If your orthodontist thinks that you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, he or she will develop a unique plan for you. Everyone is different, so your dental history and the severity of your misalignment will determine the type of orthodontic appliances that you may need.
Here are a few common treatment options:
Aligners are made of clear plastic or acrylic trays and are custom formed to your teeth. Each tray is worn for a few weeks before it is replaced with another. Slowly, teeth will move to their desired positions. Because these devices are removable, patients will need to take special care to follow their orthodontist's instructions about wear.
You may be most familiar with traditional metal braces, as many children have them. Adults who are interested in less-visible options don't have to shy away from braces. Today, brackets can be made of tooth-colored ceramic. Although most people have braces applied to the front of their teeth, brackets and wires can be on the back as well. These "invisible braces" are popular among working professionals.
Retainers are usually given to patients after the treatment process has ended. These devices can control and limit how much your teeth move. They can be removable or permanent. For the first few months after braces are removed, retainers may need to be worn at all times except during meals and when you are brushing your teeth. Your orthodontist may recommend wearing a retainer less as the time passes.