One of the common questions patients ask is “how long will I be wearing braces”? It’s hard to give an exact date because every person is different. However, an orthodontist can give most patients a guide to the necessary treatment time before the braces go on.
Orthodontic Treatment Times
Treatment time can vary significantly from one patient to another. Most often the time needed is determined by the complexity of the treatment. If it’s just a few teeth that need slight straightening, then a patient might be finished within 6-12 months. A complex case with multiple issues that need attention can take two years. For the majority of cases, treatment takes around 12-18 months.
What are the Variables that Impact Treatment Time?
There are more than one or two aspects of orthodontics that impacts on the treatment times.
Type of Treatment
Orthodontic treatment over 20 years ago involved almost routine teeth extractions which increased treatment time. Today we try to avoid extracting teeth where possible.
Some patients eat the wrong foods and cause the archwire to break or a brace to come off the tooth. Hard, crusty and chewy foods are usually to blame. Once any part of the braces is damaged, they are no longer working. While you have a broken wire or loose bracket, the braces aren't doing their job, thereby increasing the time the braces need to stay on.
Type of Appliances
Some types of braces take longer to achieve results.
Traditional stainless steel and cosmetic ceramic braces, can gain results faster than lingual braces which are attached to the inside of the teeth. Lingual braces often require more adjustments and more appointments. Clear plastic aligners (Invisalign) can also take longer as the change between each fortnightly tray can only be minor. Stainless steel braces and cosmetic ceramic braces can be adjusted.
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Every Mouth is Different
Your orthodontist won’t know how your teeth will respond to braces until you have been to the first couple of appointments. Some people have teeth that move into the desired position quickly and efficiently while others don’t respond as well. Everyone is different.
Experience of the Orthodontist
The level of skill and experience of the treating orthodontist can influence treatment time. An experienced orthodontist will know the which treatment method will provide the best outcome in the least time. A dentist without the three years additional orthodontic training and lack of experience is less likely to achieve the desired result in the least time.
Try Not to Rush Your Treatment
It’s understandable that people want their orthodontic treatment finished as soon as possible. Following your orthodontist’s advice will ensure treatment time doesn’t extend unnecessarily.
However, it’s essential to keep your braces on the entire length of the treatment time. If you ask for them to come off a few months early, you risk not achieving the best result. You have many years ahead of you to enjoy your new-look teeth so try not to rush treatment time.
If you have any queries about how long you can expect orthodontic treatment to last, make an obligation free appointment with one of our highly experienced orthodontists by calling our office on (08) 9364 8020 or contact us online.