When one of our patients learn they’ll benefit from braces, “How long will I have to wear them?” is often one of the first questions we hear. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer!
Because each patient is treated according to their own unique orthodontic issues, there are a number of factors we have to take into consideration when looking at an estimated orthodontic treatment time. These factors can range from the age of patient to the severity of their case. Patient response time to treatment is also something we can’t predict, as it will vary from person to person.
Although we can’t give patients a concrete answer to this particular question, we can take a look at some of the average estimated treatment times for braces.
Typical treatment times and factors
The single biggest factor in determining the length of time braces will need to be worn by a patient is the severity of their specific case. We will also look at things like the amount of room available, the distance the teeth must travel to meet our goal, the health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone, and how closely the patient follows our instructions.
Because we recommend seeing an orthodontist around the age of 7, many potential problems can be caught early, and research has shown that the earlier someone gets braces, the faster their treatment usually is. It’s generally agreed that the optimum time for getting braces is 11-14 years old, pending normal dental development, and barring any serious issues, treatment time can often be fairly quick at this age.
We know, we know, cut to the chase already! Taking all of the above into consideration, braces tend to be worn for anywhere from roughly one to three years on average, for comprehensive treatment.
Do keep in mind, though, that there will always be some cases where braces will need to stay on longer, as well as cases where patients will only need them for a short time. Retainers and some other forms of follow-up treatment might also be necessary after the initial treatment has concluded.
Additional factors to consider
Good dental hygiene plays a valuable role in orthodontics. Patients who are careful to strictly follow their orthodontist’s instructions about caring for their teeth can sometimes even cut time off how long they’ll need to wear braces.
Another factor to take into consideration is the type of braces a patient is wearing. For example, metal braces are constructed of stainless steel and can often have colors added. Ceramic braces are not as durable as metal and patients often use clear ties. Invisalign and lingual braces can also sometimes take longer to reposition teeth, and Invisalign has to be worn 22 hours every day at least to be effective.
Because there are so many different components to orthodontics, estimated treatment times can change at any point in the process. If braces somehow become damaged, they may have to be worn a bit longer as repairs are made. And if the teeth are not cooperating with the process for any reason, then the orthodontist may have to make some adjustments and come up with a new estimate for when the braces are likely to come off.
On the plus side, there may be times when teeth move faster than anticipated, and the braces can come off sooner than expected!
CHT Orthodontics makes time fly
Whether you’re looking at a brief treatment time, or a few years with braces, CHT Orthodontics makes all the difference. From your first appointment, your care will be in the hands of a highly trained orthodontist who is supported by experienced staff members. We believe patients should understand all aspects of their treatment, which is why we like to keep you informed every step of the way!