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Malocclusion is a common condition. This condition is also known as misaligned teeth or crooked teeth.
Misaligned teeth can affect your overall oral health, as well as your self-esteem. Most people have some level of malocclusion, and many turn to orthodontic treatment to get their teeth straightened.
The nine most common teeth straightening treatment options include:
Traditional metal braces are the most recognizable and effective orthodontic treatment for a straighter smile.
They are made of metal brackets and an archwire, held together by rubber bands. Metal braces have an archwire that applies pressure to the crooked teeth and gradually shifts them into place.
Traditional braces are an effective and reliable treatment. However, many adults and teens prefer the aesthetics of other treatments, such as invisible aligners.
Treatment time for traditional metal braces will vary depending on your condition but typically ranges from 18 to 36 months. Metal braces cost between $2,500 and $7,000.
Clear aligners (invisible braces) are custom-fitted, invisible, and removable plastic aligners. Unlike traditional metal braces, invisible braces are barely visible.
You wear one aligner tray for one to two weeks and then switch to the next aligner set. This process safely and gradually shifts the teeth into place.
Clear aligners can treat mild to moderate cases of misaligned teeth. These include:
Severe cases may require alternative methods like traditional metal braces.
Clear aligners are available in two different forms:
This treatment takes place within a general dentist or orthodontist’s office. During your first visit, they will take an impression of your teeth and build a custom, 3D treatment plan.
Then you will schedule office visits every four to eight weeks for a face-to-face checkup and a new set of aligners.
Most dentistry practitioners use Invisalign’s technology and lab. Some have their equipment and can perform all operations in-house. Invisalign costs the same as braces ($3,500 to $8,000).
These companies will send you an impression kit and use a 3D scanner and printing lab to create a treatment plan. Your home teeth straightening treatment is monitored virtually, and you receive your new aligner sets in the mail.
Prices vary but are cheaper than Invisalign or traditional braces ($1,200 to $2,300).
Treatment time for at-home clear aligners depends on the severity of your condition. In general, though, treatment takes between 3 and 18 months.
Ceramic braces use the same equipment and method as metal braces.
The difference is that ceramic braces utilize clear brackets as opposed to metal. This makes them less obvious (though still visible).
They use clear or white rubber bands attached to the archwire to create a minimal appearance.
Treatment time is the same as metal braces (typically 18 to 36 months). But they are usually slightly more expensive, ranging from $4,000 to $8,000.
Lingual braces are a less common alternative to metal and ceramic braces.
They may use custom brackets and wires to fit the shape of your teeth and the arch of your mouth. However, the brackets are positioned on the back of your teeth instead of the front.
Lingual braces can be more uncomfortable than traditional braces and clear aligners. However, they're a discreet form of orthodontics.
Treatment time is similar to traditional braces (6 months to 3 years). They cost more due to the intricacy of the treatment, ranging from $5,000 to $13,000.
After treatment, your teeth will try to return to their original position. Retainers keep your teeth from moving and preserve your new smile after braces. They can be removable or permanent.
Retainers are typically worn for at least four to six months. However, some may be worn longer.
Orthodontic headgear is used in combination with braces. Braces can only correct teeth positioning. However, headgear can influence your jaw's growth and shape and your facial appearance.
Headgear may be used when a patient has an overbite, underbite, overjet, open bite, or crossbite. It's typically worn for 12 hours a day, and treatment typically takes 1 to 2 years.
Palate expanders are used in early orthodontic treatment to widen the palate (roof of the mouth). They treat children with impacted teeth, crossbites, or crowded teeth.
They may also be used to improve breathing abilities. Some palate expanders are removable, while others are permanent.
Palate expanders are typically used on children. The treatment time lasts approximately 3 to 6 months.
Treatment typically costs between $2,000 and $3,000. However, many healthcare plans cover some or all of the treatment.
Orthognathic surgery, also known as corrective jaw surgery, is used to correct severe jaw misalignment. Surgery is often recommended when a person is of skeletal maturity, beginning in their late teens.
Jaw surgery helps correct major issues contributing to eating and sleeping problems and TMJ disorder.
This surgery typically costs $20,000 to $40,000. However, some insurance companies may cover it.
Veneers are a cosmetic treatment option but don't straighten your teeth. Rather, they are thin shells placed over the front of teeth to improve their size, shape, and color.
Veneers are cosmetic because they are elective and placed only for aesthetic reasons. They typically cost between $925 and $2,500 per tooth.
Clear aligners can save you thousands of dollars compared to braces. Learn about clear aligners.
Teeth straightening costs depend on the severity of your condition and the type of treatment you undergo.
Traditional braces typically cost between $2,500 and $8,000. Invisalign treatment is priced similarly, ranging from $3,500 to $8,000.
At-home clear aligners are the cheapest option, varying from $1,800 to $2,300.
Some dental insurance plans may cover teeth straightening, but this is not always true. Many dental insurance plans will cover traditional braces for kids and teenagers, especially if they medically need them.
Talk to your dentist or orthodontist to know more about your dental insurance coverage.
The average treatment time for straightening teeth depends on the severity of your malocclusion and the type of treatment performed.
Clear aligners can straighten teeth in as little as 3 months. However, most clear aligner treatment programs have an average treatment time of 6 to 18 months. Traditional braces typically take 18 months to 3 years.
We recommend at-home clear aligners if you have mild teeth misalignment. View our top recommendations.
Straight teeth have various benefits beyond aesthetic concerns. Some of these benefits include:
Most cases of malocclusion are inherited. Other causes include:
There are three classes of malocclusion:
Within these three classes, there are also seven different types of misalignment, including:
Nearly all cases of crooked teeth can be corrected with orthodontic treatment. The orthodontic treatment will depend on your age and your condition's severity.
Speak with your dentist or orthodontist to determine the best treatment plan for your needs.
Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.
Getting your teeth straightened is a great way to improve your smile and dental health. Various teeth straightening treatments are available to provide you with a new smile.
Talk to a dental professional to know more about different teeth straighteners. They can provide options and recommendations based on your needs.
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