Adult Teeth Straightening: What are Your Options? Being embarrassed about your smile affects you every day of your life. Remembering to always pose for pictures with your mouth closed or having to hold your hand in front of your mouth when talking to someone face-to-face – constantly feeling self-conscious can become pretty exhausting. If you suffer from teeth that are crowded, crooked or have large gaps between them, you may have thought that they needed to be corrected when you were a teenager, meaning that you’ve missed the boat. The good news is that this is not the case, and there are plenty of options for restoring your smile as an adult. You don’t even need to wear the bulky, ‘train track’ type fixtures if you’d prefer something more discreet – here are the top three adult teeth-straightening options available at clinics across the UK. Six Month Smiles A whole new smile in just six months? Yes, you did read that correctly. Six Months Smiles is a form of short-term orthodontics, designed to reposition the from 6 or 8 teeth in your mouth in a short space of time. The method uses clear brackets and wires on only a few teeth, which usually need to stay in place for 6 to 8 months. Pros: Obviously, a huge benefit of this type of treatment is that it can be completed so quickly, helping you to feel comfortable with your smile in just a few weeks. The brackets and wires are tooth-coloured, which makes them less obvious than the braces you might remember from school, and the lack of metal on your back teeth may make wearing them slightly more comfortable than a full orthodontic solution. Six Month Smiles treatment costs between £1,500 to £2,500, which is typically less than the other popular options for teeth straightening. Cons: While the brackets and wires are discreet, they are still somewhat noticeable. If you don’t want friends or colleagues to see that you have a brace, Six Month Smiles may not be the most comfortable solution for you. Six Month Smiles is also focused at improving the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, not the overall position of your bite. If you are concerned about the overall alignment of your teeth then they will not be your most effective option. Clear Aligners In the quest for straighter teeth, millions of people around the world have opted for invisible aligners . You may know them by the market-leading brand, Invisalign. They work by using a series of transparent aligners that gradually move the position of your teeth over several months (think of gum shields, but very closely moulded on both sides to the shape of your teeth). Pros: The aligners are specifically made to be virtually undetectable, meaning that most people you speak to won’t even realise you are wearing them. There’s no feeling self-conscious, and most people can confidently go about their day without worrying about hiding their teeth. Compared to conventional braces with brackets and wires, aligners are much more comfortable to wear, and the fact that they need to be taken out during meals means that you can eat whatever you want without feat of it getting caught in the fittings. Plus, before you even begin treatment, your dentist will create a 3D simulation of your teeth so you can properly envision the end goal – this is a big help for those moments when you’re wondering if it’s all worth it! Cons: One drawback is that aligners have to be worn for around 22 hours a day to be effective. You also can’t have them in while you eat and will need to brush your teeth after every meal. This means that the majority of wearers have to change their eating habits slightly, sticking to three quick meal times a day – although some might see it as an opportunity to quick snacking! Treatments start at round £1,700 for minor movements over 6 months, but if more work is required to straighten your teeth then it could take 18 months and £4,500. Don’t worry – a personal treatment plan is drawn up in the initial consultation so you will know what to expect. Lingual braces There is a limit to what can be achieved by short-term orthodontics, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for traditional fixed braces. Lingual braces work in a very similar way to conventional braces but are fixed to the back of your teeth, rather than the front. Pros: Lingual braces are exceptionally discreet , offering the closest thing to an invisible brace (unless you happen to be in the unusual habit of frequently showing people behind your teeth). You don’t have to worry about lingual braces changing the shape of your mouth when it’s closed and will still be able to correct teeth with very poor alignment. Cons: Unlike an aligner, you won’t be able to remove a lingual brace throughout the course of your treatment. It can also be difficult to become accustomed to the metal around your tongue, which many people find uncomfortable initially. You can also expect lingual braces to be the most expensive option for discreet teeth-straightening, with a price somewhere in the ballpark of £3,000 to £5,000. All of these treatment options should be discussed with a reputable dentist, who will help you decide the best option for your teeth. Together, you will be able to devise a treatment and payment plan that leaves you with the dazzling smile of your dreams. About the Author: Annie Button is a Portsmouth based writer and English Literature graduate. Annie likes to share her experiences and knowledge through her blog posts and has written for various online and print publications. When she’s not writing Annie likes cooking healthy new recipes and relaxing with a good book'. Twitter: Annie Button