Although teeth straightening treatments have quickly evolved and gained popularity over the years, most people still don’t know how the process works or which treatment will be best for their smile.
Teeth straightening treatments do precisely what their name suggests they move or “align” your teeth slowly, over time, until they reach the desired position. The result is a straighter, more attractive smile. Because of this, teeth straightening treatments are habitually marketed as cosmetic dental treatments. While that is true, they also significantly improve oral health and are highly effective at preventing more serious issues.
Common issues that teeth straightening treatments can correct are misalignments, such as teeth crowding or spacing, and bite issues, like an overbite. However, dentists and orthodontists also recommend teeth straightening treatment to prevent more significant dental health concerns and improve a patient’s oral hygiene.
Crooked or misaligned teeth are typically more difficult to clean and may cause buildups of plaque and bacteria. The result is decay (cavities) and possibly gum disease. Straightening the teeth can improve gum health and make it easier to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.
Benefits of Teeth Straightening
Being uncomfortable with your teeth can seriously affect your self-confidence. Your smile is the first thing that most people notice, and it can completely change your overall appearance. The most obvious benefit of teeth straightening treatment is a more attractive smile and, as a result, improved confidence.
As we previously discussed, improved oral hygiene, while not as trendy, is also a significant benefit of teeth straightening treatment. Once treatment is complete, patients often notice that brushing and flossing are much more manageable, and their oral health tends to improve naturally. Improved oral hygiene then leads to fewer cavities and lowers the risk of cavities or periodontal disease.
Top benefits of teeth straightening treatments include:
- Decreased risk of cavities and gum disease
- Easier cleaning (brushing, flossing, etc.)
- Improved gum health
- Improved facial symmetry and overall appearance
Treatment Options for Teeth Straightening
Until recently, there were very few options for teeth straightening treatment. Luckily, the industry has since exploded and now includes several options to suit a wide variety of patients. The major factors to consider when choosing treatment are cost, convenience, and treatment time. Depending on what’s important to you, there are multiple ways to straighten your teeth.
Traditional metal braces are the most popular teeth straightening treatment, and they have the longest history of success. Traditional braces are typically considered the most versatile treatment and can treat almost any type of misalignment. As a result, they’re great for more complex cases and severe bite issues that other treatments can’t correct. Despite this, braces are losing popularity due to more convenient options flooding the market.
Most people prefer their treatment be as hidden as possible and may be embarrassed to wear braces as an adult. Braces also require monthly dental visits and are typically less convenient than newer teeth straightening options. Ultimately, they are a highly effective and flexible treatment, but their appearance and a lengthy treatment time make braces less than ideal for most adults.
Damon braces are marketed as a more comfortable and convenient version of traditional braces. They consist of a sliding mechanism, which is used to attach wires to brackets without requiring steel or elastic ties. This allows them to move more naturally and makes the braces more comfortable to wear.
Damon braces also boast a shorter treatment time than braces, although they appear very similar on the teeth. Still, they are significantly more expensive than traditional braces, so Damon braces are not ideal for patients with a tighter budget.
Lingual braces are another alternative to traditional metal braces. They have metal wires and brackets, but they are placed on the backside of the teeth, as opposed to the front. The brackets and wires are customized to fit the contours of your teeth and are nearly invisible in the mouth. Lingual braces are ideal for people who want a discreet treatment option because they’re very hard to see, even when talking.
Like Damon braces, lingual braces are expensive, so they’re not great for patients on a budget. And although they are customized to be as comfortable as possible, patients often experience tongue irritation and develop a slight lisp as they get used to the positioning of the braces. Brushing lingual braces can also be challenging, as the brackets and wires may be difficult to see and clean.
Clear aligners are the leading teeth straightening treatment for adults who want a quicker, more convenient option than braces. Custom made to fit your smile and boasting a treatment time as fast as 3-4 months, clear aligners are also the most affordable option on this list, starting at around $1800.
Closely resembling clear retainer trays, clear aligners are nearly invisible on the teeth, and they’re removable. So, you can take them out to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. Clear aligners should be worn for 22 hours per day to ensure they work correctly and deliver maximum results. So, they’re not a good choice for people who don’t have the discipline to control their own treatment. There are two types of clear aligners in-office aligners and at-home or “online” aligners.
In-office aligners include the leading clear aligner brand, Invisalign, and the less known brand, ClearCorrect. Treatment with in-office aligners requires monthly visits to the dentist. However, overall treatment time is usually shorter than braces. Because they include regular dental visits, in-office aligners are also fairly versatile and can treat most cases of teeth crowding and spacing.
At-home or “online” aligners are almost identical to in-office aligners in appearance, but treatment is completed entirely from home. Because of the lack of dental visits, the cost of treatment for online aligners is significantly less than braces. However, this also means that they’re not suitable for more severe cases, which require in-person treatment with an orthodontist. The leading at-home aligner brand is SmileDirectClub, followed closely by byte and Candid.
Treatment Duration and Cost
Ultimately, both the treatment time and cost will depend on the severity of your case. More complex cases simply require more time to treat, so the severity of your case should be a major deciding factor for the treatment you choose. Still, there are some teeth straightening treatments that are faster than others in most situations.
At-home clear aligners are currently the quickest and cheapest treatment option. Most accepted cases for online aligner treatment take about six months to treat, but you can complete treatment in as little as three months.
Online aligner brands offer treatment starting at $1800, about half the average cost of braces. All of the top brands also offer payment plans and financing to make their aligners more affordable. SmileDirectClub and byte stand out from the pack by providing financing without a credit check, allowing more people to start treatment without spending thousands of dollars upfront.
In-office aligners, like Invisalign, average $3,000 - $5,000 and usually take 12-18 months. Most dentists and orthodontists offer financing programs, such as Care Credit, to make treatment more affordable. However, these programs typically require a credit check and possibly a down payment.
Traditional braces typically cost $4,000 - $5,000 and require 18-24 months of treatment time. The alternative lingual and Damon braces are the most expensive teeth straightening treatments, at about $6,000 – $10,000. They require slightly less treatment time than braces, with an average of 18 months.
Teeth Straightening with UpSmiles
At UpSmiles, we offer high-quality clear aligners, very similar to byte- but at a significantly reduced cost. Our low-cost aligners provide the same great perks, including shorter treatment time and little-to-no visibility on the teeth.
Clear aligners are an innovative, discrete way to straighten your teeth without the hassle of dental visits or lengthy treatment time. But, that doesn’t mean your treatment has to be expensive. If you have a tighter budget but don’t want to sacrifice on quality, consider treatment with our affordable clear aligners, and get one step closer to your perfect smile.