Crooked Teeth? Explore your options for straightening your teeth here

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Do you have crooked teeth?How crooked? Most people have spent more than a few minutes holding back their lips, getting their face right next to the mirror, and wondering whether they would be better off with straighter teeth.

People with severely crooked teeth are often unfairly judged because of their smile. In this article, we’ll address all the different methods of correcting misaligned teeth, from the mild to the severe.

The Problems with Crooked Teeth (Malocclusion)

  • Social: People are often judged poorly if they have misaligned teeth.
  • Dental decay: Crowded teeth are more prone to decay due to oral hygiene issues.
  • Periodontal (gum) problems: Oral hygiene difficulties predispose people towards gum disease.
  • Jaw pain: Misaligned teeth may result in temporomandibular joint (TMJ) — jaw joint — problems.
  • Abnormal wearing down of teeth:Due to a crowded ‘bite’,teeth may wear down.
  • Fractured teeth: Crowded teeth may be more prone to fracture. This is especially true for upper protruding front teeth.
  • Sleep problems: Some abnormal teeth and jaw relationships (severe underbite) may contribute to sleep apnea.
  • Sensitivity: Abnormal forces on crowded teeth may cause sensitivity to hot and cold.
  • In some cases, extraction of permanent teeth may be necessary to make room for the remaining teeth.

Generally, the problems associated with malocclusion outweigh any arguments for not taking corrective measures. Financial considerations are the stumbling block for many patients.There are,however, problems associated with wearing braces and other treatments for the correction of misaligned teeth:

  1. Complete orthodontic treatment take up to three years for completion. Adult treatment may take longer due to the teeth being fully formed and the bone structure being harder.
  2. A healthy mouth is essential prior to orthodontics. People with untreated dental disease may not be appropriate candidates for braces.
  3. Braces and other treatments, including surgical procedures (orthognathics),can be painful.
  4. Oral hygiene is considerably more difficult while wearing braces,potentially resulting in periodontal problems.
  5. Braces may cause ‘white spots’— decalcified areas — under the brackets, which are cemented on the teeth to hold wires and rubber bands.

Treatment Options

Removable orthodontic appliances treat limited tooth movement, both in the number of teeth and the type of movement. They resemble partial dentures, but have wires, hooks, and sometimes miniature screws thatengage the teeth, adjusting movement.

Fixed orthodontic appliances (braces) attach to the teeth withvarious dental adhesivesand bands,whichfit around the teeth like a wide barrel hoop.The three main types of fixed braces are

Metal: This is the most common form of fixed braces. The brackets ‘glued’onto the front of the teeth are generally square and silver coloured. However, today brackets may be formed like hearts, footballs, or other novel shapes. In addition, coloured rubber bands are available for those who wish to display their favouritefootball team colours.Braces that do not use rubber bands (self-ligating) are restricted to silver.

Ceramic or clear plastic:These fixed braces uses clear-coloured or transparent brackets to hold the wires to the teeth. They are less noticeable than metal brackets, but still contain metal wires to move the teeth. Again, rubber bands are used if the brackets are not self-ligating.

Lingual: These fixed braces are glued to the tongue side of the teeth. Although ‘invisible’, lingual braces come with special problems and have limitations on which cases they can treat.

Invisalign orthodontic treatment is a specialized treatment for aligning crowded teeth.It is a combination of removable and fixed braces. Removable clear appliances thatcause incremental tooth movement are worn 20–22 hours per day and are changed out approximately every two weeks. They are essentially invisible while being worn. They are limited by the type of tooth movementneededand the severity of the case.

Fixed braces are used for mildly to severelymisaligned teeth.

Other Options

Surgical Orthodontics - Traditional orthodontics,including Invisalign, cannot correct abnormal jaw positioning, although they are often used in conjunction with treatments for abnormal jaw relationships.

Abnormal jawsare corrected with orthognathic surgery. These procedures surgically add bone in a receded jaw or reduce bone in a jutting jaw and are done in hospital.

We told you we would address all the different orthodontic options, so...


Clip On Smiles’ - One of the newer fads are clip- or press-on veneers. Unlike real dental veneers, these are essentially thin fake plastic front teeth that you pop onto crooked teeth or in an attempt to whitendiscoloredteeth. Think fake Halloween teeth.

The price range runs from $14.95 to $1,500 per arch. The difference is that for $14.95 you may end up looking like a vampire, whilst if you have the $1,500 set done (by a dentist) you may look like a movie star. They have many limitations. Read about them hereand decide for yourself.

‘Capping’ - Placing a crown to straighten the occasional misaligned tooth can be an alternative.

Now that you know all about correcting your smile, brace yourself for more great dental info at

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