Zurcher Orthodontics

A girl smiles to reveal straight teeth without braces.

4 Appliances that Straighten Teeth (Without Braces)

Many would consider a beautiful smile synonymous with straight teeth, but some are not prepared to wear braces for an extended period of time to achieve this goal. Luckily, fixed orthodontic braces are not the only option to achieve straight teeth.

There are a few dental problems that can be corrected without braces. If you have any of the following conditions, you should speak to your dentist about alternative orthodontic treatment methods.

Dental Conditions that can be Treated Without Braces

  • Limited Overcrowding
    Minor overcrowding that leaves your teeth slightly crooked could be treated using retainers
  • Malocclusion
    Appliances other than braces can be used to correct a bite that is out of alignment.
  • Underdeveloped Palate
    With the help of expanders, the palate can be widened to create the space needed for your teeth to move into their correct positions.

Dental Appliances that Straighten Teeth

Retainers

Fixed retainers are attached with dental cement to back of the teeth to prevent them from shifting over time, which helps correct bite and straighten teeth. It is a good long-term solution, but can not be removed by the patient for relief or repair.

Removable retainers allow the patient to work towards correcting their smile, with the option of removing the retainer for a special event or pain relief. The downside is that removable retainers are often lost and are expensive to replace.

Another type of removable retainer is the Hawley retainer. They are made from metal wires and acrylic, which is molded from a digital impression to the shape of the patient’s mouth. Hawley retainers can be made for the upper and lower arches of the mouth to brace and straighten teeth.

Herbst Appliance

The Herbst appliance straightens teeth by correcting jaw imperfections. It corrects bite by allowing the lower jaw to develop in a forward direction. This assists in making the upper and lower jaw meet, which results in straight, perfect teeth. The Herbst appliance consists of a metal extension that attaches to the molars to connect the upper and lower jaws. Patients would wear the appliance for a year, during which the orthodontist would gradually shift the lower jaw into the correct position.

Headgear

Protruding upper teeth in children can indicate an excessive overbite, which can be corrected with headgear. The appliance places pressure on the child’s upper teeth and jaw, moving the jaw and teeth into position simultaneously. Patients are required to wear the headgear for a specific number of hours daily. The main disadvantage is that these devices take a long time to yield results, and they are big and very noticeable.

Palatal Expanders

This appliance is able to widen the arch of the upper teeth if your child’s mouth is too small for all their future adult teeth. Expanding the arch creates space for the teeth to move naturally into their correct positions. The expander is attached to the upper molars using dental cement. The expanders are gradually tightened using a special key to turn a screw in its center, placing pressure on the two halves of the upper jaw. The gradual shift causes extra bone to grow between the two halves, resulting in the increased width of the upper arch. Expanders are almost invisible to the outside eye but adjustments can be uncomfortable for patients.

Whichever appliance becomes part of your orthodontic treatment, patients should be sure to maintain strict dental hygiene during treatment to ensure that their teeth remain healthy and strong.

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