Perhaps you've seen a do-it-yourself teeth straightening video online. If you're wondering whether a DIY approach is an option to replace orthodontics, knowing the facts about braces and other similar devices is a must. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, doing your own orthodontic work is never a safe choice. The AAO warns consumers that using rubber bands, floss or any at-home treatment to replace expert orthodontic procedures is risky, they also suggest methods that the professionals can provide.
Given that a DIY approach isn't advisable,what are your options for creating and maintaining straight teeth?
1. Traditional braces. The orthodontist uses braces to straighten teeth, fix your bite or correct over-crowding, notes the American Dental Association. Metal braces use brackets and wires to put pressure on your teeth. This straightens them, making your smile look and feel better.
2. Clear aligners. If you don't want to go the bracket and wire route, clear aligners may be for you. Aligners are removable trays made from a clear material that fits snugly over your teeth. You won't just get one aligner to fix your smile. The orthodontist uses a series of these trays to gradual straighten your teeth.
You can take the trays out when you brush your teeth or eat. Unlike traditional braces, aligners aren't for serious orthodontic problems. The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry suggests this type of treatment if you only have minor spacing issues or minor to moderate crowding. If you need major movement or have a severe issue, your orthodontist may suggest another option.
3. Elastics. Sometimes traditional braces can't move your teeth into place on their own. To achieve the maximum teeth straightening possible your orthodontic pro may suggest adding on elastics. The elastics hook onto the brace's brackets, and are removable. Elastics don't provide teeth straightening on their own. Instead, they enhance the effects of braces.
4. Retainers. Retainers help to keep teeth straight after you've had braces or aligners, maintaining your new smile. There are a few different types of retainers. Hawley-type retainers are removable metal and plastic devices. The metal part fits over your teeth. Removable invisible retainers fit snugly over your teeth (similar to aligners).
Depending on the orthodontist's orders, you may only need to wear your removable retainer at night while you sleep. A fixed, or permanent, retainer is bonded to back of your teeth. Your orthodontist installs this type of retainer after your braces come off, and removes it when he feels your teeth are ready to stay put on their own.
Straightening your teeth doesn't just improve your looks. It also builds confidence and gives you a healthier mouth. Depending on your dental issues, the orthodontist may suggest the traditional bracket and wire braces or a clear, removable option.
Along with these devices, add-ons such as elastics and maintainers such as retainers can keep your teeth straight. Keep in mind, only a qualified, trained orthodontist has the knowledge to judge your situation and help you to decide what is right for your healthy mouth. To learn more, contact a professional like Dave Kujak, DMD, MS with any questions or concerns you might have.