Braces are a big commitment of both time and money so you never want to undertake it lightly. If you are concerned about the look and health of your teeth, you should explore all the options for getting a straighter, more beautiful smile. While you may think you might need braces, that might not be the best solution for you. There are other ways to get a beautiful smile and straight teeth besides braces. Make sure you do your research and talk to an orthodontist before making any decisions.

Conditions correctable without braces

Certain conditions may be correctable without braces which will save you money and the embarrassment of having a metal smile for a few years. There are other options depending on your situation. Remember though that for most conditions even if you don’t get braces, you probably need some sort of orthodontic treatment. The following conditions might not require braces, but you will need some sort of orthodontic treatment:

Minor overcrowding

If only a few teeth are mildly overcrowded then a retainer might be able to correct it. Why get braces for 2 or 3 years when a simple retainer may be all you need?


Depending on how misaligned your bite is, whether an overbite or under bite, you might not need full braces.

Palate problems

Expanders might be all you need to widen your palate and this will allow your teeth to fall into their correction positions.

Of course, this isn’t something you can determine on your own. To prevent further problems from cropping up later, make sure you talk to an orthodontist who you trust to give you the most honest, accurate information possible.

So you want to avoid committing to braces. What are your other options? Other solutions for these problems include:


Retainers like braces come in different styles depending on your needs. Fixed retainers are actually attached to the inner side of your teeth with dental cement. With these, you can’t remove them on your own. Then there are removable retainers made of metal wires that are made to fit the shape of your mouth. You may need to wear top and bottom braces and depending how quickly your teeth move, you may need to wear them for a similar amount of time as you would braces.


There are also other types of appliances that orthodontists may use to correct teeth or jaw problems. Usually you will need to wear the appliance for at least a year for your teeth to gradually move into place. Talk to your orthodontist about all the possibilities.

Palatal Expanders

If you or your child’s mouth is too small for all your teeth, a palatal expander can widen the arch of your upper teeth to create space. Palatal Expanders are attached with dental cement as well.

Removable clear aligners

These aligners are not as noticeable as other aligners and appliances which means you will feel less self-conscious wearing aligners. These are best for mild problems and not more serious conditions and for teen and adults whose mouths are still not constantly changing. You might need to wear these aligners for up to 24 months depending on your personal situation. The pros of these aligners is that they can easily be taken in and out which makes it easier to keep them clean and to maintain good hygiene. Because they are not permanent, however, you need to be strict about wearing them, otherwise they will not be as effective.

If you dread any orthodontic treatment at all, don’t worry. There are certain things you can do to improve the positioning of your teeth on your own.

Don’t sleep on your stomach.

You probably don’t realize that you may be unintentionally moving your teeth with even the gentlest pressure on your teeth on a regular basis.

Don’t lean your face on your hand.

Another thing you might not realize that you are doing is leaning your face on your hand when you are tired. We all do it, but it can have negative consequences on our smile. The regular pressure on one side of your face could cause your teeth to move and become crooked. If you know this is a problem, try to be more aware of your posture when you are sitting at a desk.

Be careful how you use straws.

While using a straw can help prevent staining on your teeth, this too can add unnecessary pressure to your teeth. If you don’t want to give them up, try to make sure that the straw is aimed for the back of your mouth.

Take care of any dental issues right away.

If you have cavities or lose a tooth, make sure you have the decay removed and fill in any gaps as soon as you can. It will prevent your teeth from moving and more problems from brewing.

Have your wisdom teeth removed if your dentist recommends its.

If you have them removed before they fully abrupt, it will prevent crowded conditions in your mouth. Stop problems before they start and avoid the possibility of pain and infection.

Before you make any final decisions, make an appointment with an orthodontist to discuss the pros and cons of each option. They may even be able to offer another solution that you hadn’t thought of. No matter what you decide though, make sure you are brushing and flossing your teeth every day. Good dental hygiene is always important.

The most important thing to remember is that you should see your dentist every six months and talk to him or her about whether you should see an orthodontist. If you do see an orthodontist, and the recommendation is braces, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you are not comfortable with the diagnosis. Choose an orthodontist that you trust and who will give you all your options and all the pros and cons for each solution. You only have one set of teeth so you want to take good care of them.