- Published Date: 27 Oct 2020
- Updated Date: 22 Mar 2021
- Reading Time: 7 min
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Ruchira Gunawardena D.D.S
Taking the initiative to straighten your teeth is a big step toward gaining new confidence in your natural beauty. Not only can straightening your teeth have cosmetic benefits, but it can also help improve things like speech issues, difficulty eating, muscle strains, and reduces the risk of damage to other teeth. You can also improve your overall oral health.
Though the process of getting braces can be lengthy and expensive, there are new ways you can reach your smile goals without breaking the bank. Whether you want to use traditional metal braces, retainers, veneers, clear aligners or tooth-colored ceramic braces, there is an option out there that is perfect for you and your lifestyle. Clear aligners are the perfect alternative to traditional metal braces for a plethora of reasons. Before we dive into all the ways clear braces can be beneficial, let us talk about teeth straightening.
Essentially, you can straighten your teeth at any age but its effectiveness will vary. That is why it is recommended that you take those precautions in your teenage years. Your jaw is not fully developed yet and your teeth roots are just getting started. By straightening your teeth during those years, no matter what method you use, it will be very effective.
That is not to say that you cannot get your teeth straightened as an adult. It can still be just as effective. As you get older, your teeth will shift. Maybe you had a perfect smile in your teenage years, but as soon as you reached full adulthood your teeth started to become more crooked. The great thing is that you matter if you had perfect teeth as a kid or you are an adult who never had the opportunity to get braces as a child, you still have time to upgrade your smile. The method you choose depends on the results you are looking for and the amount of money you are willing to spend.
Costs Involved In Straightening Teeth
The cost of the method varies. Most people opt for traditional metal braces because they are the least expensive and they are typically offered on state-funded insurance. They can run anywhere between $2,500 to $7,500. One of the major determinants of metal braces is that they are extremely noticeable. Prominent adult braces may not be the best option for you.
On the other hand, you could opt for the less-obvious ceramic braces. They are typically clear or tooth-colored, so no one will notice you are wearing braces. Their only downfall is the price tag. These typically run anywhere between $3,000 to $10,000, making them way more expensive than their metal counterparts.
Another inconspicuous way to straighten your teeth as an adult is to go for the lingual braces. They are fixed to the back of your teeth next to your tongue. People can only see them if you open your mouth wide. If you have the money to spend, these could be an ideal option but they are pricey. Lingual braces cost between $5,000 to $13,000.
If you are looking for some cheaper options, you could easily straighten your teeth with only a retainer, but this is best for minor corrections. Major corrections may be more difficult to be done with retainers. It is important not to get confused between clear retainers and clear braces. Though they look the same, they perform differently. Retainers run between $100 to $750.
Some people also use porcelain veneers and composite bonding as a quick way to fix crooked teeth. Their downside is they can ruin your tooth enamel and it is a temporary solution. You have to replace them with either new veneers or crowns after five to ten years. These are quick fixes with the ability to be installed in two dental clinic appointments. Porcelain veneers option cost between $500 to $2,500 per tooth. And composite bonding runs between $250 to $1,200 per tooth.
Skip the doctor visits all together and straighten your teeth at home using invisible aligner kits. This option is typically less expensive than traditional braces, bonding, and veneers because there is no middle man. Your dentist will send your aligners in the mail after you have taken accurate pictures of your problem areas. For home kits, you are looking to spend between $1,200 to $2,400.
If you are searching for something that is very efficient yet cost-effective, the best option is invisible aligners. These are perfect for adults who want to straighten their teeth but do not want to worry about someone noticing their braces. If all you want is a perfectly straight smile, clear braces are the best way to go. These cost anywhere between $3,500 to $8,500.
Metal Braces Vs. Clear Aligners
One very important point to always remember is that no method is the “right” method. The best method for straightening your teeth completely depends upon what your smile goals are and what your budget is. If you are trying to pick between traditional metal braces or clear aligners, here are some things you should consider.
Traditional metal braces are one of the most obvious and the most visible. There are some ways you can work around the metal brackets and rubber bands. Instead of going for colored rubber bands, consider getting rubber bands that match closely to the natural color of your teeth. Metal braces are not flexible at all. Once they are on your teeth, they are going to stay on until they are taken off by a professional. This can be a good thing for some people because you will never lose them or forget to put them on.
On the downside there are certain foods you should not eat. You want to steer clear of hard and sticky foods as they can get caught in the metal brackets. Sometimes those foods can make the wires pop out of the brackets or loosen the brackets. It is recommended to drink water instead of carbonated beverages, flavored waters or sports drinks. These drinks are typically high in sugar and acids that can be damaging to your teeth.
Traditional braces are also known for being uncomfortable in the beginning stages and when they are adjusted. Sometimes the brackets and wires can cut the insides of your mouth. Once you get used to the sensation, the discomfort will subside. Keeping your oral hygiene can be a bit of an issue if you opt for traditional braces. It is important to maintain the health of your gums and teeth by keeping them free of plaque and food debris. If not your teeth will be susceptible to cavities and gum disease. So it is highly recommended that you brush your teeth and floss often when you have metal braces.
Clear braces or aligners are hard to distinguish, which is why this is such a popular option. They are replicas of your teeth but slightly different. When you wear them, the pressure is applied to your teeth to push them into their right position. Not only can these straighten your teeth, but they can also realign your jaw. They do all of this inconspicuously so you can be sure that they will fit into your lifestyle.
You can take your aligners on and off whenever you need to. You have to take them off when you are eating, brushing your teeth, flossing, and drinking beverages other than water. Though these are removable, it is important that you wear them for the prescribed time. Sometimes you are prescribed to wear them during the day and night, and sometimes only at night. You have to follow recommended guidelines in order to gain the desired outcome. If not, the effectiveness of your treatment will be reduced.
Typically you will be required to wear your aligners for 22 hours consecutively. Be mindful of when you are taking them off because you can misplace them easily. When you take them off, make sure to place them in their proper container instead of putting them on a napkin or a paper towel to avoid throwing them away accidently.
As mentioned, keeping your oral health in tip-top shape is key in keeping your clear aligners hygienic. Steer clear of soft drinks, flavored waters or sports drinks while wearing your aligners. Even if they are clear liquids, the acids and sugars can seep into the aligners leading to teeth staining and decay. Before you place your aligners in your mouth, your teeth need to be cleaned.
How Can You Get Them?
There are a number of ways you can get invisible aligners. Some companies require that you give them health insurance while others do not. You may have to pay out of pocket but be reimbursed from your health insurance company. There are other companies that do not accept health insurance, but instead will allow you to pay on a payment plan. For a fixed fee a month, you can pay for your aligners. You could also pay for them upfront for a discounted fee usually.
Which Option Is Best For Me?
Now that we have discussed the different methods used for straightening teeth, you can make an educated decision about which method is best for you. You could go with ALIGNERCO as they are direct to consumer at-home clear aligners brand. They are one of the most affordable aligner brands in the United States.
If you are looking for more bang for your buck, the least expensive option is using an at-home teeth straightening kit. There is no need to spend money on multiple dentist visits. All you have to do is simply take a 3D picture of your teeth and gums. From there, your dentist will craft you an aligner that is specifically fit for your teeth while at the same time correct your teeth. One thing to note is that if you have a more severe problem, invisible aligners may not be the most effective option even though it may be the least expensive.
It is recommended when searching for the best prices, you want to get quotes from at least three doctors in the area near you. The price to straighten teeth varies not just from method to method but also from doctor’s office to doctor’s office. Where one office may charge $1,500 for your invisible aligners, another office may charge you twice as much. That is why shopping around is important. You do not want to pick the first one that stands out to you. Do your research that way you are keeping your pockets protected.
Invisible braces are perfect for adults and children alike who do not want anyone to know they are wearing braces. Now that you have made your decision to go with aligners, here are some of the best practices.
Do Not Use Your Old Retainers
Using old retainers is not a good idea. You may think you are saving money but in actuality, you could be further damaging your teeth especially if your teeth have moved out of their position since the last time you wore it.
Look Into Using Retainers To Straighten Teeth
You can use your invisible braces as a jumping-off point into using retainers to straighten your teeth. Some companies offer retainers that you only have to wear at night, making your teeth straight while you sleep.
Keep In Mind Other Treatments
There may be other treatments you need in addition to getting your teeth straightened. You may need to have your jaw realigned, which requires a surgical procedure from your dentist. If you fix the alignment of your teeth, but your jaw is out of alignment, you could be wasting your efforts.
Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Ruchira Gunawardena D.D.S