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What Are the Best Alternatives to Braces?

Haleigh Pouliot

Written by Haleigh Pouliot

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Want to get straighter teeth without spending months in metal braces?

Yes, it is possible!

But before we discuss your options, let’s review how traditional orthodontic treatment with braces works.

Treatments to Straighten Teeth: How They Work

Your teeth are complex living structures. They may look like tiny bones, but your teeth are actually living organs separate from your mouth’s bone.

When under pressure, a tooth presses against the bone tissue and causes it to break down. The bone tissue clears the way for the tooth to move through and heals up behind it afterward.

This is a subtle and natural process that braces take advantage of.

Traditional braces comprise three major parts: metal brackets, metal archwires, and elastic bands.

The brackets are cemented to the front of your teeth, and they have a notch in the center that the wire slides into. The wire is held in place by the mini rubber bands wrapped around each bracket.

An orthodontist places the brackets on your teeth at strategic angles and then inserts the wire. When the wire is tightened, it puts pressure on crooked teeth and makes them move.

Pros of Braces

Cons of Braces

Braces are a very effective treatment for straightening teeth, even though they have some drawbacks.

If you want to straighten your teeth with braces that are less visible, consider getting ceramic braces. These work the same way as metal braces, except that the brackets and wires are all-tooth-colored.

Can You Straighten Your Teeth Without Braces?

Now that you know how braces work, you’re wondering:

How can I fix my crooked teeth without braces?

Fortunately, you have several options to choose from.

How To Make Your Teeth Straighter Without Braces

Let’s now dig into the best ways for straightening your teeth without metal braces.

Braces Alternatives

dental veneers

Veneers

Did you know that a little cosmetic dentistry could let you skip braces altogether? If you have a small gap or a slightly twisted tooth showing when you smile, you could cover the imperfection instead of getting braces. The issue has to be minor enough not to cause any problems with your bite, however. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t the solution for all crooked teeth.

But a skilled cosmetic dentist can hide those small esthetic quirks with veneers to give you a more even smile.

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that cover the fronts of upper front teeth. Each veneer is hand-crafted to a single tooth to make it look straight and whole from the outside. When you smile, no one would ever notice that you have a crooked tooth behind a veneer.

The best part about correcting your smile with cosmetic dentistry is that it delivers instant results. You don’t have to wait for months to get that perfect smile!

lingual braces

Lingual braces

There are different kinds of braces to choose from besides classic metal braces. Lingual braces, for example, are a type that goes on the insides of your teeth. The word lingual is a medical term that refers to your tongue. So instead of going on the outsides of your teeth, lingual braces are placed out of sight on the surface that is right next to your tongue.

Lingual braces can be tricky to clean around, and they require a higher level of skill on the orthodontist part. However, they are still great options among the different types of invisible braces worth considering.

invisible aligners

Invisible aligners

Another excellent braces alternative is the invisible aligner. Also called clear teeth aligners, these appliances straighten your teeth with no metal wires. Invisible aligners are made from clear plastic, and they are snugly fitted to your teeth. You will wear one set (of upper and lower trays) for about two weeks or until your teeth have shifted to fit that set’s alignment. Once they’ve moved, it’s time to switch to a new set of trays.

You’ll repeat this process every two weeks until your teeth are perfectly straight.

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to straighten teeth, you’ll want to look at clear aligners you can order online. Aligner treatment by a local dentist or orthodontist can be a bit more expensive, but it depends on the brand they use. For example, if we compare the average cost of Invisalign vs braces the teeth aligner brand is more expensive than the treatment with braces.

Clear aligners are a fantastic alternative to metal braces because they:

What’s more, you can even choose to wear your clear aligners overnight so that your teeth are completely free during the day. Nighttime clear aligners are designed to straighten your teeth while you sleep gradually. This is the best way to straighten your teeth without wearing any noticeable wires or appliances.

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthognathic Surgery

Orthodontic treatment can even include orthognathic (jaw) surgery. This kind of surgery is the most extreme kind of treatment, and it’s usually only necessary in cases where the entire bite can be corrected by repositioning the jaw.

Jaw surgery is more common in adult patients and can be considered as one of the best braces for adults alternative. But, why? Kids have bones that are still developing, so their jaws can be guided into the correct position as they grow, but adults’ jaws are done growing, so severe bite problems can only be fixed with surgery.

While surgery can make a dramatic difference in the position of your teeth, it’s not an alternative to braces. If anything, braces are even more necessary after repositioning your jaw. Your teeth will need to have some fine-tuning in the months following orthognathic surgery.

The good thing about jaw surgery is that it can help correct serious bite problems more thoroughly and quickly than wearing braces alone. Braces can move teeth, but they can’t reposition your entire jaw.

Is It Safe To Straighten Teeth Without Braces At Home?

You might be tempted to save a buck and explore DIY methods for straightening your teeth.

After all, it’s safe enough to try whitening your teeth at home. Whether you try a store-bought kit or just add a little baking soda to your toothpaste, you can usually get a slightly brighter smile with minimal cost and effort.

But it’s a very different story when it comes to orthodontic treatment. This is something you need to take seriously.

Moving your teeth is an exact science! NEVER attempt to correct your tooth alignment without consulting a dental professional.

Trying to perform your own orthodontic treatment can result in permanent damage to your teeth.

Not Safe To Straighten Teeth Without Braces At Home
Straighten Teeth Without Braces At Home

You might put too much pressure on your teeth and move them too quickly, which could damage the tooth roots. Also, you probably wouldn’t know exactly where on your teeth to apply the pressure, and you could push them even farther out of alignment. And finally, DIY teeth straightening supplies like rubber bands can slip and get lodged underneath your gums.

A trained dental professional can evaluate your smile, identify all tooth alignment issues, and recommend a treatment that’s both safe and effective. And if what concerns you it is the price of braces, there are some ways to get free braces thanks to insurances.

The only way to straighten teeth at home safely without braces is to get a clear aligner. In fact, if you only need top or bottom braces and the price of the entire treatment seems pretty expensive even though you have insurance, you can also check how much do top and bottom braces cost separately and get half the treatment.

Teeth aligners will help you get a straighter smile minus the risks of DIY teeth straightening.

Methods of Straightening Teeth Without Braces: A Comparison Table

This chart will help you to see how alternative teeth straightening methods compare with traditional metal braces.

Methodhow it workstreatment timeIn-Office Treatment?Treatment Cost Range
Metal BracesMetal brackets and wires are adjusted by an orthodontist and gradually straighten your teeth.6-36 monthsYes$2,000 - 7,000
Ceramic BracesCeramic brackets and tooth-colored wires are adjusted by an orthodontist and gradually straighten your teeth.12-36 monthsYes$4,000 - 8,000
Clear AlignersWear a series of removable clear trays until teeth have moved into the desired positions.3-18 monthsSometimes$1,900 - 8,000
VeneersCosmetic dentist designs custom restorations to mask minor tooth alignment flaws in your smile.Three weeksYes$900 - 2,500 per tooth
Lingual BracesMetal brackets and wires are attached to the insides of your teeth by an orthodontist.6-36 monthsYes$5,000 - 13,000
Orthognathic SurgeryAn oral surgeon will surgically reduce, enhance, or reposition your jaw to improve your bite.6-12 weeks (healing)Yes$20,000 - 40,000

Teeth Straightening Without Braces: A Summary

As it turns out, there’s more than one way to straighten teeth.

The best alternatives to metal braces include:

Now you know how to fix crooked teeth without braces! You can indeed get straight teeth without the hassle of wearing visible metal braces for months (or years!) on end.

We’ve covered the safest treatment options here, but please consult with a dentist or orthodontist near you to determine which one is right for you.

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