You want that pearly white smile you see in the movies, but you were cursed with two rows of misaligned monstrosities in your mouth.
Sure, you could get braces. But braces cost on average $5,000 to $6,000 and you just don’t have that kind of money lying around.
But here’s a secret: you don’t have to have braces to straighten your teeth.
It’s time to spill the beans. Here, we’ll explain how to straighten teeth without succumbing to braces.
The Silent Epidemic
First off, you’re not alone. Americans’ lack of affordable dental care led to the “silent epidemic,” a term for the many dental plights of U.S. citizens.
Almost half of Americans with incomes less than $35,000 have delayed seeing a dentist in the past year because of costs. For those in households making $35,000 to $74,999, the number decreases slightly to 38%.
Even the upper class is affected. Just over a quarter of survey respondents who make $75,000 or more per year admitted to the same thing.
Know the Risks
Even though there are different avenues to take besides braces, it’s important to understand every individual’s mouth is unique. Only a dentist or orthodontist can know the healthiest treatment for your teeth.
Furthermore, some at-home treatments can worsen conditions. Consequently, it’s always wise to check in with your orthodontist and ask about alternative ways to straighten your teeth.
A good orthodontist will research other options to find the best treatment. You can find more info on orthodontics here.
How to Straighten Teeth Without Braces
Warnings aside, there are ways to get those pearly whites straightened without painful and humiliating braces. If you’re lucky enough to have only slightly crooked teeth, these may be especially helpful.
In some cases, individuals may be able to simply wear retainers to shift their teeth back into place. A retainer works by forcing the teeth into a certain position.
Teeth naturally move to where there is the most connection between your upper and lower jaw so that you can eat food. A retainer applies pressure to move teeth to a better position and keep them there.
Retainers are also great for misaligned bites. They can encourage the jaw to line up correctly, avoiding joint issues that may arise otherwise.
If you’re considering a retainer, ask your orthodontist for his or her opinion. Each retainer is made to work with an individual’s unique teeth, so it’s best to seek the advice of a professional.
The time it takes for a retainer to work can vary greatly, and some people may have to wear a retainer for several years to keep their teeth from shifting back out of place. They can cost anywhere from $150 to $600 or more.
2. Removable Aligners
Online, you can also find many removable aligners offering to straighten your teeth.
These aligners are made from a clear plastic or acrylic. Really, these aligners are tight-fitting trays and very much like a retainer. The key difference is that retainers hold your teeth in place and aligners are created for the purpose of moving your teeth.
Invisalign is a leading brand in the world of removable aligners, but numerous companies offer similar products. Generally, an orthodontist will create a treatment plan for you and provide several aligners for different stages of treatment.
Patients usually have to wear aligners for 10 to 24 months. They can be removed when needed and they are invisible, making them a less embarrassing candidate than braces.
The main drawback of aligners is the price: They average around $5,000.
3. Dental Bands
Dental bands are used with braces, but now vendors are selling them online. These bands can be used to close gaps, an inexpensive alternative that went viral after a Washington State woman forced the gap between her front teeth closed with an elastic hairband.
The science here is simple. The band is put around two teeth and the elastic moves them closer to each other. Officials warn such rudimentary measures may cause damage to the teeth’s roots or even create issues with jaw joints and muscle spasms.
However, this is another route to take that’s inexpensive and might work if you need to move a single tooth or close a gap.
4. Clip-On Veneers
You don’t have to risk your teeth at all or even have missing teeth to invest in veneers.
It’s a new fad striking the country, and Cosmopolitan’s Jennifer Savin tried them out for herself. All you have to do is send in an impression using the mold a company provides, and then they’ll send you custom-made veneers.
You can even choose how white you want them to be. (For anyone considering these be wary of the bleach white set. Savin claims she turned into a walking lighthouse when she tested hers out on the streets of Brighton.)
Clip-on veneers are a painless, easy option anyone with teeth issues or a self-conscious smile can take. Prices vary but expect to pay around $400 for a good pair.
5. Herbst Appliance
A Herbst appliance looks imposing, but it’s a great fix for an overbite or underbite. The appliance is attached to your molars and is comprised of a tube connecting the lower and upper jaw. The tube controls where the jaw is situated.
In changing the jaw’s location, teeth tend to follow suit.
This isn’t an obvious appliance; most people won’t notice it unless you laugh with a super wide mouth or are yelling at the top of your lungs.
Unfortunately, these appliances can be several hundred dollars and even jump over one thousand.
The dreaded headgear that has long given children nightmares is another possibility. Of course, you’ll want to wear it in the dead of night in a dark room where no one can see you.
It’s used to pull teeth or the upper jaw back, so always check with a dentist on the best way to utilize this contraption. The appliance fits on your head and around your neck (and of course, to your teeth).
The headgear is mostly used for children. The length of time users wear the piece varies depending upon the teeth. Likewise, price varies based on location and severity.
7. Pulling Teeth
One last option for anyone with overcrowded teeth is to have one pulled. However, dentists highly recommend avoiding this method, as it can cause future issues with the rest of your teeth.
Flash That Smile
Whatever method you choose, knowing how to straighten teeth without braces can save you money. However, always be aware of the dangers and consult a dentist before taking any measures.
Are you looking for a whiter smile? If so, check out our article. It has helpful hints about how you can make those teeth startlingly white.