Most people will have one or more teeth that they would change if they could, and plenty of people would be happy to have all their teeth veneered with porcelain veneers. How we treat our teeth as we are growing up has a lot of effect on the way they develop when we become adults, even the smallest habit can result in a crooked tooth or misaligned smile. Accidents or extractions can change the formation or alignment of our adult teeth before the adult teeth have even come through, making it very hard to predict what work will need to be done in the future. Unfortunately, most of this won’t have an extensive effect on how our teeth form, as a large part of it is hereditary; the main cause of crooked teeth is in our genes and there’s not much we can do about the shape until they are fully grown.
What can I do about my misaligned teeth?
If you have misaligned, crooked or crowded teeth, thanks to decades of dental research and ever advancing medical technology, there are lots of options for people who don’t like the position of their teeth, the Pearl Dental Clinic staff can help you decided which one is best for you:
Traditional metal braces are probably the best-known way of straightening teeth, but they are becoming less popular, due to other more discreet orthodontic methods entering the market. Metal wires and brackets are bonded to the teeth and gradually force them into a straight line over time. The main draw back with this kind of treatment is the time it takes to see results; some patients may need to wear braces for years to fix their teeth.
In some ways, aligners are the next stage of orthodontic braces, essentially they perform the same procedure – moving the teeth into a more desirable position, but they are much less obvious and are removable. Invisible aligners such as Invisalign are made from a strong, clear resin that encases the teeth and gently moves them into the shape of the mould; a new one may be required every few weeks. In some instances, aligners have given the same results as traditional braces designs, making them a very popular alternative.
Although the materials used to manufacture aligners are incredibly durable, they are not always suited to patients with extreme conditions; other options should be pursued in these cases.
These are similar to metal braces but much more discreet. Lingual fixtures are fitted on the inside of the teeth so they can’t be seen when the teeth are visible, they are a useful alternative for patients who have severe orthodontic problems, but would not like to wear traditional braces. Because they use metal braces to re-shape the bite, lingual braces can sometimes be uncomfortable as they can interfere with the tongue and can take some getting used to.
What if I don’t want braces?
If you don’t like the idea of having a brace in your mouth – even a removable one – or you’re looking for instant results, you could opt for a set of porcelain veneers. They don’t actually straighten your existing teeth; they reshape their outer appearance with a porcelain shell, giving the impression that they are straight. Another positive is that if you have teeth that are too small or too large for your mouth, porcelain veneers can re-size your teeth so that it’s more in proportion with your features – they can also make your smile whiter.
They might be easy on the eye, but porcelain veneers aren’t easy on the pocket, they are among the most expensive cosmetic dental procedures you can get. It’s worth taking the time to think over your decision before you go ahead with it – remember they don’t last forever, in ten or fifteen years they will need replacing.
For cases where teeth are small or there are gaps between teeth, one can also use composite bonding to close the gaps between teeth or use tooth recontouring to change the shape of pointed teeth. The advantage of composite bonding is that it does involve any tooth shaving and so its very conservative of tooth tissue.