How Can I Straighten My Crooked Teeth?


Las Vegas Dentist

If you suffer from crooked teeth, either one of two things may be true. Either you (1) would like to get them fixed but don't know how or (2) know that they are crooked but just don't think it matters. However, there may be another angle to consider: the effect of crooked teeth on your physical health. Teeth that overlap or sit too far apart can be hard to clean and are likely wear at an uneven rate. Decay, gum disease, headaches, jaw pain and difficulty in chewing are just a few of the problems that can result, to say nothing of the embarrassment crooked teeth can cause.

The good news is that all is not lost. There are things you can do to correct the problem. If your tooth misalignment is not too severe, you may achieve the desired result through:

  • Cosmetic contouring. This fast and reasonably priced solution works well for people whose teeth are worn, chipped or slightly crooked. The success of this treatment rests heavily on the thickness of the existing tooth enamel and the characteristics of the bite. It may not be the answer for everyone, but if you should prove to be a viable candidate, cosmetic contouring can reward you with an improved appearance and teeth that are far easier to clean.
  • Tooth bonding. The application of plastic resin can improve the appearance and function of crooked teeth in as little as one dental visit. This material, once in place, is easily sculpted and trimmed into an attractive shape. Bonding is often performed in conjunction with cosmetic contouring to fill in empty gaps and correct overlaps. This cost-effective technique also works well to improve the appearance of teeth that happen to be stained or chipped.
  • Porcelain veneers. These undetectable, stain-resistant ceramic shells bond invisibly to the existing teeth, making them look straighter.
  • Crowns. Second in cost only to orthodontia, crowns can dramatically correct the appearance of crooked or crowded teeth. However, the success of this treatment depends on the ability to align the crowned teeth properly with their next-door neighbors.

Although any one of these cosmetic techniques can serve as a lower-cost alternative to traditional braces for straightening teeth, they unfortunately won't do the trick for everyone. There are times that only braces will help you achieve the desired result. There are several types of braces available today. Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend:

  • Metal braces. This traditional type of dental brace consists of brackets that attach to the teeth and metal wires that thread through these brackets to apply the pressure that moves the teeth into position. This is the least expensive type of brace and may work the fastest, but they are impossible to hide, and not everyone finds them comfortable.
  • Ceramic braces. Less widely used and somewhat more expensive than the metal variety, ceramic braces are harder to notice when in place. Although they achieve results at about the same rate as metal braces, they do tend to stain and can also be uncomfortable to wear.
  • Lingual braces. These are very similar to traditional metal braces except that instead of attaching to the front of the teeth, the metal brackets attach to the back. In this position, they are hard to notice unless the wearer opens his mouth. They are also more comfortable to wear. However, they are somewhat more difficult to keep clean and may cause problems with speech. In addition, lingual braces are more expensive and slower to work.
  • Self-ligating braces. Although similar in style to traditional metal braces, the self-ligating variety secure the wire with doors or clips rather than the rubber bands employed by the older type. Self-ligating braces are also less painful to wear, easier to clean and available in either metal or ceramic. However, they may not be right for every patient.
  • Invisible braces. More expensive than other types of dental braces, the invisible variety is virtually undetectable when in place. They remove completely to allow for cleaning and afford more comfort than do traditional metal braces. While they are not likely to work well in severe cases, their inconspicuous nature has attracted many users.

When it comes to straightening your teeth, there are many methods out there. Regardless of the one on which you and your dental professional finally decide, having straighter teeth will:

  • Improve your appearance.
  • Increase your self-confidence.
  • Make your teeth easier to clean and less likely to decay.

Straighter teeth can also help you live longer. That's because they are easier to floss, and studies have shown that people who floss daily can add up to seven years to their lifespans.

If you live in Las Vegas and are interested in straightening your teeth, Dr. James White can help. Contact our office today. We will evaluate your situation and help you choose the tooth-straightening method that best suits your circumstances.