.

  • They are available in different colors.
  • They take about 18 to 36 months to straighten teeth.
  • Teeth straightening using ceramic braces is slower as compared to metal braces.

What are Damon braces?
Damon braces are called self-ligating braces that use a slide mechanism instead of fixed brackets used to tighten the braces regularly. The wire attached to the brackets allows their movement automatically as the teeth shift and realign.

  • Damon braces can have clear brackets.
  • This orthodontic treatment is faster compared to traditional braces.
  • Damon braces apply less pressure on the teeth, hence, less discomfort and deterioration of the teeth.
  • They cost more than traditional braces.

What are lingual braces?
They are like traditional metal braces except that in a lingual dental treatment, the braces are glued to the back of your teeth, making them virtually invisible. Lingual braces are slower than the traditional braces but are preferred for their aesthetic value. You may take a little extra time to get used to them since the placement directly affects the tongue.

  • Cleaning teeth with lingual braces on can get difficult.
  • The treatment is slower than that of traditional braces.
  • Lingual braces are more expensive than traditional metal braces.

What are aligners?
Aligners are clear, custom-made mouthguard-like braces that slip over your teeth and bring them in the correct position with repeated wear. Unlike other braces, they are not visible on your teeth and can be removed when you’re having mealand slipped back on.Moreover, they are quicker than traditional metal braces.

  • They have a reduced risk of spots or severe gum problems.
  • They are not well-suited for extremely crooked teeth.
  • They are more expensive than traditional metal braces.

What is Invisalign treatment? Is Invisalign as good as braces?
Invisalign treatment is an advanced method of straightening your teeth without the need for wires and brackets. Durable plastic and the almost clear tray aremolded tofit your teeth perfectly. Every two weeks, you need to get a new traycustom-created with 3D imaging technology. Every set slowly brings your teeth in the correct position.

  • Invisalign is comfortable to wear and can be removed while having meals.
  • People of all ages can get Invisalign treatment.
  • Poor dental hygiene can result in stained and dirty trays.
  • Invisalign treatment is expensive compared to traditional braces.

How do I know if I need braces?
Even if your teeth look straight on the outside, you may need teeth straightening. Signs you should go for teeth alignment:

  • Your jaw shifts and makes a sound.
  • You have crooked or overlapped teeth.
  • There is too much space between your teeth.
  • You face difficulty in chewing.
  • You often accidentally bite your tongue or cheek while chewing.

Can teeth be straightened at any age? What is the right age for teeth straightening?
Whether you’re 16 or 60, you can go for teeth straightening at any age. Although the ideal age is between 10-14 years while the mouth is still growing. The only limitation on age is that young children must have all their permanent teeth before starting orthodontic treatment.
Teeth alignment methods are effective for people of all ages if the correct orthodontic treatment is done. The only prerequisite is that your gums shouldn’t be weak since braces put some extra pressure on the teeth as well gums.

How do I take care of my teeth with braces?

  • Take off any removable parts of your braces when preparing to brush your teeth.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal by placing your brush at a 45-degree angle. Move your brush from the top to bottom to clean every wire and bracket.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Avoid eating sticky, chewy or hard food that may break the wires.Visit your orthodontist frequently.
  • How do I take care of my Invisalign aligners?

    • Avoid eating food and consuming drinks that may stain the clear trays.
    • Rinse your aligners every time you remove them to clean dry saliva and plaque.
    • Soak the tray in Invisalign cleaning crystals.Ask your orthodontist for a recommendation.
    • Brush the tray gently without leaving scratches.
    • Brush and floss your teeth every time you reinsert the Invisalign tray.
    • How to care for your teeth after the braces are removed?

      • Go easy on hard, chewy, and extremely hot or cold food while your teeth are still a little sensitive and adjusting to the new position.
      • To maintain a straight smile, wear retainers for as long as your orthodontist suggests.
      • Clean your retainers thoroughly every day. You can use a retainer cleaner that your dentist recommends.
      • Stay on top of your oral health and visit your dentist once a month.

      Getting your teeth straightened is important not only so you look and feel great, but also so you enjoy good dental health, and avoid health problems and complications due to crooked, and misaligned teeth. Every set of teeth is different, so consultating an experienced orthodontist is essential for the success of your orthodontic treatment.
      Make an appointment with Dr. Pai at Putnam Orthodontics by visiting
      so you can learn about your options and the best way to get your teeth straightened!

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Dr. Satish Pai

Dr. Satish Pai – an Ivy League trained dentist and a faculty at Columbia University, believes that a perfect smile not only makes a person look great but feel great while boosting confidence.  As the founder of Putnam Orthodontics, he is dedicated to not only creating perfect smiles for his patients but also educating people with his engaging articles about all things related to a perfect smile and oral health. Spending time with his family always brings a smile on his face. 

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