Braces are the most popular answer received when asked how to straighten teeth. They typically consist of four parts: brackets, bonding material, arch wire and ligature elastic. These units work together to exert pressure on the teeth in a specific direction. Over time, the teeth shift into their proper positions. Unlike the aligner option, metal braces have a series of metal brackets and wires that are clearly visible on the teeth. They are a less cosmetically appealing option but are often times considerably cheaper than other methods of teeth straightening. Patients can expect to wear braces an average of two years, but this number will differ depending on the recommendations prescribed by the dentist.
A set of custom designed aligners are manufactured specifically for the patient. Over time, the trays will slowly shift the patient's teeth in the direction prescribed by the dentist or orthodontist. Although they are intended to deliver the same benefit as traditional braces, the look and feel of aligners are different. About twice a month, the patient discards their old aligner trays for a set of new trays, repeating this step until their teeth have aligned.
If your teeth are misshapen, but not necessarily crooked, cosmetic contouring, or reshaping, might be the best option for you. The procedure is generally completed in a single visit and takes less than 30 minutes to complete. During this procedure a dentist will alter the shape and length of the bothersome teeth. In some instances, the position of the teeth being treated are also altered to provide a more cosmetically appealing look.