Q:

How do you straighten your teeth?

A:

Quick Answer

Teeth may be straightened with traditional braces, retainers, mouth guards or clear aligners, such as Invisalign, states HowStuffWorks. People with minor misalignment may also consider porcelain veneers or contouring, which entails shaving thin layers of enamel to make teeth appear straighter.

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Full Answer

Traditional braces apply pressure to teeth through use of brackets, wires, springs and rubber bands, states HowStuffWorks. Over time, teeth move into the appropriate position, and the braces are removed. Traditional braces pose some disadvantages, including discomfort and difficulty eating and cleaning teeth. Many people also dislike the appearance of braces on their teeth.

Clear aligners called Invisalign are worn during the day and at night, except when eating or performing oral hygiene, according to Women's Health. Retainers or mouth guards are ideal to prevent teeth from shifting and can sometimes reposition teeth, notes HowStuffWorks. Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that permanently adhere to the teeth, giving them a straight appearance.

All teeth have the potential to shift and become misaligned over time. Even after straightening, teeth try to move back to their original positions due to memory in their fibers, states Women's Health. In addition, everyday activities, such as chewing or clenching, cause wear and tear on the teeth, causing them to decrease in size and create gaps. To fill in these gaps, teeth move or sometimes overlap.

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