While braces are a great way to straighten and align your teeth, not everyone is willing to go down the route of braces for a full-time reminder of their alignment needs. But a great smile can actually help you seem more personable and capable, especially later in life when self-confidence and a comfort with your smile can help you land a great job and help you earn more money — and that’s something that just about anyone can get behind.
Unfortunately, with braces, you might spend years with garish, metal contraptions that can make it difficult to be proud of your smile to be. It’s also ironic that in order to get a more pleasing smile, you have to first make your smile less pleasing for a significant period of time. Even worse, braces won’t hide discolored or cracked teeth, and they may not even bring in those crooked and protruding teeth that you’re worried so much about.
That’s why more and more people are looking towards alternative solutions for braces — after all, braces aren’t always the best solution. Instead, your dentist may suggest a braces alternative if you have minor spacing or crowding issues; if your bite alignment is only slightly off; if you can’t go through years of treatment; or if the financial burden is too significant.
Braces Alternative #1: Retainers
As a removable dental device, retainers are actually often used before and after braces to help finalize certain tricky positioning issues. In addition to the more common metal versions, clear or transparent versions can be used that are less noticeable. Some retainers may actually be better suited to remedy certain tooth alignment issues, especially if only one or two teeth need repositioning.
Conveniently, retainers can be removed anytime such as during eating or whenever they become an annoyance — certain styles may only need to be worn at night. The best part is that retainers are much cheaper than braces, which makes them a favorite when it comes to the wallet, too.
Braces Alternative #2: Headgear
Though you’d never quite confuse it for any of our other options as it’s the most visible braces alternative out there, headgear provides an outsized benefit for its harsh looks. It’s capable of correcting extreme overbite and jaw alignment issues by pulling and pushing the upper teeth and jaw to achieve ideal positioning.
But while patients aren’t exactly lining up for their headgear because of how it looks, these devices are only required to be worn for a few hours a day, such as overnight, so it’s not like it’s an all-day sentence. That said, headgear is less common today than it was in years past, and odds are no one is seriously considering this option as a braces alternative.
Braces Alternative #3: Clear Aligners
For adults, one of the most popular braces alternatives are clear plastic aligners such as Invisalign. Instead of unsightly wires, rubber bands and the actual braces glued to your teeth, you can wear removable plastic molds that slide over the teeth and correct everything from minor overbites and underbites to gaps and positioning issues.
Two clear aligners — one for the upper teeth and one for the lower — is actually part of a larger set. After a couple weeks, the initial pair are replaced by another, slowly adjusting the teeth until the ideal fit and alignment is achieved. Ideal patients for clear aligners include those with minor gaps or alignment issues.
Braces Alternative #4: Six Month Smiles
As a braces alternative that is most similar to braces, the six month smile may seem like an awkward choice as an alternative to braces. But unlike braces, the six month smile only takes six months. It’s also significantly less noticeable than traditional braces, though it’s not quite as effective.
If you have minor gaps or other issues, you may be a good candidate for a six month smile. However, because it only addresses your top front teeth — the ones mostly visible when you smile — it can’t help with any bite or alignment issues, as well as any problems with your lower or non-visible teeth.
Braces Alternative #5: Lingual Braces
If the visibility is what bothers you about braces, did you know that you can get braces on the insides of your teeth? They’re known as lingual braces, so named because they occupy the same place as your tongue. That can take some time to get used to because it’s naturally where your tongue sits, but if appearances are more important, lingual braces may be a good option.
One advantage of lingual braces is that they don’t require as many adjustments and therefore dental appointments, but eating, brushing and otherwise using your teeth may be more discomforting than traditional braces. Just like normal braces, you’ll have to avoid sticky, chewy and hard foods since they could damage your dental work, but if you think you can put up with it, lingual braces could be for you.
Braces Alternative #6: Ceramic Braces
For most people considering braces, the part that bugs them the most is that metal braces are too noticeable on the teeth. But ceramic braces work just like traditional braces, except that they have tooth colored wires and brackets. That means they’re significantly less noticeable, and they actually won’t show up on most photographs taken from a reasonable distance.
When facing a significant overbite or underbite issue, as well as any other alignment problem that can’t be remedied by other alternatives to braces, ceramic braces are a good option. Unfortunately, you’ll still have to abide by certain diet restrictions like metal braces, except you’ll have to be more careful since ceramic braces utilize wires that are more prone to breaking. Coffees, teas and other dark beverages can also stain your light-colored braces, so there’s more to think about with ceramic braces over metal braces.
Braces Alternative #7: Snap-On Veneers
Popular with those that are just interested in a great looking set of teeth with no fuss, snap-on veneers are a purely cosmetic fix to covering up gaps, as well as placement and shape issues. While braces and all the alternatives we’ve mentioned attempt to physically move the teeth, Shiny Smile Veneers actually fit on top of the teeth, giving you an instantly beautiful smile without all that dental work and time.
Affordable and convenient, it only takes three easy steps to up your smile game with Shiny Smile Veneers. Just place your order and we’ll send you a teeth impression kit to make your molds. Send it back to us and we’ll send you a beautiful set of teeth to pop on whenever you’d like.