What Treatments Exist to Align Teeth?

Having a beautiful and perfect smile is the concern of many people. We'll tell you about the treatments that are used to align the teeth.
What Treatments Exist to Align Teeth?
Vanesa Evangelina Buffa

Written and verified by la odontóloga Vanesa Evangelina Buffa.

Last update: 31 October, 2023

Having a beautiful smile increases self-esteem, improves social relationships, and positively influences people’s quality of life. For this reason, more and more patients are interested in treatments to align their teeth.

Not everyone has a perfectly aligned smile. But this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to obtain one. Thanks to advances in dentistry, there are different procedures capable of straightening teeth and improving their appearance.

Orthodontics with braces is perhaps the most well-known and most popular method. But it’s not the only one. In this article, we’ll tell you about the options that are most used to align the teeth and beautify the smile.

When treatments are necessary to align teeth?

Many times, the need to straighten crooked teeth is associated with aesthetic purposes and to improve appearance. But the truth is that there are other reasons to align the bite:

  • Well-placed teeth can perform their functions in the mouth correctly. Biting, eating, and talking are done properly if the teeth are in the right place.
  • When the dental elements are well-aligned, it’s easier to keep them clean. With proper dental hygiene, which accesses all parts of the mouth, the risk of developing oral diseases, such as cavities and periodontitis, decreases.
  • A harmonious bite reduces the risk of injury to the other structures involved in chewing. Disorders in the temporomandibular joint are prevented, for example.
  • The normal functioning of the mouth and the appearance of the teeth influence the daily life of people. A systematic review of quantitative studies published in the European Journal of Orthodontics concluded that malocclusions have negative effects on quality of life related to oral health; especially in the dimensions of emotional and social well-being.

So, treatments to align the teeth are necessary whenever there’s a discrepancy in their positioning or in the relationships between the upper and lower jaws. If, in addition, crooked teeth affect the person’s daily life, it’ll be imperative to solve the problem.

Situations that require treatments to align teeth

The treatments to align the teeth are applied to improve the functions of the mouth and the appearance of the smile and to avoid major complications. These are some of the disorders that require dental intervention:

  • Dental crowding
  • Rotated, tilted, or out-of-place teeth
  • Gaps
  • Bite asymmetries
  • Open bites, crossbites, or overbites
  • Difficulty closing the mouth correctly or pronouncing certain sounds
  • History of thumb sucking or mouth breathing
  • Lack of harmony in the size and shape of the teeth

In all these cases, the dentist analyzes the characteristics and particularities of each patient and assesses their needs. Depending on the diagnosis, the complexity of the case, and the person’s needs, they’ll propose the best treatments to align your teeth. Let’s look at the most common options.

Orthodontics with braces to align teeth

Orthodontic treatments with braces allow teeth to be aligned thanks to the application of forces that gradually move the teeth to the place that corresponds to them. In this way, a harmonious and balanced smile is achieved. It’s a safe and effective procedure that can be used in both adolescents and adults.

Orthodontics with braces is a fixed system, attached to the teeth, that the patient can’t remove. It’s made up of the brackets, which are the small elements that adhere to the dental surface, and the metal wire arch that runs through them.

According to the needs of the clinical case, the orthodontist has other materials and attachments that help them pull and mobilize the teeth to finally achieve a harmonious dentition. The duration of treatment depends on the severity and complexity of the underlying problem, but in general, it ranges between 8 and 24 months.

At the end of the dental movements, the use of retainers is necessary. These are containment splints that help sustain the results achieved and prevent the teeth from returning to their original place.

According to a study published in the International Journal of the Bioflux Society, relapse after orthodontic treatment is the recurrence to the original position after malocclusion correction by orthodontic treatment. In order to prevent it, the retention phase is necessary, which has the same importance as the active phase of treatment.

 Options for braces

When it comes to placing braces in the mouth, the patient has different alternatives that can be adjusted to their aesthetic needs and their economic possibilities:

  • Conventional metal braces.
  • Aesthetic ceramic or sapphire braces.
  • Lingual or invisible orthodontics.

Advantages and disadvantages of braces

Fixed orthodontic treatments are one of the cheapest and most effective options to align teeth and achieve a beautiful smile. This type of intervention makes it possible to individually mobilize each and every one of the dental elements of the mouth in any direction, achieving a balanced and harmonious set of teeth.

In any case, the presence of these devices predisposes the person to suffer cavities or gum disease, if they don’t adequately commit to cleaning their mouth. The wires retain bacteria and food debris that patients must remove frequently and effectively to avoid damage.

Studies indicate that oral hygiene is the most important factor in maintaining periodontal health and preventing cavities during orthodontic treatment. Likewise, the devices can rub against the lips, tongue, and cheeks, causing ulcerations and uncomfortable sores.

Orthopedics, braces, and surgery

Some severe alterations of the mouth require more complex approaches that combine braces with other procedures.

If the approach to oral malformations is carried out early, that is, during childhood, interceptive orthodontic appliances are an effective and convenient alternative. These devices take advantage of the bone growth stage to model the bone and guide its development.

With this, harmonic shapes, sizes, and relationships are achieved in both jaws. Then, the teeth are aligned with braces to complete the treatment and achieve a balanced smile.

The literature demonstrates that early orthodontic treatment improves the health, function, and esthetics of the mouth and face of children. In addition, they avoid more accentuated anomalies and the need for invasive, complicated, and expensive approaches to correct them in adulthood.

When the approach is performed in adulthood, orthognathic surgeries help correct structural defects that the devices fail to modify. Before and after surgery, the treatment is complemented by orthodontics with braces and usually extends for several years.

The surgical procedure changes the size and position of the jaws, radically transforming the patient’s face. It’s chosen only in those cases where conventional orthodontics can’t achieve sufficient results.

Orthodontics with transparent Invisalign® aligners

Based on the same criteria as conventional orthodontics, invisible aligners allow force to be applied to the teeth to move them and position them in their correct place. The treatment is based on the preparation of different removable splints specific to the patient. These are replaced periodically.

The planning and design of the therapy are carried out by an orthodontist. The treatment time is similar to that of conventional orthodontics: Depending on the case, it can vary between 8 and 24 months. In addition, it’s possible to correct the same bite problems as with braces.

The transparency of the material with which the aligners are made is one of the great advantages of this system. They’re ideal for those people who seek discretion during the alignment of their smile.

Another benefit is the possibility that the patient has of removing it from their mouth to eat, clean their teeth, and even attend social events without these devices. The simplicity of using them and the lack of wires and sharp edges that rub against the mucous membranes make them a very comfortable alternative.

In any case, this depends on the preferences of each person. An observational study comparing short-term oral impacts between patients treated with Invisalign and conventional fixed orthodontic appliances concluded that clear aligner therapies aren’t necessarily more pleasant.

Yes, they’re more tolerable, they better meet the needs of food consumption, and prevent ulcerations in the mucosa. However, these attachments affect pronunciation and speech.

For treatment with these splints to be effective, it’s necessary for the patient to commit to their use. You must wear them in your mouth at least 22 hours a day.

Cosmetic treatments to align teeth

When it comes to improving the appearance of the smile, there are alternatives typical of cosmetic dentistry that are responsible for giving the teeth a perfect and aligned appearance. These are methods that, in reality, don’t position the teeth where they belong, but are capable of giving them impeccable aesthetics.

Dental veneers

Dental veneers are a dental treatment that, although they don’t position the teeth in their place like orthodontics, allow the smile to look aligned. This is achieved by placing thin ceramic sheaths on the outer surface of the teeth, giving the teeth a perfect appearance.

With veneers, the size, color, shape, and length of the teeth are corrected so that they look the same and are balanced with one another. With this procedure, the teeth don’t line up, but they look straight. Each cover is made to fit the patient and allows the patient to achieve the appearance that’s desired, as they integrate perfectly into the mouth.

It’s not a treatment that can be performed on all people. It’s used to improve appearance when there are minor bite problems.

Science considers this technique to be a fast, safe, conservative alternative with minimal trauma to the teeth. In any case, the biggest disadvantage is that the dentist must carry out minimal wear on the dental pieces in order to attach them.

What’s more, the elements must always be covered by an artificial material. The high cost and the possibility of fractures are other drawbacks associated with the procedure.

Cosmetic contouring

Aesthetic contouring or ameloplasty is another cosmetic treatment designed to improve the appearance of teeth without moving them from their place. This procedure is used when the teeth aren’t crooked, but the teeth look misaligned and irregular.

It’s a simple technique, which is performed in a single visit and takes less than 30 minutes. The dentist makes small wear on the dental surfaces, changing the shape and length of the teeth. After the sculpting of the enamel, the pieces are smoothed and polished to achieve a more uniform and brilliant effect.

A case report, published in the International Journal of Esthetic Dentistry, considers this procedure to be minimally invasive, conservative, with a low biological cost, economical, and with the advantage of achieving good functional and aesthetic results.

Treatments to align teeth by a professional

For most people, orthodontic treatment, either with braces or clear aligners, is the safest and most effective way to permanently align teeth. If your teeth are slightly crooked or slightly misaligned, cosmetic procedures may be the cosmetic solution you’re looking for.

It’s essential that when it comes to aligning the teeth, a specialized dentist is always used. Home remedies that promise to improve the appearance of the smile are popularized on various Internet sites. Trying to straighten your teeth on your own is a bad idea. Far from achieving beautiful teeth, oral health is endangered and serious complications can arise.

Este texto se ofrece únicamente con propósitos informativos y no reemplaza la consulta con un profesional. Ante dudas, consulta a tu especialista.