If your teeth are crooked or overcrowded, you may want realignment treatment. There are so many options for dental realignment. How do you know which to choose?
This guide to teeth straightening options might help you to make your decision:
- Rough Price: £2000 (£270 on the NHS)
- Treatment Length: 24 Months
- Checkups: Regular
Traditional braces are an orthodontic treatment that may be available on the NHS.
Thin wires are fixed to every tooth, using a bracket that may be clear or provided in your choice of colour. Ceramic brackets are also available, closely matched to the colour of your teeth.
A majority of people are offered traditional braces for NHS treatment as a teenager. There's a good chance that you had braces as a teenager, but found that the results didn't last because you weren't in the habit of using a retainer. Many people that have experience of braces need to top up their treatment as an adult.
Traditional braces need to be tightened at regular dental check-ups. In some cases, they may be self-tightening. Usually, the wires are silver metal, though they can be ‘upgraded' to less visible white at an additional cost.
Traditional braces aren't removable, which means that they'll need to be worn during mealtimes and when you are brushing. You will need to be careful, avoiding chewing gum and hard foods that may damage your braces or fixtures. You will need to wear your braces for up to 24 months.
These remain the most widely available option for dental alignment. Almost all UK dentists and orthodontists offer traditional braces. They can cost upwards of £2000, though NHS treatment might cost less than £250.
- Rough Price: £3000
- Treatment Length: 1-3 Years
- Checkups: Regular
Lingual braces are a lot like traditional braces. They use brackets and wires, slowly moving the teeth to their final positions.
In this case, the braces are fixed to the back of the teeth. As a result, they're invisible.
Lingual braces aren't as effective as some other alignment options. As they're fixed to the back of the teeth, the brackets are closer together which leaves less room for shifting your teeth.
There are other downsides to using lingual braces. They can be harder to clean, as you can't easily see them, and may be uncomfortable as they'll regularly catch on your tongue. They also cost more than traditional braces, with some treatments costing upwards of £3000.
Lingual braces are not a particularly popular option, but may be your choice if you want traditional braces but would prefer a less visible treatment.
- Rough Price: £1300-1600
- Treatment Length: 6 Months
- Checkups: Online
Clear aligners are available from many providers, typically costing between £1200 and £2000. Most are between £1300 and £1600. Aligners are made using moulds made from a home impression kit or 3D scan, and each aligner only lasts a few weeks.
One of the benefits of using clear aligners is that you'll be able to go through your treatment at home. In most cases, you can ‘check-in' online, sending photographs of your progress, rather than visiting the dentist.
Over the course of your treatment, you'll go through several sets of dental aligners. Each is slightly different from the last, slowly moving your teeth until they're in their final positions.
Clear aligners are a favourite with people that want to hide their treatment. These are often known as invisible aligners, and can't be seen unless you're looking at them very close up. Clear aligners can be removed and should be taken out for mealtimes and brushing, though you should aim to wear them at all other times to make sure that your treatment won't stall.
Clear aligner treatment typically takes around 6 months to complete. Your treatment may be slightly shorter or longer, depending on how much your teeth need to move.
People usually think of Invisalign when they're talking about clear braces, though this is just one brand name and many other options are available. Before paying, it's worth comparing clear braces to find the most suitable option.
- Rough Price: £1000-1600
- Treatment Length: 6-18 Weeks
- Checkups: Every 2-3 Weeks
Inman Aligners are a relatively new invention. Though they haven't existed as long as other types of braces, they're praised for their speedy results.
Inman Aligners are spring aligners that need to be removed for mealtimes. These aligners push on the back and front of your front teeth, moving your smile into a straighter position. Your teeth are sandwiched between two bow-shaped metal wires that apply pressure to your four front teeth.
Treatment typically takes from 6-18 weeks, and you'll only need one aligner that will last until the end of your treatment. You will have to attend regular check-ups, usually every 3 weeks.
Inman Aligners can be seen, but aren't as visible as traditional braces. This is because they don't need to be fixed to your teeth, which means that the only signs will be the thin metal wires.
Inman Aligner costs vary but are usually between £1000 and £1600.
Choosing a Treatment
There are many factors to consider when you're choosing a dental treatment.
Consider the costs of treatment, which can vary considerably. In most cases, you can expect to pay between £1000 and £2000. You may be able to spread the cost by setting up monthly payments.
Also, consider whether you want aligners that you can remove. Traditional braces are fixed in place, whilst some aligners can be removed when you're eating and drinking. You might prefer traditional aligners if you're concerned about your willpower lacking, and might be tempted to wear your aligners less frequently than you should.
Take time to think about how visible your treatment will be. Traditional braces are quite easy to see, even from a distance, and you'll pay a premium for less visible options like ceramic brackets and white wires. Clear aligners are amongst the least visible, and can only be seen up close, whilst Inman aligners are slightly more visible but offer shorter treatment times.
Length of Treatment
Treatment times should be another consideration. Faster treatments aren't necessarily the most expensive but can require some sacrifices. Moving your teeth quickly can also be a little less comfortable, which means that Inman treatments aren't as comfortable as the slower clear aligners. Traditional braces and Lingual braces have the longest treatment times.
If dentists make you feel uncomfortable, treatment might still be available. With clear aligners, you don't need to visit your dentist in person. In many cases, you can check-in online and send photographs during your treatment.
If you have traditional braces or an Inman Aligner, you will need to see a dentist in person. Checkups are very frequent with Inman Aligners, though the treatment should be over very quickly. With traditional braces, you'll need these visits less often, though treatment will last a lot longer.