There are a variety of solutions for problems with teeth.
- Malocclusion (crooked teeth or a "poor bite") require the root of the tooth to be straightened with something like braces or replaced with with an implant.
- On the other hand the roots may be aligned but teeth look bad because they are misshapen, too large, rotated, chipped or discolored. In this case other techniques like bonding, grinding or crowns may be the answer.
A dentist will use x-rays or take a plaster model to determine the best solution.

Note: Malocclusion may be so bad that it affects eating or speaking, so the treatment is more than cosmetic.

Straightening There are several methods for correcting malocclusion (crooked teeth or a "poor bite")
Treatment Description Duration Cost
Metal Braces Usually made of high-grade stainless steel, metal brackets and wires are used to straighten teeth. They're also highly visible and make cleaning difficult.
Usually less expensive than Invisalign because they can be adjusted as teeth move rather than applying a new aligner each time.
18 mos - 2 yrs $4,500
Invisalign braces Uses clear plastic (polyurethane resin) that fits over the teeth and can be removed 12-15 mos $3,500-$8,000
Self-ligating braces Uses metal, ceramic or clear brackets and don't require elastic.
See Types of Braces
< 23 mos $4,500-$5000
Lingual braces A new self-ligating design that goes behind the teeth.
See Lingual Braces - New York Orthodontists
9 mos - 3 yrs $8,000
Dental implants Replaces tooth roots with a titanium screw which supports a pin for attaching a crown.
see Implants on the dental page
8 mos $3,000-$4,500
Malocclusion and Orthodontics-Topic Overview
Angie's list Monthly Magazine, June 2013

Fill gaps, minor misalignment, chips, color, ...
Treatment Description Duration Cost
Veneers Chips, gaps, stains, and even misalignment of your teeth can be significantly improved with porcelain dental veneers. Made of either porcelain or composite materials, are bonded to the front of teeth to improve appearance 2-3 appointments over 2-4 weeks $1,000-$2,500
Bonding Uses a plastic resin to repair chipped or cracked teeth, change the shape of teeth or close the gaps between them.
See Can I Have Bonding Dentist Answers, Tips |
1 appt. $750-$1,200
Grinding High tips of teeth can be ground down. 1 appt.
Crowns Teeth that are misshapen, rotated or slightly misaligned can be crowned (caped). The tooth is ground down to a little "peg". A new tooth made of Porcelain, ceramic or other material is glued over top of this peg. 3 months $800-$1,000*
The cost per tooth goes down with the number of crowns. Some people get 4 - 6 of the front teeth crowned at one time.
The dental crown procedure: What steps are involved when a crown is made for a tooth?
Whitening (Number of shades whiter)
In-Office Whitening (3-8 shades)
In-office whitening is one of the safest and quickest ways to safely whiten your teeth. During this process, we will place a protective rubber dam around your gums and apply a solution of 15 to 35 percent carbamide peroxide, a chemical found in most bleaching products, to your teeth. Depending on the whitening method, your dentist may also use a laser or special lamp to speed up the bleaching process. In-office whitening can give you dazzlingly white teeth in less than an hour.

At-Home Whitening
If you'd prefer not to avoid a dental appointment, we can create clear, customized bleaching trays for you to whiten at home. The professional-grade at-home whitening solution usually contains 10 percent carbamide peroxide. Simply pour the solution into your custom mouth trays and wear them for an hour a day. You will notice whiter teeth almost immediately, but the most dramatic results will appear after one to two weeks of daily treatments.

Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gels
Whitening gels are clear, peroxide-based gels applied with a small brush directly to the surface of your teeth. Instructions generally call for twice a day application for 14 days. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about four months.

Whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips that are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. The strips are applied twice daily for 30 minutes for 14 days. Initial results are seen in a few days and final results are sustained for about four months.

Whitening Toothpastes (3-8 shades)
If your teeth are sensitive to bleaching, your dentists may recommend a dentifrice (whitening toothpaste). These contain chemical or polishing agents to gently remove stains from the surface of your teeth. While your teeth won't be as white as if you used a bleaching system, whitening toothpaste is safe, easy to use, and can be purchased over the counter.

After Whitening
With all whitening systems, we advise patients not to eat or drink foods that stain, or to smoke, since recently-whitened teeth absorb stains. Whitening systems can also cause increased sensitivity in your teeth and gums. These side effects pass with time, but if they persist or other problems arise, you should contact your dentist immediately.

Whitening Alternatives If bleaching and whitening can't get your teeth as white as you'd like, veneers or bonding (see above) may be a good solution. These cosmetic procedures are long lasting and do not discolor or stain. In addition to whitening your smile, veneers and bonding can cover cracks, chips, and slight misalignments.

Teeth Whitening Strips, Gels, Toothpaste, Bleaching, and More |
Cosmetic Dentistry | VB Cosmetic dentist
The dental crown procedure: What steps are involved when a crown is made for a tooth?

Dentist Answers at
Rotate Canines & Fix Malocclusion: Invisalign or Braces? Dentist Answers, Tips
Malocclusion and Orthodontics-Topic Overview
Malocclusion and Orthodontics | Cigna
Braces 101 > Braces Diagram - - Orthodontist Thomas Iverson
For Our Patients - diagram | Bloom and Reddy Orthodontics

last updated 5 Jun 2013