There was a time when metal braces were the only solution if you wanted straighter teeth to get an awesome smile. Then, clear braces were developed with the benefit of being less conspicuous. However, the biggest breakthrough in orthodontic appliances came with the introduction of clear plastic aligners – now considered by many as the best alternative to conventional clear braces.
- 1 Metal Braces, Clear Braces and Plastic Aligners
- 2 What is the Best Age for Braces?
- 3 What Can You Use Instead of Braces?
- 4 What is a Cheaper Alternative to Braces?
- 5 Do Clear Braces Cost More than Metal?
- 6 How Long do Braces Take to Straighten Teeth?
- 7 How Can I Straighten My Teeth Without Braces?
- 8 Dangers of DIY Teeth Straightening
- 9 How Professional Home Teeth Straightening Works
- 10 Is At-Home Teeth Straightening Safe?
- 11 Is Home Teeth Straightening Right for Me?
Metal Braces, Clear Braces and Plastic Aligners
Clear braces are similar in shape and size to their metal counterparts, but have clear or tooth-colored brackets typically made from ceramic, which makes them more discreet.
Like metal braces, clear braces are fixed appliances – they stay in your mouth all the time during treatment.
This makes brushing and flossing difficult, which can result in oral health issues such as tooth decay. Another problem is the inconvenience of being unable to remove your braces, including a long list of foods that have to be avoided to protect the braces from damage.
To address issues like these, removable aligners were developed with no wires or brackets, and made from medical-grade polyurethane resin (clear plastic) that’s almost invisible in the mouth.
What is the Best Age for Braces?
You may associate orthodontic treatment with youngsters but it’s never too late to get your teeth straightened or rectify bite problems – as Harvard Medical School points out – and many adults seek orthodontic treatment to boost self-confidence by enhancing their appearance.
Dental experts recommend that children should get their first orthodontic check-up by the age of seven, when the jaw and teeth are still growing, which usually makes treatment easier.
However, many orthodontic problems respond better to treatment after all the permanent teeth have emerged, and studies indicate that adults are just as likely to need braces as children and teens – teeth can shift out of position as you get older, due to natural changes in the mouth, injury, or a medical condition.
In general, people are living longer and keeping their teeth for life, which makes it advisable for adults to get crooked teeth fixed.
What Can You Use Instead of Braces?
When invisible aligners made their debut in 1999, traditional metal and clear braces were suddenly no longer the only options for straightening teeth. Aligners soon became a popular alternative, particularly among adults who discovered they could get their dream smile without lengthy treatment with old-style braces.
Advantages of clear aligners include:
- Greater comfort –invisible aligners cause less irritation in your mouth. They also do away with the need for messy dental impressions, which can be especially distressing if you have a pronounced gag reflex.
- Greater convenience – you can take your aligners out for meals and snacks, so don’t have to forego your favorite foods.
- Better oral health – the removability of aligners means you can continue to brush and floss as normal, with no awkward wires and brackets getting in the way.
What is a Cheaper Alternative to Braces?
The most affordable discreet alternative to braces or in-office aligners is at-home teeth straightening.
Many individuals used to endure the embarrassment of crooked teeth because they found the cost of braces prohibitive and didn’t like the look of them. In-office invisible aligner treatment solved the latter problem but were even more costly than braces.
Then along came an affordable solution, home teeth straightening. For example, clear aligners from NewSmile® cost 75 percent less than braces and thousands less than in-office invisible aligner treatment. For a one-off payment of $1,799 or 24 monthly installments of $92/month with $0 down, you get: (this is US pricing):
- An impression kit in the mail (or you can get a dental scan in select cities) with prepaid shipping for return.
- A visualization of your new smile in 3D (called a treatment preview).
- Delivery of your custom-made invisible aligners along with free retainers, whitening foam, and a monitoring app to help you finish treatment on schedule – with straighter teeth in four to six months and no time-consuming, costly ongoing visits to a dentist or orthodontist.
Besides financial benefits, at-home aligner teeth straightening has many other advantages, such as:
- No clunky, uncomfortable braces.
- Practically invisible, removable aligner trays.
- Support from dental experts.
Do Clear Braces Cost More than Metal?
If you’re looking for a more discreet option to straighten your teeth, you’ll find that aligners from your dentist or orthodontist tend to cost more than standard metal braces, and that clear braces are more expensive than metal ones.
Getting invisible aligners via mail can save you thousands of dollars compared with both braces and in-office aligner treatment.
How Long do Braces Take to Straighten Teeth?
Average treatment time with braces is about two years, depending on the complexity of the orthodontic problem.
For most people who want to fix their crooked teeth, in-office plastic aligners offer a shorter treatment time – typically 12 to 18 months.
Clear aligners from a good at-home teeth straightening company can give you your perfect smile in six months or even less.
How Can I Straighten My Teeth Without Braces?
Plastic aligners can’t exert the same force as braces. This means that conventional braces are sometimes the only solution – if you have severely crooked or misaligned teeth, for example, or need complex orthodontic treatment.
However, clear plastic aligners can work effectively to fix mild to moderate cases of gapped teeth or crowded teeth, plus less severe cases of:
- Overbite – upper teeth closing too far in front of the bottom teeth.
- Underbite – lower jaw protruding past the upper front teeth.
- Crossbite – upper teeth fitting inside of lower teeth.
- Open bite – upper and lower teeth not meeting.
Dangers of DIY Teeth Straightening
While straightening your teeth at home is both safe and effective under professional supervision, it can be downright dangerous if you should be tempted by any of the DIY “orthodontic easy fixes” you may come across on social media.
A 2017 survey by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) found that spurious online “how to” guides on teeth straightening were on the rise. The AAO warned that trying to fix crooked teeth with household objects such as string, paper clips, rubber bands, pencils and dental floss could cause irreversible damage and lead to oral infections.
With the help of a trustworthy home teeth straightening company, you can straighten your teeth in the comfort of your own home without traditional braces, monthly visits to the dental office – or paper clips or string!
How Professional Home Teeth Straightening Works
When straightening your teeth at home with the help of dental professionals, you get everything you need to start and complete your treatment safely – delivered to your door.
You’ll be mailed an easy-to-use impression kit to create molds of your teeth, which are used to fabricate a series of customized aligners to gradually move your teeth into their correct position.
Is At-Home Teeth Straightening Safe?
Reputable home teeth straightening companies prioritize patient safety.
For instance, NewSmile® has dental professionals on hand to answer any questions or concerns. They also assess individual cases to determine whether at-home teeth straightening is suitable for each customer.
Furthermore, their aligners are licensed by Health Canada and FDA Approved in the United States.
Is Home Teeth Straightening Right for Me?
You may have heard about home teeth straightening but are unsure whether it’s the best alternative to traditional clear braces for you.
If you have a complex orthodontic problem, conventional braces are likely to provide a more effective solution. However, most people want to straighten their teeth mainly for cosmetic reasons, and at-home aligner treatment offers a faster, more convenient and affordable means to get the smile you’ve always wanted.
The easiest way to determine whether home teeth straightening is right for you is to get a free NewSmile® smile assessment.