Fix crooked teeth fast (without braces).

Medically Reviewed by a
Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. Straighter Teeth Options
  2. Quickest Solutions
  3. Weigh the Pros & Cons
  4. Which Option Is Right for You?
  5. References

When your teeth don't fit together properly, even simple things like chewing or smiling can be a chore. The sooner you can improve your smile, the better.

In the past, there was just one way to fix crooked teeth. You'd walk into an orthodontist's office, and you'd walk out with metal brackets and wires on your teeth.

Now, you have plenty of options, including some that don't involve braces at all. Aligners give you the opportunity to save time while making your smile as radiant as it can be.

Read on to find out how both braces and aligners work, and learn more about how you can choose the solution that's right for you and your mouth.

Two paths to straighter teeth.

Your teeth may feel firmly rooted in your mouth. But put pressure on those teeth, and they will move. You can do that with braces and aligners.

Braces come in many styles, experts say, including:

  • Metal. Stainless steel brackets are attached to the front of your teeth and connected by wires and bands.
  • Ceramic. Brackets are white, just like your teeth, and they are connected through wires and bands.
  • Lingual. Brackets are glued to the back, not the front, of your teeth.

The wires are key to the success of braces. With each adjustment appointment, the shape and size of that wire changes, and it works like a tug on all of your teeth.

Aligners look like clear skins for your teeth. They slide right over your teeth, and they hold tight to the surface. Almost every inch of your teeth is wrapped in this cover, and the pressure comes from all sides. Every few weeks, you'll swap out trays for a new set with a slightly different tooth position. Over time, your teeth will gradually move into the desired placement.

What’s the fastest way to straighten teeth?

Experts say most people wear braces for one to three years. Dentists say some forms of aligners are worn for 12 to 18 months. Some doctor-monitored at-home aligners work even faster.

If you're searching for the fastest way to straighten teeth, aligners are the clear winners.

Aligners are so fast due to their design. The trays enclose your teeth completely, and the force comes from all sides. That consistent, wraparound pressure prompts teeth to adjust their position.

Some aligner companies also use proprietary technology that makes faster movement possible. Vibrating tools, for example, are thought to stimulate the cells responsible for tooth movement. Stimulating these cells allows the teeth to safely straighten faster.

Braces, on the other hand, apply pressure at just one point. Your teeth are pulled by pressure on the bracket, and that is attached at either the front or the back of your teeth. Orthodontists can use rubber bands to help speed up the process, but the pressure still comes from brackets and wires attached to just one spot.

It's a bit like adjusting the shape of a growing tree. You could apply a brace that wraps all the way around the tree, and the pressure coming from all sides could help the bark grow straight and tall. Or, you could apply a rope to just one part of the tree, and tether that rope to the ground. The tree will adjust position, but it might take longer for you to spot the change.

Aligners put pressure on almost every inch of your teeth, and that means they can shape your smile much faster than braces, and some aligners can save you money too.

Weigh the pros and cons.

When you've been approved for aligners, you have a decision to make. Examining the benefits and drawbacks of each solution can help you do what's right for your smile.

Braces and aligners differ according to:

Cost
On average, braces cost between $5,000 and $7,000, says Harvard Medical School. Some aligners come with a similar price tag. But direct-to-consumer aligners like Byte cost as little as $1,895. That's a significant savings.
Appearance
Braces stay on your teeth throughout your treatment, and most brackets and wires are easy to spot. Aligners should also stay on your teeth almost all the time, but you can take them out for a critical appointment or conversation.
Comfort
Dentists say braces can rub up against the tongue and gums, and that metal-to-tissue contact can be painful. Aligners don't cause this sort of discomfort.
Appointments
If you wear braces, you'll need to visit your orthodontist every 3 to 10 weeks, experts say. Some forms of aligners also require multiple office visits. But doctor-monitored at-home aligners come with no appointments at all, so you can straighten your smile without upsetting your schedule. Your aligners are mailed directly to your home.

Which option is right for you?

Aligners offer the quickest way to straighten your teeth. Pick the right product, and you might also save money and have a more comfortable experience as your teeth move.

Take your time and investigate your options. Your smile is important. And this is a big decision you shouldn't take lightly.

Clearly, aligners offer benefits braces can't touch. If you haven't considered them, it's time to do so.

If aligners don’t work for your particular case, due to the severity or complexity of your teeth placement issues, rest assured that you have alternatives available. Traditional braces might be the best choice for you. While they may take longer and could potentially cost more, you’ll be able to achieve the smile you want.

Start by getting an assessment from a direct-to-consumer aligner company. You’ll likely be asked to take some impressions of your teeth at home. A doctor will then assess whether aligners are a good choice to correct your issues. If you have relatively minor to moderate issues (like overcrowding, rotated teeth, and spacing problems), it’ll likely that aligners can work for you.

References.

Can Adults Wear Braces? Delta Dental.

Getting Braces: What to Expect Before, During, and After Process. (April 2019). Authority Dental.

PDA Presents the Facts on Braces. Pennsylvania Dental Association.

Are You Too Old for Braces? Harvard Medical School.

How Do Clear Aligners Work? Nasser Children and Adult Orthodontics.

Why Is Invisalign Faster Than Braces? (August 2018). Miramar Beach Dental and Orthodontics.

Orthodontic Treatment With Clear Aligners. (June 2018). American Association of Orthodontists.

What You Should Know About Tooth-Straightening Aligners. (April 2017). NY Daily News.

What Do Invisalign Braces Costs? Are They Worth It? Colgate.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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