For whatever reason, your teeth might not line up the way they should. As a result, you experience embarrassment every time you smile, problems with chewing (and thus digestion), jaw pain from a chronic bite misalignment, or all of the above. Fortunately, your dentist or orthodontist can offer a variety of options to straighten your smile—but which of those options makes the most sense for your situation? Here is a quick comparison of how some popular tooth-straightening strategies stack up.

Veneers, Bonding, and Crowns

Do you suffer a small but embarrassing gap or irregularity between two front teeth? If so, you may find a simple cosmetic procedure such as veneers or bonding more than sufficient to correct that blemish on your smile. Veneers don't actually straighten your teeth; these shell-like porcelain covers merely fill out the spaces or gaps to make them appear uniformly aligned. Veneers may cost up to $2,500 each, but they last for up to 15 years. Bonding, which involves filling in the gaps between teeth with sculpted resin, achieves the same effect as veneers for a fraction of the cost, but you may be replacing them after only 7 years.

Conventional Braces

Good old-fashioned braces can correct a wide range of malocclusion (tooth misalignment) issues. This combination of metal wires and individual tooth brackets can correct even the most challenging problems, from crooked teeth or overcrowded teeth to upper and lower teeth that don't line up for normal chewing.

If your smile needs serious straightening, this option may offer the best chance for success. Unfortunately, conventional braces can interfere with brushing and flossing; they may cause some discomfort, both during adjustments and from bits of metal poking your mouth. But at least your entire smile need not sparkle in the sun, since modern braces can employ clear or tooth-colored materials instead of ordinary metal.

"Invisible" Braces

If you want to straighten your teeth without calling attention to the process, "invisible" braces may be for you. Some people have lingual braces installed along the inside surfaces of their teeth. These braces can correct mild-to-moderate problems all but invisibly, but they can prove uncomfortable and be hard to adjust to.

Clear plastic aligners make an attractive option for those who don't need extreme alignment corrections. You'll receive multiple sets of these custom-fitted trays, with each set providing a subtle new degree of correction until you achieve the final result. The clear plastic is the next best thing to invisible. You can even take them out briefly to brush or floss, a big plus for your dental wellness.

Now that you have a clearer idea of your tooth-straightening options, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to discuss the best solution for your individual needs. Whichever method you choose, you should end up with results worth smiling about!

For more information, contact local professionals like those found at Reed & Sahlaney Orthodontics, LLP.