Correcting misaligned teeth isn't a one-size fits all process. Every patient and every set of teeth is different, requiring a unique approach to every orthodontic intervention. To better understand your options, it's important that you understand which type of alignment issues are best treated by different techniques. Regardless of what approach is used, it's always best to start a course of treatment earlier in life to make it easier to complete the necessary adjustments over a shorter period of time.
Minor Bite Alignment and Adjustments
Overbites, underbites and irregular spacing are all considered relatively minor adjustments, which opens up a lot of options for treatment. For those considering Invisalign and similar bite-tray orthodontia products, these issues are the best suited to this approach. More traditional braces can also be used for this purpose, but may not be worth the discomfort they cause.
Due to the small increments that the teeth must be moved, Invisalign is able to gently shift the teeth into the desired position over a period of several weeks. The exact duration of your treatment will be determined by your orthodontist, but the average is between 10 and 12 months. Of course, a very simple case might last just four to six months.
Overlapping and Crooked Teeth
Changing the relative elevation of a tooth or pivoting it in place can be far more than a simple bite-tray can handle. In these cases traditional braces are often the only recourse. However, combination treatments can be utilized which begin with a few brackets on the problem area and conclude with the use of Invisalign to complete the course of treatment.
For severe cases, traditional braces may require additional appliances, including the temporary use of headgear or retainers to help the process along. As with Invisalign products, the exact duration of treatment will be determined by your orthodontist, and can vary widely from one patient to the next. Expect a minimum of 12 months, though, and longer for cases involving extreme adjustments.
Regardless of how misaligned your teeth are, there's a good chance that there is an orthodontic treatment available to correct them. To find out just what you can expect, make an appointment with a local orthodontist and talk to them about what can be done to correct your bite and the placement of your teeth. You can also take this time to find out about financing options if available, and learn about different insurance plans they accept.