Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a diamond. — Miguel de Cervantes
There are plenty of ways to straighten your teeth, but this guide narrows it down to three main ways: Metal braces, invisible aligners, and veneers. The most effective methods are listed first, but each has its own unique pros and cons. Go through all options before choosing the one that best fits your needs.
As of 2019, the average American spends about $5,000 on braces, presuming that he or she doesn't have dental insurance .
While that might sound expensive, recognize that braces are the only method on this list that has the added benefit of actually realigning your root canals. Realignment is used in order to remedy crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw, both of which can snowball into huge problems if left alone.
The downside for braces is that they can be quite an eyesore. The best way to make them look "better" is to opt for clear/ceramic braces, but even these will stick out.
But if you're highly conscious about how they look, you shouldn't be. Over 4 million people in the U.S. wear braces, and 25% of these individuals are adults . Over time, braces have become more and more commonplace as the practice improves:
Braces are used for 16 months on average, but can sometimes take longer . A year and a half may seem like a long time, but it is a worthy investment towards your future dental hygiene. Braces, unlike the other options, actually shifts your root canals to straighten your teeth semi-permanently.
- Actually shifts your root canals
- More permanent solution
- Applicable at every age
- Re-adjustment only every 1 to 3 months
- Looks bad
- Can hurt after re-adjustment
These aren't meant for everyone, so first check with a dentist or orthodontist to see if aligners are a good alternative to braces for you.
While braces use attached wires to encourage tooth alignment, invisible aligners are a series of tight-fitting, custom-made, and clear mouthpieces that slip over your teeth to perform the same task.
Unlike braces that remain attached to your teeth until they become straight, aligners have to be continuously put on and taken off as you eat. If you don't trust yourself to constantly remember to take them with you, clean them, or reapply them; it's highly suggested that you stick with braces.
If none of that seems like a big deal, there is one huge benefit that invisible aligners have over braces: They look better. And because you can take them off, that means that you can actually brush and floss well.
Like braces, invisible aligners take between 16 and 24 months to realign your teeth. Similarly, they also cost about $5,000 presuming that you don't have dental insurance .
- Same price as braces
- Looks decent
- Doesn't shift teeth from the root canal
- Not for everyone
- Isn't as effective as braces in the long run.
- Have to get new ones every ~2 weeks
- Can hurt after re-adjustment
Veneer and Lumineers
This is the last option on the list due to the fact that these don't physically straighten your teeth, but instead make them look like they are.
If at all possible, you should first see if braces or aligners are an option before considering this one. While these are definitely the fastest way to achieve straight teeth, they also come with the most potential downsides.
But if braces or aligners are a huge problem, then veneers or lumineers might be a viable solution.
To begin, you should first understand the difference between the two types:
- Traditionally made out of porcelain material
- Make your teeth appear whiter and straighter
- Permanently bonded to your teeth
- Takes a bit of time to apply
- Require less preparation to apply than veneers do
- Potentially reversible
- Don't last as long as veneers
- Not as effective at hiding stained or damaged teeth
Before even considering between the two, check with your dentist and/or orthodontist if it an option. As of @October 22, 2020 lumineers are a brand of veneer only offered by some dentists.
Additionally, veneers cost the most out of the three options. Depending on your own particular situation, traditional veneers may cost between $950 and $2,500 per tooth .
- Resistant to staining
- Suited for broken or severely stained teeth
- Lengthy prep and application process (up to a couple of months)
- They're permanent
- Last about 8 to 10 years
- Very costly
The bottom line
Braces are the best option for most people as they are a better version of invisible aligners with the slight drawback of looking worse. If you are an individual that needs to have a more appealing look, then aligners are a decent alternative. If both of these options are an issue, then consider getting veneers.