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Teeth straightening

Orthodontists carry out teeth straightening procedures for children, teenagers and adults with misaligned teeth and incorrect bites. Teeth straightening is a very common procedure for children and teens and is now very common in adults due to the varied brace types available. You are in safe hands at Kingston Orthodontics with the specialist skills of your orthodontist and the vast array of advanced orthodontic treatment techniques available.

What are the benefits of straight teeth?

Teeth straightening significantly improves the aesthetics of the teeth, so many people believe it is only for cosmetic reasons. However, people undergo teeth straightening for medical reasons.

Different problems can arise from having crooked teeth, but these issues result from the severity of the malocclusion.

  • Eating problems
  • Speaking difficulty
  • Risk of other teeth getting damaged
  • Muscle and jaw joint strain
  • Difficulty maintaining good dental hygiene

Difficulty maintaining good oral hygiene also affects people with mild teeth misalignment because if the teeth are crooked, their cleaning becomes a difficult task. When you don’t clean your teeth properly, plaque forms, causing tooth decay. Good dental hygiene can minimise your risk of plaque.

The aesthetic impact of teeth straightening is also important for many people. If you do not have naturally even or aligned teeth, you can straighten your teeth so you no longer feel self-conscious about your smile.  

People with different bite misalignment straighten their teeth for medical and/or aesthetic reasons. Consult your orthodontist to determine the cause of your crowded teeth and possible treatment options.

How to realign teeth

Most people only think of traditional metal fixed braces for teeth straightening. However, your orthodontist will discuss all the suitable braces that can be used in your case to gradually move your teeth.

Your options for teeth straightening include the following:

  • Fixed metal braces
  • Fixed Iconix (champagne coloured) braces
  • Fixed ceramic braces (clear or tooth coloured)
  • Fixed lingual braces
  • Removable Invisalign clear aligner braces
  • Retainers
  • At-home teeth straightening kits

Is teeth straightening possible at any age?

The best time to straighten the teeth is during childhood or teenage years. During this period, the teeth and jawbones are still developing, which makes adjustments easier. Routine orthodontic check-ups for children are important and your orthodontist can then advise you of the best time to start treatment with braces.

However, even in adulthood, treatment is still very effective. Ageing can change the position of the teeth. If you previously had straight teeth, as you grow older, your teeth may gradually become crooked, which may concern you.

Regardless of age, if your teeth concern you, different options are available to enhance your smile. The first step is visiting your orthodontist for an orthodontic evaluation.

Types of braces for teeth straightening

Different braces are available to correct bite problems in adults, teens and children. Some severe cases may need surgery, like a severe open bite, overbite, crossbite or underbite, but orthodontic work is also necessary.

Brace types include:

Metal braces

Metal braces are the only option available in the National Health Service and are the most affordable teeth straightening device.

The orthodontist will bond metal brackets to the teeth and pass a wire through the brackets to move the teeth into alignment. The orthodontist will secure the wire in place with elastic bands. You can have the bands customised if you would like colourful braces. Depending on your treatment plan, you will visit the orthodontist every 6-8 weeks for adjustments.

Self-ligating metal braces are also available. They do not need elastics and are therefore low in friction allowing the wires to automatically adjust themselves more easily. This can avoid the need for extractions in carefully selected cases and also allows for less frequent visits to the orthodontist for brace adjustments.

Iconix braces

 Iconix braces are a champagne coloured brace that provide an elegant and discreet alternative to metal braces. They are made of stainless steel with a light gold aesthetic coating, in addition the brackets are small and low profile which makes them more comfortable than other options.

Clear braces

Clear braces allow people needing more discreet braces to realign their teeth. They work like metal braces but are made of tooth coloured ceramic. They are therefore lmore subtle and ess noticeable than metal braces. Self-ligating ceramic braces are also available with the same benefits at metal self-ligating braces.

Lingual braces  

Lingual braces are a less visible teeth straightening option. They are fitted at the back of the teeth, where the tongue lies. They are also known as hidden braces. They are only visible when patients open their mouths wide. Lingual braces are the most expensive type of braces, especially customised brands.

If you are concerned about the aesthetic appearance of fixed braces then lingual braces may be an ideal option for you if your orthodontist suggests that it is appropriate for your crowding and bite.

Removable Invisalign clear braces

Clear aligners are many people’s preferred choice, especially adults who do not want fixed teeth straightening treatment. Children who need to straighten their teeth may also do so with Invisalign aligners depending on their orthodontic treatment needs.

Invisalign a series of removable aligners that gradually and incrementally realign the teeth by exerting a gentle and continuous force. The patient will switch aligners after 1-2 weeks and attend appointments every 8-10 weeks to assess their progress.

Invisalign braces can correct mild to moderate tooth problems. They are a good option for fast and effective treatment, especially for your front teeth. Invisalign can correct 90% of orthodontic cases. As Invisalign providers we will assess your suitability for Invisalign treatment. You can check the Invisalign website for a free smile evaluation; this takes only about two minutes to complete.

Teeth realignment with retainers

Retainers are used to maintain teeth and bite alignment after orthodontic treatment, but they can be used for very minor teeth realignment although they are not as effective as braces.  

If you need an inexpensive method to straighten your very minor teeth alignment problem, especially if you have previously used braces, a retainer may be an option. The orthodontist can make very small changes to the retainers but they have limited efficacy.

Can veneers treat misshapen teeth?

Veneers can make your teeth look straight even when you haven’t altered their position. The procedure requires tooth drilling, and the extent of tooth reduction depends on the number of teeth affected.

This treatment is a cosmetic option as the underlying teeth remain misshapen, while the visible parts look aligned. Veneers are an option for only mild cases and diastemas (gaps between teeth).

Veneers aren’t a permanent fix; they need replacement over the  years. Since the procedure removes part of the enamel, it causes irreparable damage to the teeth.

Veneers may cost less than braces, but treatment costs depend on the number of teeth that need correction. This technique is fast and often needs only two appointments with your general dentist.  

Teeth realignment with retainers

Retainers are used to maintain teeth and bite alignment after orthodontic treatment, but they can be used for very minor teeth realignment although they are not as effective as braces.

If you need an inexpensive method to straighten your very minor teeth alignment problem, especially if you have previously used braces, a retainer may be an option. The orthodontist can make very small changes to the retainers but they have limited efficacy.

Contouring and bonding

Contouring and bonding is an easy and more convenient procedure for cosmetic dental work. The dentist will file down the rough and extended edges of the teeth and build up other areas with composite materials.  This procedure only makes the teeth look straight, like veneers, it does not realign the teeth.

At-home teeth correction

If you don’t want to visit an orthodontist but need to straighten your teeth, some home kits are available.

Kits for teeth straightening.

Recently, some dental companies such as Smile Direct Club, started making teeth straightening kits for use at home. Over time, these brands have become popular as the treatment is less expensive. This is because a dental and orthodontic clinical assessment is not carried out. Everything is done via post and online. The kits have instructions on taking your own teeth impressions at home, or you can visit a local dental clinic to take your teeth impression, but some brands do not have this option. The company designs your clear aligners with the impressions you took and delivers them to you via post.

At-home teeth straightening kits can correct mild cases but have some risks. A major downside is that you aren’t consulting a qualified and experienced dental professional to treat your malocclusion who would also assess whether you are dentally fit for orthodontic treatment. While it may seem right to send you impressions, pictures or have a video call, it isn’t the same as a physical in person consultation and assessment to discuss and assess your case and get expert recommendations. Despite these limitations, many people have successfully used home straightening kits.

Mewing – a natural teeth straightening method

This is a natural teeth straightening approach done at home based on orthotropic treatment. Mewing is consciously pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth until you get used to that resting position with the aim of broadening the palate to accommodate the developing teeth without the need for dental extractions. Sufficient evidence isn’t available to show that mewing can straighten teeth naturally, so it isn’t recommended.

Generally, it is best to consult your orthodontist for the best advice on teeth straightening options.

How much is teeth-straightening in the UK?

The table below summarises the teeth straightening options above, including their approximate cost.

Type of braces Cost Pros Cons
Metal braces £1500 - £3000 The cheapest braces also available within the NHS High level of visiblity
Iconix braces £2000 - £5500 More subtle than metal braces More expensive than metal braces
Ceramic braces £2000 - £5500 Not easily visible due to tooth coloured ceramic More expensive than metal braces
Invisible braces £1500 - £5500 Easily removable and almost invisible Patients must be committed to treatment and may not correct severe bite issues.
Lingual braces £4000 - £10000 Fitted behind the teeth, making it the least noticeable fixed brace option Likely to cause tongue ulcers and lisp initially
Most expensive fixed brace option
Retainers £110 - £300 per appliance Affordable Only suitable for extremely minor cases
Porcelain veneers £945 – £1900 per tooth Fast treatment Temporary solution and damages the enamel
Composite bonding £290 - £390 per tooth Less expensive and fast Temporary solution and can damage the enamel
At-home kits £1000 - £1800 Cheap and can be convenient No dental or orthodontic assessment
No clinical management

The cost of teeth straightening differs depending on the orthodontic brace type chosen.

Are there cheap teeth straightening methods?

Essentially, teeth straightening requires specialist care with a carefully tailored treatment plan and careful management. At-home teeth straightening may seem to be the most affordable option for very minor tooth crowding however you must consider the potential consequences of unsupervised orthodontic treatment.  

You can check to see what is included in the treatment quote that you’ve been. Some dental professionals include permanent bonded retainers as well as removable retainers as part of their treatment cost, so although the cost may seem higher, it may include more than less expensive quotes.

Consider your dental finance options when looking for ways to lower the cost of your treatment such as third party finance options providing a 0% interest rate. Also, consult your insurance provider to establish if they cover orthodontic treatment.

Is teeth straightening available in the NHS?

The NHS only offers free teeth straightening to children under the age of 18 with a medical treatment need for orthodontics. The treatment can only be provided with metal braces and retainers and any necessary surgical procedure.

Youe dentist can confirm a child’s eligibility for NHS orthodontic treatment and then refer your child to an appropriate NHS orthodontic provider.

Teeth straightening for adults is not available within the NHS. All adult orthodontics is therefore provided privately. Choosing the right teeth straightening option is important to achieve your desired result. Our experienced orthodontists at Kingston Orthodontics will guide you in choosing the most suitable option to straighten your teeth.

Contact us at [email protected] or 0203 002 2501 to book an appointment or for more information on our teeth straightening treatments.

Frequently asked questions

Many people ask this question, and it is natural to want to know the duration of your teeth straightening treatment. However, there is no definite answer. On average, treatment with braces takes 12 – 18 months, but your orthodontist can give a more definite treatment timeline.

Orthodontic treatment for very mild cases can take as little as 3 – 6 months. If you have a severe misalignment or require multiple extractions then treatment can take 2-3 years.

The type of braces you use can also determine treatment length. Treatment time with Invisalign braces can be significantly reduced if you wear your aligners for 20-22 hours per day. This rate of aligner wear means that your orthodontist may ask you too change aligners once per week rather than once every two weeks, This will have a significant impact on your treatment time.  

No, it can’t. Even if you want to save money, using your old retainers increases the risk of damaging your teeth, especially if your teeth have relapsed since the last time you used the retainer. Although retainers are an after-brace solution that preserve your teeth in their position.

Normally, you should wear your retainers only at night to maintain your teeth in their straight position after braces treatment. It is the aligners you can wear 20 – 22 hours daily for the best outcome. If your teeth do not have a consistent force to shift them, they will relapse, which isn’t the aim of getting treatment.

Some at-home aligner brands allow only night treatment since the aligner wear time is only ten hours, which means treatment will take longer.

Yes, but only during the growth and development stages of childhood. The first set of adult teeth may come in crooked, but as other teeth erupt, they can straighten themselves. However, in adults, teeth do not get straighter but in fact become more crowded with age.

Jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) combined with braces can straighten the teeth. This treatment option aims to position the jaw properly to accommodate the teeth and bite. Surgery alone doesn’t straighten individual teeth.

Many people like the aesthetic appeal of straight teeth and a beautiful seven mile, but there are also health benefits of straightening the teeth. Cleaning crooked teeth isn’t easy, so proper dental care is a huge benefit of teeth straightening. It removes plaque and bacteria on the teeth that can cause decay, gum disease and other dental problems.


Spread the cost of any treatment

We are here to help you achieve the perfect – and affordable – smile so please talk to us about our popular interest-free payment plans. Spread the cost and relax – secure in the knowledge that your treatment will take place on time and on budget.