Many times only some teeth will be misaligned, and malocclusions will plague only parts of the bite. Many people feel that wearing ineffective braces for half a year or longer just to realign two or three teeth that don’t jut out so bad and are easy to clean to be overkill, especially once they see the price orthodontists are asking. If these minor malocclusions are located on the front few teeth, there are several cheaper and less invasive methods available for your problems. Here are some alternatives for front teeth only orthodontics!
Inman aligners are a very special breed of functional orthodontic appliance. Different form braces but working on a very similar principle, they are basically a simplified version of braces suitable for correcting the alignment of front teeth only. They consist of a wire that is bent to loop around your front teeth, exerting pressure on them from two directions; pushing them from behind and pulling them whilst pushing them back from the front. This loop ends in plastic molds on both ends that go on your molars. These are basically the ligatures, and they hook around on your canines, exerting pressure only on the front teeth. Inman aligners correct minor front tooth malocclusions in 6-18 weeks, on average. They usually cost somewhere around a third if not a fifth of what braces cost. The Inman aligner is removable, but needs to be worn at least 16 hours a day, and you do need to sleep with it in (functional appliances are most effective in your sleep). Inman aligners can correct a wide range of orthodontic malocclusions, from crowding to spacing to rotations and even crossbites of the front teeth.
If you have slight protrusion, an overbite or a mild underbite, it may be possible for you to get a retainer, and you will get to forego any and all orthodontic treatment involving braces. If you had braces before and have found that your teeth have partially or completely shifted back to their original position, often times you will have to wear only a retainer to get the teeth back in place. This is because the alveolar bone is soft enough to have a “memory”, meaning that previous treatment leaves imprints on the bone, so repeating the orthodontic treatment is easier the second time around. Retainers can fix protrusions and sometimes even crowding, and can often fix crossbites and spacing issues, but rotations are beyond their scope.
If you are thinking of only touching up your front teeth, you may want to look into getting veneers. If your teeth do not really need orthodontic treatment, and the alignment is small enough that a veneer can cover it well, it may be an option to consider. With veneers, it is important that you ask your dentist where and how they will be placed, and see if you will be able to clean your teeth properly. Also, it is important that you are aware of the fact that veneers only correct aesthetic problems, they do not provide any orthodontic benefit at all. If your problem is orthodontic in nature, getting veneers will only mask the problem, not deal with it, which may lead to problems in the future.