If teeth are crooked, stick out or don't come together properly, this can sometimes cause problems with eating or speech, as well as increasing the risk of dental injuries and oral diseases. These may be corrected with orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontics traditionally uses metal braces to apply forces to teeth that causes them to move position over time, but not everyone likes the way braces look and feel in the mouth. If you could benefit from orthodontic treatment but you want a more discreet option, your dentist or orthodontist may offer other options depending on your clinical needs.
A popular alternative to braces for adults and older teenagers, clear aligners from brands such as Invisalign® are made from transparent plastic that can be moulded to fit comfortably over the teeth. The aligners are replaced at regular intervals with a new set, each shaped slightly differently to encourage the teeth to move into their desired position.
Unlike fixed braces, aligners can be removed when you need to eat and brush your teeth, but they should be worn as much as possible, including during sleep. Invisalign® treatment relies on patient compliance and discipline to improve the chances of success.
Clear aligners can often be effective if you have a minor orthodontic issue, such as teeth being slightly crooked or protruding or narrow gaps between teeth. This treatment can be less reliable if you need to correct a more severe issue. In that case, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend a type of braces.
Another option for correcting minor issues such as crooked or gapped teeth, dental veneers are primarily a cosmetic treatment designed to change the appearance of a smile, rather than improve oral health or repair damage. They can also cover up teeth stains and discolouration.
Made from porcelain (ceramic) or a composite resin of plastic and glass, veneers are thin coverings that can be fitted to the front of teeth. Porcelain veneers are stronger and generally last longer than composite veneers, but they are also more expensive.
Veneers are not considered an orthodontic treatment and they won't be suitable if you need to correct a more serious issue with your teeth or jaws. You won't be a candidate for veneers if you have poor oral health or grind or clench your teeth, as this can damage the veneers.
Even if you've decided against metal braces, your dentist may discuss more discreet alternatives using clear or tooth-coloured brackets and wires that will be less visible in your mouth. More serious orthodontic issues may only be corrected using braces, and some options such as Smilefast adult braces can straighten teeth in a shorter time frame than standard braces – often 6 to 9 months rather than 1 to 2 years.
If you're thinking about orthodontic treatment for yourself or your kids, talk to our friendly team at Sydney CBD Dental. We'll explain all the options available so you can decide what's right for you.
 Healthdirect. Orthodontic treatments [Online] 2017 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/orthodontic-treatments
 Orthodontics Australia. All about clear aligners [Online] 2016 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://orthodonticsaustralia.org.au/all-about-clear-aligners/
 Healthdirect. Veneers [Online] 2018 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/veneers
 Healthdirect. Dental braces and retainers [Online] 2018 [Accessed April 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/dental-braces-and-retainers