How to Fix Crooked Teeth

Five Methods:Visiting an OrthodontistUsing a RetainerUsing Porcelain VeneersFixing Teeth with BracesPreventing Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth can be embarrassing, but they can also be a problem. For instance, they can make it difficult to chew properly, and they can lead to injury because they do not provide proper support for your jaw.[1] Getting crooked teeth fixed can be costly, but you do have several options available to you.

Method 1
Visiting an Orthodontist

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    Go to the orthodontist. The orthodontist will be able to assess what problems you have and suggest what courses are available to you.
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    Ask about all your options. You may need a cheaper option, or maybe you want braces that nobody can see. Let your orthodontist know what you want.
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    Ask if braces are necessary. Your orthodontist can assess if your teeth are causing your problems or could in the future.
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    Assess your options. If braces are not necessary for you, you may decide you don't need them, especially because they are so expensive.

Method 2
Using a Retainer

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    Use retainers for minor problems. Retainers can be used to fix problems like minor tooth gaps or a single crooked tooth. They're less expensive than other options, especially since you generally must wear a retainer after having braces removed anyway.[2]
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    Have your orthodontist fit a retainer for you. Your retainer is designed specifically for you because it has to accommodate your particular problem.[3]
    • During the process, the orthodontist will make a mold of your mouth with a thick substance called alginate. He or she will use the mold to make your retainer.[4]
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    Adjust to the retainer. It may take you a couple of days to get used to the retainer, so don't be alarmed. It can affect your speech and cause you to produce more saliva.[5] Try reading aloud to yourself to become accustomed to talking with the retainer.[6]
    • If you experience moderate to severe pain or the retainer is cutting into your gums, contact your orthodontist.[7]
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    Take out your retainer while eating and brushing your teeth, as it makes both processes easier. You should also take it out if you play contact sports, as it can cause injury.[8]
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    Keep it in its box. Make sure to protect your retainer by keeping it in its box when not in use.[9]
    • It also needs to be kept moist when not in your mouth so it doesn't crack. Your dentist should tell you how to soak it.[10]
    • Avoid keeping it near a heat source, as that can also crack it.[11]
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    Clean your retainer daily. Your retainer should come with instructions on how to clean it, but you can usually use mouthwash or denture cleaner to remove any build-up on it.[12]
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    Don't stop wearing your retainer. Wear your retainer as long as your dentist recommends. You may need to wear it for years, depending on your teeth.[13]

Method 3
Using Porcelain Veneers

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    Use porcelain veneers to correct minor problems. Veneers essentially cover up problems with a porcelain or resin shell, rather than correcting them.[14]
    • Veneers are stain-resistant (if porcelain) and look much like natural teeth.[15]
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    Ask your orthodontist if veneers are right for you. They are a simpler option than braces or retainers because the orthodontist will put them on you and leave them. You don't need to have them removed. They can also cover stains, chips, and gaps.[16]
    • Veneers are permanent and can't be repaired. They're also more expensive than getting a crown.[17]
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    Have your orthodontist put in veneers for you. He or she will remove part of your enamel first, in essence to make room for the veneer. The dentist will already have created the veneer. He or she will examine how the veneer looks in place and then bond it to the tooth.[18]
    • You will likely have a follow-up visit to check on placement, but if you notice a problem, such as cracking or misalignment, contact your dentist.[19]
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    Brush your teeth like normal. Veneers don't need special attention, but you do need to floss and brush as you normally would.[20]
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    Protect against grinding. Porcelain veneers can be broken, so if you grind your teeth, you may need to wear a guard at night.[21]
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    Replace in 5 to 10 years. Veneers do not last forever, and you will need to replace them within a decade.[22]

Method 4
Fixing Teeth with Braces

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    Use braces to correct major problems. Braces can correct crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and crossbites, for example.[23]
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    Discuss your options with your orthodontist. He or she can let you know what the best type of braces are for your particular problem.
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    Choose the braces you want. You have the options of visible, invisible, and nearly invisible braces.[24]
    • Visible braces are the type of braces you probably think of when someone says "braces." These braces are brackets attached to the front of teeth and connected by metal wires. The brackets can be metal, plastic, or ceramic, and these braces are often cheaper than other types of braces. Visible braces are best for severe problems.[25]
    • Nearly invisible braces are plastic trays that fit over your teeth. The main brand of this type of brace is Invisalign. Like retainers, you can take out these braces to eat, and they are are also not as painful as other braces. However, they don't work as well on severe problems, and you must wear them for at least 22 hours a day. These braces may be slightly more expensive than traditional braces.[26]
    • Invisible braces attach behind the teeth, much as visible braces attach to the front of teeth. Each bracket is customized to your teeth, so it works faster. However, it can be difficult to adjust to these braces, such as making it harder to speak. Also, these can be more expensive.[27]
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    Have your orthodontist put in your choice. Remember, most orthodontists do provide financing, so if you cannot afford to pay for the procedure all at once, you can make payments. Alternatively, you may want to get dental insurance, which can cover part of the procedure, though usually not all of it. [28]
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    Brush your teeth and braces. If you have elastics, take them out before brushing. With traditional braces, you need to brush both your teeth and the braces themselves to remove plaque and food. Once clean, put the elastics back on.[29]
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    Avoid certain foods. Especially with traditional bracket braces, you need to avoid foods, such as hard foods (nuts, hard candies, etc.) and sticky foods (caramel, gum, etc.). You also need to cut up hard fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces.These foods can harm or break your braces.[30] You should also avoid crunchy foods, such as chips, and acidic foods, such as sodas or vinegars.[31]
    • Since you can take invisible braces out to eat, these foods aren't as much of a problem, though acids on your teeth can still affect them.
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    Visit the orthodontist on a regular schedule. The orthodontist will adjust the braces as you go and be on the lookout for any problems.
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    Have them removed. How long your braces are on depends on the severity of the problem. You'll be fitted for a retainer after having your braces removed.
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    Wear your retainer. After your braces are removed, you must wear a retainer to help keep your teeth in line.[32]
    • The advice in the past was you needed to wear a retainer for a year after having braces, but now the advice is you may need to wear a retainer for much longer, though you may only wear it at night.[33]

Method 5
Preventing Crooked Teeth

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    Brush regularly. Gingivitis can lead to crooked teeth, which is generally caused by not taking proper care of your teeth.[34] You should brush at least twice a day.[35]
    • Often crooked teeth are caused by genetic problems and cannot be prevented.
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    Floss once a day. Flossing also helps prevent gingivitis.[36]
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    Visit the dentist regularly. Not only does visiting the dentist help prevent gingivitis, he or she will recognize if you have problems that could lead to crooked teeth.[37]
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    Limit thumb-sucking in kids. Thumb-sucking can lead to crooked teeth over time.[38]
    • Also limit the use of pacifiers and bottles after age three.[39]

Tips

  • Many adults chose invisible or nearly invisible braces to make them less noticeable.
  • When you pick a type of braces, don't just go for invisible braces. Pick what suits your needs.

Warnings

  • Do not take your retainer off for long periods of time; you might need braces again from shifting.

Sources and Citations

  1. http://www.docshop.com/education/dental/problems-solutions/crooked-teeth
  2. http://kidshealth.org/kid/feel_better/things/retainers.html
  3. http://www.ndcs.com.sg/ForPatientsAndVisitors/ConditionsAndTreatments/Glossary/Pages/Orthodontics-AfterBracesAlwaysRetainers.aspx


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Article Info

Categories: Teeth and Mouth