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Teeth straightening

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Misaligned teeth can undermine your confidence, make you smile less and affect your personal and social life. Fortunately, there are many orthodontic teeth straightening solutions available that will leave you with beautifully straight teeth and confidence to smile more. Teeth straightening is almost exclusively carried out by private dentists and cost will vary depending on treatment and service provider.

Along with traditional metal braces, you can now find several forms of cosmetic, clear, non-visible or invisible braces. A dental consultation and conversation with your dentist will help you get a better idea of the treatment options for you. A written treatment plan with costs and an indication of treatment duration should always form the basis of making your decision to proceed with this form of treatment. Many adults as well as children now have orthodontic treatment, as the benefits will last the rest of their lives.

Below are some popular cosmetic braces that millions of patients worldwide have benefited from:

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Inman Aligner®

The biggest attraction of this method is that it produces very quick results, with teeth visibly straighter within six to 18 weeks.

The Inman Aligner® works using aligner bows that are positioned at the front and back of your teeth. A coil spring pushes the two bows together, using gentle pressure to guide your teeth into a straighter position. Although not invisible, the aligner is a removable brace that can be taken out when you're eating and drinking.


The main appeal of Invisalign® braces is they do not use any metal or wires. Instead, a completely clear brace, like a gum shield, is worn over the teeth, making them almost invisible.

A series of aligner braces are custom-made to fit over your teeth. Every two weeks, a new aligner brace will be worn to encourage your teeth into their projected final position. Most treatments will involve between 18-36 different aligners, but the actual duration of treatment will vary on the complexity of the teeth movement.

These braces are removable for eating or for brushing teeth but need to be worn at all times otherwise. Treatments typically take between nine and 18 months and can realign the whole arch of your teeth. Other invisible aligners are available; however, Invisalign® is the most popular globally.

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Lingual braces

Lingual braces, such as Incognito® braces, are very discreet. Brackets and wires are fitted to the inside of your teeth, out of view. They work in the same manner as regular fixed braces and they can be used to treat all sorts of problems, from crowding to unsightly gaps.

How long treatment lasts depends on your specific circumstances, but six to 24 months is fairly typical. Lingual braces can be used to treat the whole arch of your teeth but space requirements mean they may not be suitable for all.

Traditional braces

Traditional metal braces work by steadily applying pressure to your teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position. Essentially, they are the same as lingual braces but the brackets are facing outwards. Traditional braces are both effective and affordable methods of straightening teeth but the effect on appearance puts most people off this option.

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Six Month Smiles®

Six Month Smiles® braces take the form of either a fixed retainer bonded to your teeth or a removable retainer. While using a system of brackets and wires, these braces are less visible thanks to discreet brackets and teeth-coloured wires.

Six Month Smiles® braces claim a reduced time to improve crooked smiles by focusing only on the teeth that are visible when you smile. For this reason, this option is used as a cosmetic solution rather than one that will solve more complex orthodontic problems.

Damon braces®

These braces work effectively by reducing treatment time, something that has made braces a daunting prospect for many. They do not use the elastic ties that can make dental hygiene more difficult to maintain and, though the need for brackets and wires mean they are not as inconspicuous as other forms of braces, they are available with clear brackets, making them far less noticeable and cosmetically acceptable.

damon braces

damon braces

Will I need to have teeth removed?

Depending on the method of treatment you opt for and the complexity of the situation, this is a possibility; certain alignment treatments are only possible after some teeth have been taken out. The teeth are removed in most cases to create space to allow the remaining teeth to be straightened.

Does having a brace fitted hurt?

You may feel some initial tenderness but the fitting is a painless procedure. You may have trouble pronouncing certain sounds whilst you are getting used to your braces, but this will usually pass as you adjust over the first few days.

Will I need to avoid certain foods?

It is advisable not to eat foods that may damage your braces or cause you discomfort. You should also avoid sweets, juices and fizzy drinks, something that can be a common issue with dental hygiene for children. Your dentist will provide tailored advice based on which treatment option you undergo.

How long do I have to wear a brace each day?

If using an invisible aligner, it is important to only remove it for eating, drinking, and cleaning your teeth. If you wear your aligner for less than 20 hours per day, there is a chance that the treatment will not be as effective or fast.

How much does teeth straightening cost?

Teeth straightening is a cosmetic dental treatment, so it is not generally available through the NHS. The private cost involved varies from treatment to treatment. A removable aligner will cost around £1,200 for each jaw, and prices for traditional metal braces start from £2,000. Cosmetic options will begin at around £2,500. It is worth considering your investment carefully and choosing a dentist that you are happy with, as the treatment duration can last years. Also consider that many dentists offer finance options and payment plans to help with the cost of the treatment. Dental discount plans that often give an immediate discount for a course of treatment are also available, alongside traditional dental insurance.

Will I need a retainer?

Essentially, yes, you will need a retainer following your treatment. An orthodontic retainer is a device worn after active teeth straightening is complete. The device maintains the new position of the teeth and is either a permanent retainer (fixed to the teeth) or a removable retainer. This is true of almost all orthodontic treatment and is essential to avoid the risk of the teeth moving back to their original position.

This article was provided by Toothpick, the leading provider of online dentist appointments in the UK.

Article history

The information on this page is written and peer reviewed by qualified clinicians.

  • 26 Feb 2015 | Latest version

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