How You Can Straighten Teeth Without Braces

Medically Reviewed by a
Licensed DDS

Table of Contents

  1. How Braces Work
  2. Braces Needed
  3. Braces Alternative
  4. Discreet Alternative
  5. Easier Option
  6. byte Innovation
  7. Variety of Options
  8. References

You want straight teeth, but you don’t want the pain and expense of braces.

In order to align crooked teeth, consistent pressure must be applied to your teeth for an extended amount of time.

Historically, braces have been the way to do this. But recent advancements in dental technology have opened up many other options for straightening your teeth.

If you want to straighten your teeth without braces, you have a lot of options. You may be a good candidate for a retainer, expander, invisible aligners, or doctor-monitored, at-home aligners.

How Braces Work to Straighten Your Teeth

Many of us are after that perfect Hollywood smile, but it can be a long, painful, and expensive road to get there. Traditionally, braces have been the way to achieve a beautiful smile with straight teeth.

Fixed braces work by putting pressure on the teeth, which slowly shifts them in the right direction. The pressure also causes the bone in the jaw to adapt to the movement of the teeth and roots. Over time, your teeth shift into the proper location.

Typically, braces are made of metal, though they can also be made of ceramic or plastic. While they are meant to be as comfortable as possible, they can feel large in your mouth and cause soreness.

To be effective, braces usually need to be worn for two to three years, though some people only need them for one year.

Do I Have to Get Braces?

With modern advances in dental care, there are alternative ways to straighten your teeth other than wearing uncomfortable braces. Depending on your orthodontic problem, you might not need braces to achieve straighter teeth.

These problems can be corrected without traditional braces:

  • Limited overcrowding
  • A minor to moderate overbite or underbite
  • Underdeveloped palate

If your teeth are just slightly crooked due to overcrowding in the jaw, your bite is out of line, or your teeth need more space in order to be in the correct position, braces may not be your best bet. You may have a shorter and less expensive path to aligned teeth with other options.

Aligners are a desirable technological advancement, as they are minimally noticeable, more comfortable, and often provide quicker results than standard braces do.

Alternatives to Braces

If you would like to get straighter teeth without wearing traditional braces, alternatives include:

Appliances

Orthodontic appliances, such as headgear or the Herbst appliance, are used to straighten teeth issues that are caused by imperfections in the jaw. Appliances include metal extensions that attach to the teeth and provide pressure in order to move the teeth and jaw into alignment.

While appliances aren’t braces, they have some downsides that are similar to braces. They can be painful and costly. They take at least a year to be effective, and they are certainly very noticeable.

Fixed Retainers

Available in fixed or removable versions, retainers are far more discrete than braces or appliances. Fixed retainers are attached with dental cement to the back of the teeth in order to correct an individual’s bite and straighten their teeth over time.

Fixed retainers are effective and can’t be lost, but they also can’t be removed without a professional’s help.

Removable Retainers

Hawley retainers are a type of removable retainer that are made from wire after a dentist makes an acrylic dental impression of your mouth. Available for both the upper and lower arches of the mouth, Hawley retainers can brace and straighten teeth.

Removable retainers can be taken out when you need some pain relief or have a special occasion.

Palatal Expanders

Some children’s mouths are too small for their adult teeth to come in properly. A palatal expander widens the arch of the upper teeth so the teeth can naturally move into the correct positions.

Dental cement is used to attach the expander to the upper molars. Gradual pressure is applied via the expander to both sides of the jaw. As a result, new bone grows between the two halves of the jaw, making more room for teeth to fit properly.

Expanders generally go unseen, though discomfort can be expected with each adjustment.

Aligners as a Discreet Alternative to Braces

Aligners work under the same principle as braces — they move teeth a little bit at a time.

Options like Invisalign involve trips to your dentist or orthodontist. After taking x-rays, photographs, impressions, or digital scans of your teeth, an orthodontist uses aligner software to design your treatment process, explains the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO). After identifying your ultimate goals for their teeth, a series of plastic aligners is created.

The aligners must be worn in progressive order for a given amount of time, as gentle pressure gradually repositions your teeth. Typically, aligners are worn for 22 hours a day, and each set is to be worn for one to two weeks.

Similar to with braces, retainers usually need to be worn after aligner treatment is finished in order to keep teeth in their new positions.

An Easier Option

Doctor-monitored, at-home aligners are one of the more recent developments in teeth straightening. They offer an easy and affordable path to a straighter smile. For mild to moderate tooth movement needs, at-home invisible aligners may be an option for you.

The first step for getting your own aligners is to complete an at-home impression kit. The kit is evaluated by a licensed dental professional who creates a treatment plan for you. The aligners are then delivered to you at home. Costly and time-consuming in-office scans and checkups are not required.

Like traditional aligners, at-home aligners gradually move your teeth into the correct positions. When you finish with one set of aligners, you will move on to the next until you have achieved your treatment goal. These invisible aligners typically take six months to a year to achieve the desired results in comparison to in-office treatment that can take up to two years.

How byte Is Different

At byte, we build on the innovation of doctor-monitored, at-home aligners to offer people straight teeth in the shortest amount of time. With byte, the average treatment time is just three months.

Through the use of HyperByte, an FDA-approved technology, high-frequency vibrations (HFV) are transmitted through the roots of the teeth and into the surrounding bone. HyperByte is used for just 5 minutes per day. The soft vibrations help to reduce discomfort, increase aligner traction, achieve more accurate teeth movement, and provide much faster treatment times than any other way to straighten your teeth.

More Options to Straighten Your Teeth Than Ever Before

Despite updates in how braces are applied and used, they are not a fix-all for every tooth and mouth problem related to achieving straighter teeth. Some orthodontic problems may still warrant braces, but mild to moderate misalignment issues can be corrected without them. You no longer need to assume pain and high costs for one to three years in order to get a straight smile.

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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