How long will braces take?
One of the first questions patients have when first embarking on their orthodontic journey is, “How long will braces take?” It’s an important question and a loaded one as well. Here, we explore the factors that determine treatment length, attempting to address the elusive question once and for all.
The Short Answer: It Depends
While it’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, treatment time is highly variable and depends upon a variety of factors. Dentists and orthodontists are often hesitant to provide a hard and fast number of months for this reason. In general, however, you can expect orthodontic treatment to take between one and three years. This time period may be shorter or longer, depending on your individual circumstances.
The Longer Answer: Factors That Affect Braces Treatment Time
The length of your treatment will depend heavily on your current oral health situation. Some patients also require tooth extraction or other adjustments that must be made before treatment begins. Some of the factors that affect treatment time include:
- Your age: The younger the patient, the more responsive the teeth, gums, and jaw usually are to treatment. Shifts are definitely possible no matter your age; your teeth may take more time to move into the desired position.
- Your compliance: While compliance is most important if you’re wearing clear aligners, it’s also a key component of traditional braces as well. This includes maintaining proper oral hygiene and attending regular checkups with your orthodontist.
- The crookedness of your teeth: Many people undergo orthodontic treatment to correct crooked teeth. The more twisted and crowded your existing teeth are, the longer they will take to guide into position.
- The severity of your bite misalignment: If your bite doesn’t align as it should, you may be seeking treatment for an open, deep, cross or under bite. Bite issues generally take longer to treat than tooth misalignment issues, adding time to your treatment plan.
- The type of braces treatment you choose: Metal braces and clear aligners are both excellent options, depending on your lifestyle, budget and stylistic preferences. Work with your orthodontist to determine which course of treatment is best for your tooth and/or jaw misalignment.
Of course, there are always additional confounding factors thrown into the mix. It’s the job of the orthodontist to recognize and address these issues as treatment progresses. Some of these factors may be remedied through rubber bands, headgear, and other orthodontic tools.
If you’re uncertain about how long your orthodontic treatment will take, it’s a good idea to first speak with your orthodontist. Once they have a proper understanding of your case, they’ll be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of treatment duration.
Find a Skilled Orthodontist Near You
Are you still searching for a skilled, knowledgeable orthodontist you can trust? Braces are a commitment, and you want to ensure you’re getting the best treatment money can buy. At Gruelle Dempsey Orthodontics, we are proud providers of modern orthodontic care. We create beautiful smiles with our state-of-the-art modern equipment, offering individualized treatment plans and personalized results for each patient.