Getting it Straight: 5 Ways to Fix Your Crooked Teeth

If you've been dreaming of straight teeth all your life, the options for fixing crooked teeth have never been more flexible or affordable.

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Remember when some celebs had crooked teeth that weren’t evenly spaced, all the same size and blindingly white? There are still a few holdouts like Jewel and Madonna (whose gap comes and goes) but most people would rather have straight, perfect teeth. In a recent New York Magazine article, Dan P. Lee reports, “Over the past two decades, the number of North American teenagers in orthodontic treatment has nearly doubled, so that 80 percent are currently in an orthodontists care,” adding, “Adults now make up roughly a quarter of all orthodontics patients in the U.S. and Canada.”

Models sporting braces started showing up in fashion spreads and on runways this past spring. Upgrading your smile can turn back time and boost your confidence better than most plastic surgery and the options for fixing crooked teeth have never been more flexible or affordable. So if you’ve been dreaming of straight teeth all your life, check out these five methods:

1. Braces

teeth with braces
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Most people are familiar with traditional braces. They are metal or clear ceramic brackets cemented to the front of your teeth and connected with wires that are regularly adjusted. On average patients will need to wear braces for about two years. So why on earth would anyone opt for braces over Invisalign? If you don’t want to have to keep up with removing and cleaning the aligners after every meal and non-water beverage braces may be a better option. If you have a complicated dental situation or need to have teeth rotated, braces may be your only option.

2. Invisalign

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Invisalign straightens your teeth the same way traditional metal braces do but they’re much more comfortable and almost invisible. An orthodontist will work with you to come up with a treatment plan that usually lasts 6-18 months. You wear clear aligners, that are replaced every two weeks, over your teeth. You can eat and sleep in them but the best part is that you can take them out for brushing or a hot date. It is recommended that you wear the aligners for 20-22 hours a day to get the quickest results. Invisalign costs about the same as braces, about $3500-$5,000 and most dental insurance will cover part of the expense.

3. Spring Retainer

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Orthodontists often have their patients wear removable retainers after braces to keep teeth from shifting back to where they were originally (hence the name). If you just want to make minor corrections or only have one or two teeth that are out of alignment, you may be able to skip the braces and just use a spring retainer.

4. Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are exactly like traditional metal braces except that they are attached to the back of your teeth and are completely invisible to everyone else. The downside is that they’re more expensive than regular braces and can be more time consuming to adjust and clean.

5. Veneers

Girl smiling while checking teeth covers
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Porcelain veneers are the most expensive option (about $500-$1300 per tooth and insurance usually doesn’t cover them) but it only takes two or three visits to fix your crooked teeth and they last 5-10 years. The process involves removing a thin layer of your enamel and bonding the veneer to the front of your tooth. They’re placed individually so you can just have one or two teeth done if you can get a good color match. Veneers are also stain resistant and easy to care for so you’ll get a brighter smile too. Because some of your tooth is removed, they are considered permanent and you won’t be able to go back to your original teeth you can get new veneers put on.

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