Understanding Today's Alternatives to Metal Dental Braces

Metal or wire dental braces can be needed if a person's teeth are all severely misaligned, and an orthodontist needs to restructure the bone of the jaw while moving the teeth into proper position. However, many people don't need this much extensive work done to the mouth and jaw when their teeth are crooked, and may want their teeth to be realigned for the sake of appearance alone. If so, there are many alternatives to standard metal braces that you might want to consider, as these can give you a great smile in less time and for less cost than a full set of traditional metal or wire braces.

Veneers and cosmetic procedures

If your teeth are out of alignment because they're undersized, veneers and other cosmetic procedures can create the look of aligned teeth. Veneers or bonding agents are put over the front of teeth, and these can make them look straight. Teeth that jut out from the jaw line or the rest of the teeth can also be drilled down, and a crooked tooth can also be drilled down so that the area of the tooth that is misaligned can then be covered with a veneer. This gives you the illusion of straight teeth, without the teeth actually being forced into alignment.


When teeth are very misaligned, veneers may not be an option, so a cosmetic dentist may offer caps. These are slid over the top of the tooth and glued into place. The caps can be shaped and formed so that they fit the teeth precisely, and so that the front of the caps are all aligned. As with veneers, you then have the look of straight teeth without the teeth actually being realigned.

Custom braces

If you have only a few teeth that are crooked, custom braces can work to align those teeth alone. Custom braces usually involve taking pictures of your teeth with the aid of a special computer program, so that individual braces are fitted just over those particular teeth. These braces can even be placed in the back of the teeth, so they're not noticeable. This can allow an orthodontist to just move certain teeth into position without having to realign all your teeth or your entire jaw. Custom braces can even work if you just have one particular tooth that juts out or sits back from the other teeth, so that all your teeth are then aligned properly without having to endure a full set of metal braces.