Here at Kaplan Orthodontics, the question we hear most often from our patients about to get braces is, “But how long will I have to wear them?” If you’ve recently been told you could benefit from braces, it’s likely a question you’re asking, too.
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that! Each patient we see has unique needs and goals in mind when beginning orthodontic treatment. There are several determining factors to consider, such as the age of the patient and the severity of their dental issues, as well as the fact that patient response to treatment will differ from case to case.
Even though we can’t offer you a concrete answer to this question, we can take a look at some of the average estimated treatment times for braces in order to give you a better idea of what’s in store!
TYPICAL BRACES TREATMENT TIMES
We’ve already mentioned that the length of time any patient will need to wear braces will vary widely, based on their particular circumstances. This will include things like the severity of their case, the amount of room available in their mouth, the distance their teeth will need to travel, their overall oral health, and how closely they follow their orthodontist’s instructions, to name a few.
It’s also important to remember that there will be some cases where braces will need to stay on longer, and cases where patients will only need to wear braces for a short period of time. Additionally, headgear, retainers, or some other forms of wire are often necessary after the initial period of braces treatment is over.
On average, however, braces tend to be worn for anywhere from one to three years.
Age is another factor to take into consideration when discussing treatment times. Research has shown that the earlier someone gets braces, the faster their treatment will usually be. This is one reason why Kaplan Orthodontics, along with the American Association of Orthodontics, recommend children have an orthodontic evaluation by around the age of 7, when any potential problems can be caught early.
The most optimal time for getting braces is between 12-14 years old, and depending on factors like the ones we’ve outlined above, treatment time can be fairly quick at this age.
Proper dental hygiene also plays a very valuable role in orthodontics. It’s important for patients to follow their orthodontist’s instructions exactly regarding oral hygiene. We recommend brushing and flossing thoroughly twice a day, every day, throughout the course of your treatment. Being strict about caring for your teeth could even cut some time off how long you’ll need to be in braces!
Interestingly, the type of braces a patient wears can affect the amount of time they’ll need to wear them. Traditional metal braces that are made of stainless steel are very strong, and generally able to move teeth in the quickest manner compared to other alternatives. Clear or tooth-colored ceramic braces will often require a longer treatment time because the ceramic isn’t as durable as metal. Invisible options such as Invisalign and lingual braces can also sometimes take longer to reposition teeth.
(It’s worth noting that Invisalign must be worn 20-22 hours each day to be effective. Not complying with this will lengthen your treatment time.)
RETAINER REMINDER: AVOIDING BRACES AGAIN
Our teeth are naturally moveable, which is what makes orthodontic treatment possible in the first place. Because of this, once they’ve been straightened, teeth often have a tendency to try and shift back to their old positions. This is often referred to as a “relapse,” and can occur if your teeth aren’t held in place with an appliance such as a retainer for a significant amount of time after your initial treatment is completed.
Not only do you want your teeth to stay in their new positions, but the gums and bones in the mouth will need to align to these new positions as well. The soft and hard tissues surrounding the teeth can sometimes take longer to align to a different, better position. Because of this, it’s critical to wear some form of retainer regularly after treatment if you want to avoid wearing all those brackets and wires again!
KAPLAN ORTHODONTICS: DAMON BRACES PROVIDERS FOR DUNWOODY
We’re proud to be providers of the innovative Damon Braces System in Dunwoody and the surrounding areas. If you’re looking for braces that offer shorter treatment times, fewer appointments, and a beautiful straight smile, all on a timeline that works in today’s busy world, we’ve got you covered. Get in touch with us today to find out how this revolutionary approach to orthodontic treatment can work for you and your smile!