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Teeth Straightening

Malocclusion, also known as misaligned teeth, is quite common. In fact, most people have at least a Class I malocclusion. This can have a significant impact on your oral health as well as your self-confidence, which is why most people turn to orthodontic treatment to restore their confident smiles.

Arlington Dental Excellence can treat all classes of malocclusion with a variety of treatment options. Schedule your free consultation today to find out how we can help you with your malocclusion.

Classes & Types of Malocclusion

According to the American Dental Association, there are three classes of malocclusion:

Class I: molars align, but front teeth slightly crowded (this is the most common class of malocclusion)
Class II: upper teeth/jaw overlap lower teeth/jaw
Class III: lower jaw pushed forward in front of upper jaw.

There are seven different types of malocclusion that fall within these three classes.

Overbite (Class II) upper teeth/jaw substantially protrude over lower teeth/jaw
Underbite (Class III) lower jaw protrudes forward
Crossbite (Class II) some bottom teeth outside of upper teeth
Open Bite (Class I, II, or III) upper and lower front teeth don't touch when the mouth is closed
Overjet (Class II) when upper front teeth are ahead of lower front teeth
Crowded Teeth (Class I) not enough space in the jaw for the teeth to properly align
Diastema (Class I) small gaps between teeth

Malocclusion Causes

Misaligned teeth can be minor or can be very severe. Most often, teeth misalignment is due to genetics. Most people are not born with a perfect bite. They have some level of malocclusion and turn to dental or orthodontic help to solve their alignment problems.

All forms of teeth misalignment are due to differences in the sizes of the teeth and jaw. Most people don't have enough room for their permanent teeth to grow in properly.

Some of the other common causes of malocclusion include:

  • Birth defects (cleft lip/palate) 
  • Childhood habits (prolonged pacifier and bottle use, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting 
  • Teeth abnormalities (impacted, extra, and missing teeth) 
  • Failed procedures (braces, retainers, improper placement of crowns, and filings) 
  • Jaw injuries/problems (dislocations, jaw fracture, tumors, cancers, TMJ, osteonecrosis)

Symptoms of Malocclusion

The symptoms of malocclusion include the following. Keep in mind that most of the symptoms are obvious, but there are a few that are subtle.

  • Mouth breathing
  • Crooked/crowded/irregularly aligned teeth
  • Biting cheeks, lips, and tongue often
  • Jaw/teeth discomfort when biting/chewing
  • Change in facial appearance/profile
  • Speech problems, such as a lisp

Effective Teeth Straightening Options

At Arlington Dental Excellence, we offer a variety of teeth straightening options.

Metal Braces

For many years, traditional metal braces were the most common method for teeth straightening. This option is made of metal brackets attached to each tooth, with an archwire running between. They are held together by rubber bands. The archwire puts pressure on your crooked teeth, gradually shifting them into place.  Traditional metal braces are effective and reliable for straightening teeth. Treatment time varies based on your condition, but typically is somewhere between 18 and 36 months. Metal braces cost between $2,000 to $6,000.


Invisalign clear aligners came onto the scene in the late 1990s as an alternative to traditional metal braces. This is a system of plastic trays that are changed out approximately every 2 weeks (based on your progress), that gradually shift your teeth into their appropriate position. They are custom-fitted based on the expected progress of your treatment and since they're clear, they're almost invisible.

Invisalign treats most cases of malocclusion, including gap teeth, open bites, crowded teeth, underbites, crossbites, and overbites. If you have a more severe case of malocclusion, braces (traditional metal or lingual) may be your best option.

Treatment time varies but typically falls somewhere between 6 to 12 months, with some of the more severe cases taking more than that. Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $5,000, which is comparable to metal braces.  

Most patients, especially professionals, prefer the invisible look and the convenience associated with clear aligners. Dr. Layth Ghanim is our Invisalign expert. He handles all of our Invisalign cases.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are basically the same as traditional metal braces. The difference is that ceramic braces use clear brackets instead of metal, which makes them less obvious (though they can still be seen). They use clear/white rubber bands to minimize their appearance. Treatment time is about the same as metal braces, about 18 to 36 months. They usually cost a bit more, between $4,000 and $8,000.

Lingual Braces

Another alternative, though less common, is lingual braces. This method of treatment does still use metal brackets and archwire - but they are attached to the back of your teeth.

This is a discrete form of orthodontic treatment- however, it is typically more uncomfortable than clear aligners or traditional metal braces.

Treatment time is similar to traditional metal braces, 6 months to 36 months. Due to the intricacy of treatment, they range in price from $5,000 to $13,000.


Once you have achieved desired results, you'll need to wear a retainer for at least 6 months. This will preserve your new smile and keep your teeth from shifting back into their original position. A retainer can be removable or permanent.

Benefits of Straightening Your Teeth

Crooked, misaligned teeth can have a negative impact on your confidence. You don't want to smile because you're concerned with what people might think. However, as you can see, there are several treatment options (this is not a full list) to straighten your teeth and by straightening your teeth, you improve your smile, giving your confidence a boost.

Not only that, straightening your teeth also offers a variety of oral health benefits, including:

  • Easier to brush/floss between, which decreases the risk of cavities and serious conditions like gum disease 
  • Less wear/tear on teeth 
  • Better speaking abilities 
  • Better eating/chewing abilities 
  • Better digestion because you can chew properly 
  • Less head/neck pain 
  • Reduces risk of developing TMJ or other jaw issues  

Schedule Your Consultation With Arlington Dental Excellence

If you are in Arlington, Virginia and need dental care, look no further than Arlington Dental Excellence. We offer a variety of options to meet all of your dental needs, including tooth restoration treatments, such as snap-on dentures and more. Schedule your consultation today to find out what we can do to give you back your confident smile.

FAQs about Teeth Straightening

When you come in for your consultation, we encourage you to ask as many questions as you like because we want you to feel good about your treatment. In the meantime, here are some of the most common questions we hear.

A: For most patients, Invisalign or traditional braces are the most common treatments, depending on the severity of your condition. No matter what, you should never try to straighten your teeth on your own- leave it to our professionals.

A: The answer to this is a little complicated. While there's nothing "wrong" aesthetically with crooked teeth, they are harder to clean. This could ultimately lead to poor oral hygiene, which could lead to decay, tooth loss, periodontal disease, and more.

A: According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the density of the jawbone reduces with age. This causes inconsistency with the size of the jawbone and the teeth, which may cause overcrowding or overlapping of your teeth.

A: The Consumer Guide for Dentistry states that the national average for Invisalign is $3,000 to $5,000, depending on the severity of your case, as well as a few other factors. On the other hand, traditional metal braces cost $2,000 to $6,000. Once again, the final cost depends on several factors.

A: Results are comparable with both treatment options. Both align teeth and close gaps- though Invisalign can only close small gaps, larger gaps must be treated with traditional metal braces. Typically, Invisalign can straighten teeth within 6 months to 1 year. In some cases, you may need to wear them longer. Traditional metal braces usually take 12 to 36 months.

A: There really is no age limit for getting braces. In fact, there are many adults over the age of 18 who get braces. The only requirement is that you have all of your permanent teeth and a healthy jawbone.

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