5 Ways to Get Straighter Teeth

Photo Credits: Model Used for Illustrative Purpose Only

Years ago, only metal braces were able to move teeth into alignment with a wire and brackets. Fast forward to 2017: these are the options you have to choose from. 

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Traditional braces

Best for: Those with serious misalignment and teeth that are badly rotated

Although it’s by far the most reliable option out there because there’s zero compliance on the patient’s part, Beverly Hills, CA, cosmetic dentist Kourosh Maddahi, DDS, says one reason many people avoid metal braces is because of how they look. “They’re aesthetically unpleasing with wires and brackets that no one wants.”

Price: Starting at about $5,500

Time to see results: 12 to 24 months

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Lingual braces

Best for: Those who don’t want any metal on the front of their teeth and aren’t a good fit for Invisalign

Lingual braces are nothing more than brackets (they can be metal or clear) and wires that are affixed to the back of the teeth so they can’t be seen. “They function just like braces that are worn on the front of the teeth, but no one except the patient generally knows they’re there,” says Chevy Chase, MD, cosmetic dentist Claudia Cotca, DDS.

Price: $8,000–$12,000

Time to see results: Six to 24 months

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Clear or invisible braces

Best for: Those who don’t want metal on their teeth but still require the function of traditional braces

Clear braces work the same as metal braces but have translucent ceramic brackets, which can be matched to the color of your teeth so they sort of blend in. Because they are clear, they need to be kept clean; otherwise, food and stains can be seen.

Price: $5,500–$7,200

Time to see results: 12 to 24 months

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Invisible aligners

Best for: Those with mild to moderate misalignment, gaps and bite issues who want a removable appliance

You may want to consider Invisalign, which is virtually invisible when worn (tooth colored “buttons” are attached to your teeth for added pressure) if only a few of your teeth have shifted or your teeth need to be moved up, down, left or right. The removable trays must be worn daily for 20 to 22 hours to see results.

Price: Starting at about $5,500

Time to see results: Six months or longer

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Best for: When you want to change the color, shape and straightness of your teeth

If you want to straighten your teeth, as well as improve their shape and color, then veneers are the best option. “In two weeks, you can have a perfect smile—other straightening methods don’t address color and shape like veneers,” says Dr. Maddahi. However, the teeth need to be shaved down (whatever is removed is permanent) and touch-ups may be needed over time.

Price: $1,500–$3,500

Time to see results: About two weeks

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