Here at Orthodontic Specialists, we hear one question more than any other: when will I get my braces off? From the day you begin treatment, the countdown is on to the big reveal of your beautiful new smile! But the truth is, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to this particular question. Your smile is as unique as you are, and there’s a lot that goes into determining the total treatment time for any case.
While we may not be able to definitively answer how long you’ll need to be in braces or Invisalign aligners, we can take a look at average treatment times to give you a better idea of what to expect from your orthodontic journey. Keep reading to learn more about some of the factors that can affect treatment times.
What you’re being treated for
As a general rule, the more comprehensive your treatment is, the longer the treatment time will be. You may have a relatively short treatment time if you have a reasonably healthy bite with only mild crowding or spacing issues. But more serious problems, such as severely displaced teeth or a significant bite discrepancy, will often require more time to correct.
How well your body responds to treatment
No two patients will have an identical response, even if they have similar cases and similar treatment plans. This is one reason our orthodontists provide personalized plans for every patient built around their specific needs, lifestyle, and goals!
You can’t compare your treatment to others because your mouth is completely different. Bone density, gum tissue thickness, and chewing patterns vary from person to person. Oral habits like clenching and grinding the teeth can also affect how treatment progresses.
How compliant you are
As the patient, you have an important role in how successful your treatment is! Although our doctors do the work of putting your braces on or prescribing the tooth movement associated with Invisalign aligners, your willingness to comply is a key factor in their ability to complete treatment within the estimated time frame.
Following the guidelines you’re given will help us achieve the best results in the shortest amount of time possible! This means maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine, wearing your elastics as directed, and keeping all your scheduled appointments. Failure to care for your teeth and gums can also slow treatment down. In some cases, it may even need to be paused while dental work is completed.
On the other hand, being vigilant about your oral health while in braces or aligners can sometimes decrease the total treatment time. The same goes for keeping up with your regularly scheduled checkups! These visits are an essential part of the treatment plan. They allow our doctors to assess the movements your teeth are making and ensure everything is progressing as it should be. We understand that life happens, and you may sometimes need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, but you should stick to the schedule as closely as possible for the best results.
Breaking your orthodontic appliance can push back your treatment schedule as well. It’s important that you treat your braces or aligners with care! You can do your part in preventing breakage by avoiding any crunchy or sticky foods while you’re in braces, as these can weaken the bond strength of your brackets. It’s not considered an emergency if a bracket is broken or comes loose, but we will want to rebond it as soon as possible. When a bracket isn’t properly bonded to your teeth, no active tooth movement is occurring. This can add time to the treatment process.
How old you are
As weird as it may sound, your age can play a part in how long treatment takes! While we can successfully move teeth at almost any age, younger patients have more pliable bones that are still growing and not fully developed. This can often make treatment faster, easier, and more effective. It also allows our doctors more control over bite correction. In our late teens or early twenties, the jawbone stops growing, and successfully treating orthodontic issues after that point may require more time and effort.
Remember: you won’t be in braces forever!
Patience is key during orthodontic treatment. So is perspective! You won’t be in braces forever, and all your hard work will be worth it the moment we reveal your beautiful new smile. There’s more good news—orthodontic treatment options have advanced so much in recent years that they work faster than ever before!
Our practice offers a variety of treatment options to move your teeth comfortably, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. While you won’t have an exact date for treatment to be completed going into your orthodontic journey, the average time in braces tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months. Treatment with a clear aligner system like Invisalign can take slightly less time.
Depending on several factors, including those listed above, your treatment may last slightly longer or shorter than our estimate. One thing is certain, though—by working together with our expert team, you’ll be seeing your brand-new smile in the mirror before you know it!
Your best smile is waiting for you at Orthodontic Specialists
Good things come to those who wait. Would you like to learn more about how orthodontics can transform your smile? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation. Give us a call at 513-772-6500 for more information.