What are the options for fixing a smile?
For patients that do not want fixed appliances (brackets that are glued to the teeth), we also have removable options: Invisalign and removable spring aligners.
How Invisalign works will be addressed in the answer to another question, but the short story is that the plastic of the tray is what gives us the “handle” on the teeth and applies the pressure necessary to cause them to move where we want them to be. Spring aligners look like the traditional “old-school” acrylic and wire retainers, but can be created to accomplish small and simple tooth movements (they are best at correcting certain types of relapse).
Finally, we occasionally need to use other appliances (besides braces or Invisalign) to accomplish growth modification – forces that will change the way the face and jaws are growing, rather than just affecting the alignment of the teeth. This will also be addressed in an answer to another question.