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Home / Blog / Braces / Braces For Crooked Teeth

Braces For Crooked Teeth

Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  / Mar 22, 2024  
Medically reviewed by Dr Minoo Ghamari  
Mar 22, 2024  
Braces For Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are often the number one reason why patients want to undergo braces treatment. Braces are known for straightening teeth to their optimal position, which can help keep them healthier for longer while improving things like bite problems, speech, and comfort levels.

Since most cases of adult braces contain some degree of crooked teeth, there's plenty of information out there to help you decide whether braces are the right decision for you. We've detailed everything you need to know about using braces to fix crooked adult teethbelow, so keep reading!

What causes crooked teeth?

There are a number of factors that might cause your teeth to become crooked. Studies suggest that the causes can be both environmental and hereditary, as some people have crooked teeth through a lack of jaw development or genetics, while others might have crooked teeth due to thumb sucking and prolonged pacifier use.

Other causes for crooked teeth might include:

  • Overcrowding of the jaw

  • Hereditary factors

  • Certain malocclusions, such as an open bite

  • Injuries to the jaw

  • Lack of jaw development

  • Habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting

What type of braces are available to you?

Traditional braces

Traditional metal braces include metal brackets that are bonded onto your teeth with glue, wire, and elastic bands that are otherwise called power chains. The chains put constant pressure on your teeth and gums to pull them gently into their ideal positioning. Traditional metal braces are offered to most children, but some adults also choose to have this orthodontic treatment to straighten crooked teeth.

There's also the option to choose self-ligating braces which don't involve power chains and elastic bands. These keep the wire attached to the brackets without the use of elastics, which some adults prefer as they don't have to worry about colourful bands covering their smiles.

Lingual braces

Another alternative to metal braces is lingual braces, which are attached to the back of your teeth instead of the front. Some adults prefer lingual braces because they are less noticeable when they're smiling or talking, which they think is more professional for work-based environments.

Lingual braces are a great effective choice to correct crooked teeth, but bear in mind that they might take longer to achieve your desired results as there's less pressure on the braces to move the teeth, so results might be slower.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are an aesthetic alternative to traditional metal braces, as they're coloured similarly to teeth rather than silver metal. The bands and wires are also coloured similarly to teeth, so many think ceramic braces are less obvious to spot when talking and smiling. This might be a confidence booster for adults needing to wear braces too, so it's a viable option to consider.

One downside of ceramic braces is that they tend to be more fragile than metal braces, so you might find yourself needing more check-ups and appointments with your orthodontist to fix them. Waiting for these appointments might also make your treatment take longer.

Invisalign aligners

A relatively new innovation in the braces industry, Invisalign is a popular brace alternative that's been effective in fixing crooked teeth. Invisible braces are made of trays that have been moulded to your teeth with the aim of moving the teeth 0.2mm every two weeks. This type of brace is often reserved for less severe crooked teeth as they might not have the power to fix severe cases.

Some patients choose to use traditional metal braces for less time than recommended, just to get their teeth in the right position for Invisalign. This is a good option if you want to benefit from the strength and efficiency of metal braces, but the modesty of Invisalign for the tail end of your treatment.

Can braces fix all crooked teeth?

Braces can fix almost all crooked teeth, as this is the most common type of malocclusion that braces can fix. However, every case is different and there may be some rare cases in which crooked teeth can't be fixed through braces alone.

Examples might be if you need surgery to fix a misaligned jaw before braces can be applied. However, in most cases, you can qualify for braces after the issue is fixed. Talking to your orthodontist will be the best way to determine if braces will effectively fix your crooked teeth.

It's worth noting that more adults qualify for traditional braces than Invisalign when the severity of their crooked teeth is higher.

How to treat crooked teeth with braces?

Traditional braces for crooked teeth

Treating crooked teeth with traditional braces is often the easiest and most effective method of fixing issues like overcrowding and gaps. Your orthodontist will bond the metal brackets onto your teeth and connect the wire with tiny elastic power bands. These elastics will put gentle pressure on your teeth to move them where they should sit. Your orthodontist will need to readjust the braces every four to eight weeks to make sure they're still manipulating your teeth to the right places.

When using traditional braces, your orthodontist can also fix other issues such as misalignment, open bites, underbites, and more. This might be a benefit for people who need more than one malocclusion fixed and want to make the most out of their investment.

Invisalign for crooked teeth

Some people would prefer to use Invisalign for the benefit of not seeing the braces as obviously when they smile or talk. Other people find that their dentist or orthodontist actually recommends Invisalign for crooked teeth. Reasons for this might be due to minor crooked teeth or severely misaligned teeth that make attaching brackets difficult to the teeth.

Invisalign aims to move teeth 0.2mm every two weeks, with the invisible trays being swapped out every fortnight. Your orthodontist will oversee treatment to make sure your teeth are progressing enough to stick to this tight schedule.

Aesthetic brace alternatives for crooked teeth

Aesthetic braces, such as lingual braces and ceramic braces, could be a viable option for people who don't want their braces to be seen obviously, but who want to benefit from the effectiveness of bonded braces.

Lingual braces are bonded to the back of your teeth to straighten crooked teeth in the same way as traditional braces. They might be the better option for severely crooked teeth that might not have the space to bond brackets onto their fronts.

Ceramic brackets are as effective as traditional braces and are a good option for those still looking for a lower-budget option, while benefiting from the aesthetic benefit of the tooth coloured materials.

How long does it take to treat crooked teeth with braces?

The time it takes for braces to fix your teeth depends on the severity of your crooked teeth. Patients who only have one crooked tooth and minimal movement might only take six months to fix with traditional braces, while multiple crooked teeth might need around two years to fix.

Ceramic braces and lingual braces might take a little longer than traditional braces due to their positioning and materials. However, they might also take the same amount of time as traditional braces - it all depends on your unique situation.

Invisalign claims treatment can be finished within 12 and 18 months, with results visible in just a few weeks of starting treatment. Invisible braces tend to take a slightly shorter time to fix crooked teeth, but the severity of the job will determine how long it'll take.

Are braces the right fix for you?

Most people who have crooked teeth think that their braces are the best fix for them. Braces can fix the majority of crooked teeth within two years, so hopefully they should be the right fix for you. The only potential issue is if you need a different type of treatment to fix the cause of your crooked teeth, such as surgery.

Talking to your dentist will give you a more accurate answer as to whether braces are the best option for you.

What other issues can braces fix?

While crooked teeth are one of the most common issues braces fix, they're also excellent for a number of different issues regarding your teeth, including:

  • Crowded teeth

  • Misaligned jaw

  • Underbite

  • Open bite

  • Crossbite

  • Low confidence

  • Protruding teeth

  • Gaps

Final thoughts

Braces are an effective treatment plan for most people with crooked teeth, and you have a choice between traditional, aesthetic, and invisible braces. Your orthodontic treatment will depend on the severity of your crooked teeth, so make sure to talk to a professional before coming to a conclusion on which treatment you want.

There is the potential that braces might not be able to fix your crooked teeth without prior treatment, such as surgery or teeth removal. Again, your orthodontist will talk you through all your options for straightening your teeth. This will usually take between six months and two years, but more severe cases might take longer. Good luck!

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