If you are struggling to choose between fixed orthodontic braces, short-term orthodontic appliances and removable braces to correct issues with tooth alignment as well as bite, our utlimate guide to teeth straightening should help you decide which appliance can best fit your objective and budget.
If crooked or uneven teeth are ruining your smile and making you feel self-conscious, there are a wide range of different teeth straightening options available to you. Maybe you weren’t eligible for braces on the NHS in adolescence and over the past few years you have noticed your teeth in photos or in the mirror getting progressively worse, now is a great time to decide about correcting your crowded, protruded or gappy smile.
Fixed metal or ceramic braces for adults and other orthodontic appliances including removable braces and aligners such as Invisalign provide a variety of approaches to problems such as an uneven bite or poorly aligned teeth, allowing you to choose a solution that fits in with your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences. An alternative option is cosmetic dental veneers, to disguise a problem without the need for dental braces at all.
However, the sheer range of choices available to dental patients can be confusing if you are trying to assess your options or determine the best method of teeth straightening. UK dentists today generally offer a wide range of different services to suit individual requirements, and will be able to talk you through the available options-but it is a good idea to learn a little bit about the different methods of teeth straightening before you start shopping around.
In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive introduction to teeth straightening options, including different types of adult braces, short-term orthodontics to fix minor problems, and removable braces that help to fix alignment issues discreetly and conveniently- and the alternative to braces option, dental veneers.
There are three main types of treatments that can be used for teeth straightening, each of which can themselves be broken down into sub-sections based on their materials, functions and usage.
The three core areas of teeth straightening UK dentists usually offer are:
Dental veneers are also a potential option to disguise the visible appearance of crooked or misaligned teeth, but veneers do not actually correct the underlying problem, only mask it so you may even be advised to do a short course of treatment with braces and then place veneers to complete the cosmetic result.
Next, we will look at different types of dental braces and teeth straightening appliances in more detail.
Fixed orthodontic braces are a comprehensive option for correcting problems such as crooked, protruding or crowded teeth, and problems with the stability of the way you bite. The nature of fixed orthodontic braces means that once they are fitted to the teeth, they remain in place and cannot be removed for the duration of the treatment and are activated by the orthodontist at your review sessions.
Short-term orthodontics are a less invasive and of course, faster option to align visibly crooked front teeth, but they do not correct problems with the bite, and may not be appropriate for very uneven teeth or multiple problems. Here are some of the most popular options.
Removable braces or aligners are intended to correct a range of problems such as crooked, misaligned or crowded teeth, protruding teeth, or an uneven bite, and need to be removed to eat, drink and brush your teeth.
The most popular types of removable braces or aligners are:
An alternative to teeth straightening using dental braces or aligners is using dental veneers to disguise the problem rather than correcting the underlying issue. Dental veneers are a cosmetic alternative to hide crooked or misaligned teeth, by using thin, hard shell-like composite or porcelain veneers to overlay the visible surfaces of the front teeth and disguise problems.
Dental veneers are hardwearing, permanent and generally faster to complete than even short-term orthodontic treatment options, but they are a cosmetic solution only, and do not correct the underlying problem or misaligment.
When it comes to teeth braces, aligners and corrective teeth straightening procedures, discretion is often very important to adult patients, who may be reluctant to wear an obvious brace that is visible to others.
Fixed metal braces are of course quite obvious in the mouth, and cannot be removed until the treatment is complete. Ceramic braces are more discreet as they blend in with the teeth, but up close, others can still see that you are wearing them.
Lingual braces are the most subtle-looking type of fixed braces, which generally, are not visible from the front.
When it comes to short-term orthodontics, Six Month Smiles are discreet but still visible, whilst the devices used for the Inman Aligner, Invisalign i7 and Invisalign Lite are virtually invisible-however, these aligners do need to be removed to eat and drink, which means revealing the device to others or making a special effort to remove and replace the aligner in private.
All of the various removable braces or aligners we have covered are also clear and virtually invisible when worn, but again, must be removed to eat and drink.
Dental veneers, on the other hand, are designed to look just like natural teeth, and are permanent and should look totally natural.
We have summarised the main types of braces in the below table and categorised them into 2 categories - Invisble and Removable - to help you build a better picture of the dental braces and aligners market.
|Fixed Metal Braces||No||No|
|Fixed Ceramic Braces||No||No|
|Fixed Lingual Braces||Yes - Lingual braces (behind teeth)||No|
|Invisalign Clear Braces||Yes||Yes|
|Inman Aligner||Yes - Somewhat||Yes|
|6 Month Smiles||No - Clear brackets and wires||No|
|Incognito Braces||Yes - Lingual braces (behind teeth)||No|
|Cfast Braces||No - Clear brackets||No|
|Fast Braces||No - Clear brackets||No|
|Radiance Braces||No - Clear brackets||No|
|STB Social 6||Yes - Lingual braces (behind teeth)||No|
|Clarity Advance||No - Clear brackets||No|
Exactly how long you will need to wear teeth braces or aligners for teeth straightening will depend on the challenges involved in straightening your own teeth, and this may also dictate which type of treatment is the most appropriate for you.
For fixed braces, average treatment times range from around one to two years, and fixed braces usually provide the most comprehensive and distinctive results.
Short-term orthodontics are generally designed to achieve their goals within about six months, although in some cases, they may be used for up to nine months. Short-term orthodontics are used to correct minor visible problems, and so do not produce such a dramatic change as fixed braces.
When it comes to removable braces, the total treatment timeframe can be highly variable, ranging from as little as three months to up to two years, depending on the option you choose and the challenges of correcting your teeth.
The treatment time and degree of alteration that you are aiming to achieve with removable braces largely dictates how significant the changes will be, and this can range from a subtle correction of a mild problem to a more comprehensive solution.
If you decide instead to choose veneers rather than an aligner or dental braces, the treatment is usually completed in two appointments-one to prepare the teeth and take impressions to have the veneers constructed, and the second to fit the veneers. This is usually the fastest method of achieving a permanent cosmetic improvement to the teeth, although it does not correct the underlying issue. This would not allow you to improve the ability to floss or the unwanted accumulation of plaque and calculus due to the crowding, whereas, straightening would.
This is a difficult question to answer as it will depend on a number of factor inlcuding your current medical situation, whether or not you want something discreet and your budget. We have put together a few resources to help make the most informed decision possible.
Teeth straightening costs can vary considerably depending on the method of treatment you choose, the problems you wish to correct, and how long the treatment takes. Corrective teeth straightening for adults is not usually provided by the NHS unless there is a genuine functional need for the procedure other than to produce a cosmetic improvement-which means having to choose a private dental clinic and funding the treatment yourself.
As a basic guide to UK teeth straightening costs, the average starting prices for the treatments we have covered are as follows.
Finally, dental veneers will vary in price depending on how many teeth you wish to treat, and the material used to construct your veneers. Porcelain veneers cost from £500-£1,000 per tooth, while composite veneers are less expensive, ranging from around £150-£400 per tooth.
Photo: Essix Retainer
If you have dental veneers, you will not need to use a retainer after treatment. However, after correction with dental braces or aligners, you will need to wear retainers afterwards.
Retainers are wires that are discreetly fit to hold the teeth in place after a corrective treatment has been completed, to prevent the teeth from moving back into their original positions. This means that after any form of teeth straightening with aligners or braces, you will need to wear a retainer in order to safeguard your new smile, and make sure that you don’t undo all of your hard work! The usual metal wire used is silver in colour but gold coated is an aesthetic option and usually doesn’t cost much more.
The pricing for a bonded fixed metal retainer is based on each arch (upper/lower or both) and are roughly £200 each.
Vacuum formed plastic retainers such as the conventional Essix retainers are sometimes included in your treatment plan as orthodontists/dentists recognise the importance of wearing retainers immediately after treatment and might offer them in their treatment package. The usual charge for a set of Essix retainers is from £100-200 a pair.
Invisalign have their own retainer system which are removable and worn at night. They are made from simliar material to the aligners themselves but much thicker and stronger. They come in sets of 3 to ensure the longevity of the patient wearing retainers after treatment. Vivera retainers cost from £350-500 and are 3 sets of the same retainers from invisalign, meaning should you require further pairs in the future no further impressions would be required and simply ordered from your last set of impressions sent.
If you are looking for a dentist that specialises in teeth straightening in your local area to help you achieve the perfect smile, look no further. Smileo has over 2,000 private dentists in the UK, all performing a range of teeth straightening treatments including metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, removable braces such as Invisalign as well as a range of other braces and aligners inlcuding 6 Month Smiles, Inman Aligners or Damon braces.
Smileo registered practitioners also specialise in other cosmetic dental treatments such as cosmetic bonding, dental implants, dental crowns and dental veneers, white fillings, teeth whitening or laser gum contouring. To find a dentist near you, simply enter your preferred location in the search bar below and refine your search results to find the dentist and treatment that best suits your needs.
With Smileo, it has never been easier to meet the face behind your smile.