Straighten Your Teeth Without Braces

If you missed the boat as a kid, or you've just decided to fix those crooked teeth, there's still time.

As an adult, you've probably thought it's too late to do anything about that smile, and that it would be just too embarrassing to wear braces, or even that you couldn't.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Adults can wear braces, and there is an alternative.

Invisalign

There's a new kid on the block when it comes to braces.

Worn as a tray inside the mouth, Invisalign is an invisible alternative to tradition metal braces. Its clear plastic dividers straighten teeth without the embarrassment normally associated with orthodontics.

To get on board, your orthodontist will need to make impressions of your teeth and map out the movements your teeth will need to make.

From there, the manufacturer builds a series of custom inserts from computer-generated models.

Each insert is then worn about two weeks before graduating to the next in the series.

The inserts are removable for eating, brushing and flossing, so you can still eat foods like steak and corn on the cob. You can even chew gum, which you definitely can't do with fixed braces.

If you're interested in the fastest solution though, Invisalign can be combined with braces. And you'll save money because you'll need fewer inserts.

Either way, make sure your orthodontist has experience treating adults. It's still not uncommon to find those that don't.

Set up consultations with several and make sure they have experience with Invisalign. Don't be afraid to ask for references, referals, and photos either.

Above all, find someone you're comfortable with. You'll be seeing this person a lot in the next 9 to 30 months.

What About the Cost?

Invisalign is generally the most expensive option, owing to the many inserts. And since many insurance companies don't cover orthodontics, cost can be a consideration.

Check with your insurance company. Make sure their dental plan covers orthodontics, and in particular Invisalign. Some will, but at a reduced rate. Others may deem the cost an extravagance and not cover it unless needed for health reasons.

Also, check with your orthodontist. Find out what coverage he accepts and recommends. If your current plan isn't on his list, you may have to shop elsewhere for either coverage or orthodontics.

There are also supplemental plans available, either through your current provider or stand-alone, which may help out. Find out the details of their coverage though. Some are really just discount providers, while others may only cover 20%.

In the end you'll have many payment options, including your doctor's own payment plan, if he has one. You'll have to weigh each to find the best one for your situation.

So don't let the thought of metal-mouth stop you. You don't have that excuse any more. Fix those teeth and smile with confidence.